By Russ Ramsey
Section 1: The Light of the World
Early in Abram’s story, God used the light of the stars to make a glorious promise about how this world would be rescued from all that was broken about it. Abram believed this promise from God, and though it meant a profound separation from everything he had ever known, he followed God in faith.
Sometimes Abram’s faith wavered. He thought about God’s promise that he would become a great nation. But this was impossible, because he was without sons. How could this be? One night in particular as Abram sat with the weight of the world on his shoulders, the Lord came to him in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” (Genesis 15:1 ESV). Abram answered, “Lord GOD, what can you give me, since I am childless…?” (vv.2–3). The closest thing Abram had to an heir was his servant, Eliezer of Damascus. Maybe Eliezer would have to suffice. Maybe the Lord would settle for servants instead of sons. Maybe that was all God ever wanted anyway.
But no. In that moment the Lord God took this struggling man out beneath the desert sky at night, pulled back the blanket of self-doubt Abram had been smothered under, and pointed to a canopy of glimmering stars too vast to count. God answered Abram’s inner fears with this spectacle of glory, telling him to look at them and to number the stars of heaven if he could. Under that midnight sky, the Lord assured Abram that his descendants would outnumber and outshine these stars above him.
Could Abram keep trusting in what he hadn’t yet experienced, or for that matter in something he could never do himself? If Abram was to trust at all, it would have to be a living, daring confidence that God would do what He said He would do.
Well, Abram believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:3). He understood that the Lord had not come to him merely to make him a wealthy land-owner with many sons. This was not why God called him. From Abram, this descendant of Shem, the son of Noah, the descendant of Seth, the son of Adam and Eve, all the nations of the earth would be blessed. God wasn’t calling Abram’s future descendants to land or power. He was calling them to Himself. And from them, as a gift from God, the Savior of the world would be born.