“Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” (Genesis 15:5, NKJV)
Have you ever tried counting the stars? If you live in a city or suburban area, you can hardly see any stars at all due to the bright night lights that light up the sky, which prevent the heavenly lights from shining through to your eyes. You must get out into the country, away from the glow of mankind’s rays, to see the ultimate canopy of the Lord God, Creator of the universe. Then you will experience His awesomeness.
In the summer of 1973, fresh out of the Catholic high school in Waterloo, Iowa, (Columbus High, home of the Sailors!) I went on a mission trip to the hill country of northern Georgia. Blairsville, Georgia to be exact. Northeast of Atlanta, somewhat near the North Carolina state line. A group of older teenagers went on the six-week adventure to lead a summer Bible youth camp for underprovided kids, sponsored by a Catholic mission.
Being 18, I loved it! Quite the adventure driving my two-door, metallic blue 1963 Mercury Cougar all the way from Iowa, through Cincinnati, OH. It was a great time, forever stored in my memory banks. (Read the full story in my book, The Promise – One Man’s Journey to See God Revealed).
One thing I very much remember to this day were the nights, both black and white. At those late times of the finishing day (or the beginning of the new day, as with the Jews, as written in the Torah when God created each day), if the clouds covered all above you, you could raise your hand in front of your face and not even see it. It was that so utterly dark. Midnight blackness!
But if it was a clear night, looking up from these northeastern mountains in Georgia, the Lord God Almighty revealed Himself in glory, for the stars were fantastically brilliant. The heavens were filled with His creation in one of His very vast realms. Because of the sheer numbers, you could not count the stars. Wow!
Imagine the promise the Lord had given Abraham, beginning in Genesis 12, of the immense number of descendants that was coming forth of his lineage, if he obeyed. Once he had heard the Lord’s word to “leave your country and go to the place I will show you”, the promise for Abram (later changed to Abraham) was beginning to unfold. His reward would be great.
“Now Adonai said to Avram, “Get yourself out of your country, away from your kinsmen and away from your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, I will bless you, and I will make your name great; and you are to be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, but I will curse anyone who curses you; and by you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
So Avram (Abram) went, as Adonai (the Lord) had said to him, and Lot went with him. Avram was 75 years old when he left Haran. Avram took his wife Sarai, his brother’s son Lot, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, as well as the people they had acquired in Haran; then they set out for the land of Kena‘an (Canaan) and entered the land of Kena‘an.” (Genesis 12:1-5, Complete Jewish Bible)
Obedience to the word of the Lord, written in His Word the Torah, the Prophets and the Psalms (and all of the Bible), will always bring a reward. Abraham believed, and it was rewarded to him. And not only to him but “…all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)
“By trusting, Avraham obeyed, after being called to go out to a place which God would give him as a possession; indeed, he went out without knowing where he was going. By trusting, he lived as a temporary resident in the Land of the promise, as if it were not his, staying in tents with Yitz’chak (Isaac) and Ya‘akov (Jacob), who were to receive what was promised along with him. For he was looking forward to the city with permanent foundations, of which the architect and builder is God.
By trusting, he received potency to father a child, even when he was past the age for it, as was Sarah herself; because he regarded the One who had made the promise as trustworthy. Therefore this one man, who was virtually dead, fathered descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky, and as countless as the grains of the sand on the seashore.” (Hebrews 11:8-12, Complete Jewish Bible)
In Genesis 215:1, the Lord even says to him that it would be an “exceedingly great reward.”
When we hear and obey the Lord, He honors our faith we have thus demonstrated. He will then allow His favor to come upon us, and He will provide covering and protection for not only us, but also for those whom He has given under our care and watch – our families, our churches, our cities, our nation.
Next time there is a clear night, drive out from the city lights, and look up. Try counting the multitude of stars if you can. When Abraham saw those very same heavenly creations centuries ago, he believed that the Creator would keep His promise. And He certainly did. Not even the hatred and anti-Semitism of all these past centuries could keep the Lord from fulfilling His promise to the chosen people the Jews, and all believers who call upon His name and were martyred for their faith.
Just look at the state of Israel today, and you know that the Living God, the Lord God of Israel, has indeed kept His promises. As Luke wrote in Acts 3:21, it is now the “times of restoration of everything which God spoke through the mouths of His holy prophets from eternity.”
Have you ever received a word from the Lord? You most certainly have! The Bible itself is His guaranteed Word to you. Believe it! Walk in His promises! See Him move in your life, your family, and even in this nation, the very one you live in.
Go out and try counting the stars some night. Sense the ever-living Holy Spirit’s presence lift your spirit to the eternal heavens. Have even more faith and believe our God the Father for even more of Himself!
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