When did you last look at the stars? We have the great joy of living in a village, which means less light pollution, which in turn means more stars. More vivid stars. I go through phases of standing in our driveway looking at the stars.
And then last week I was reminded of some of the story of Abram.
God took Abram outside and said, ‘Look up at the sky and count the stars – if indeed you can count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.
Can you imagine it? I mean, light pollution hadn’t been invented yet, so can you imagine the vision that Abram beheld? ‘…if indeed you can count them’, God says to him. Star after star after star. Every one a promise. Every one a pledge of a descendant. Now, Abram was 75 years old back in chapter 12, and here in chapter 15 he’s not getting any younger. What a promise. What an absolutely mind-blowing promise. And in many ways, it’s incredible. Incredible in the proper sense of the word – absolutely out-of-the-question unbelievable. And what does Abram do?
He believes God.
Those stars? He sees those stars and knows that God can and will be true to His word. He sees those stars and sees a family, a people, promised and created by God. Clear night after clear night, Abram sees those same stars and is reminded of God’s promise. But perhaps no night will match that first take-your-breath-away realisation, that moment of belief that God will provide. God has promised and He will act.
Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Of course, the clouds will come, and the stars will not always be visible. But they are still there. And Abram has more mistakes to make before God provides a son for Sarai and Abram. But throughout Abram’s mistakes, and throughout his forgetfulness, God’s promise stands.
And what of us?
God’s promise of salvation is even more incredible. Though it can become routine – as routine as a glance at the night-sky. Perhaps we need to recapture some of the breathtaking wonder of that promise God makes to His people. God promises Abram many sons. God promises him a family. God’s promise to us is even greater – He tells us that we can be His children, part of His family.
What a promise.