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Old Testament Reading: Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18

1After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3And Abram said, “You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.” 4But the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.” 5He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” 6And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.   7Then he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess.” 8But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” 9He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10He brought him all these and cut them in two, laying each half over against the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. 11And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.   12As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and a deep and terrifying darkness descended upon him.   17When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. 18On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates.”

In the beginning, God…

The first eleven chapters of Genesis tell of God’s activity in the beginning.

In chapter 12 the focus turns to Abraham (he will get that name later in Genesis – right now he is just Abram). God chose Abraham to be the one through whom God’s promises would be given.

God said to Abraham, “Get up, leave your land, your family and go. Leave what you know and all that you have and trust me. I will make of you a great nation. I will bless you.”

Notice that God calls Abraham to begin with a clean slate. Leave everything. Take nothing. Trust completely.

Abraham trusted God.

These promises God makes to Abraham first in Genesis 12, and now in more detail in Genesis 15, did not come quickly. We shared the story of Abraham and Sarah getting news that Sarah would finally have a son at the young age of 90 years old, which brought her to laughter!

Abraham trusted God.

That doesn’t mean he didn’t question God along the way, several times!

In these days we find ourselves, we have been asked to give up many things. Some of those things we do willingly, and others are not our choice.

We are without.

We know that God is with us, and God will never abandon us, and that hope does not disappoint us. But we may question God along the way. And that’s okay.

As we have spent the last two years dealing with a pandemic, I wonder what we have learned about our faith journey. I asked the question back when we were just a couple months into it (May, 2020) on my Facebook page> I asked this:

These days have been filled with a LOT of changes. Two questions -

1. What have you lost? 2. What have you found?

I ask you to consider these two questions.

The things we have lost may seem to greatly outweigh that which we have found. I imagine for Abraham it felt that way quite often.

Amid these trying days, may we trust God.

God is faithful.

Remember God’s promises to YOU. You belong to God. God will never abandon you. You are loved.

May we see God’s hand in that which we find.

Trust God.

Let us pray:

Almighty God, we give thanks for the faithful witness of Abraham, your chosen. May we hold tight to your promises in the times of doubt. We pray this in the name of the Good Shepherd Jesus Christ, our Risen Savior. Amen.

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