Doubting God Can Be Tough on Your Psyche
1 After these things Yahweh’s word came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Don’t be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
2 Abram said, “Lord* Yahweh, what will you give me, since I go childless, and he who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 Abram said, “Behold, to me you have given no children†: and, behold, one born in my house is my heir.”
4 Behold, Yahweh’s word came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir, but he who will come out of your own body will be your heir.” 5 Yahweh brought him outside, and said, “Look now toward the sky, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” He said to Abram, “So will your offspring‡ be.” 6 He believed in Yahweh, who credited it to him for righteousness. 7 He said to Abram, “I am Yahweh who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give you this land to inherit it.”
8 He said, “Lord Yahweh, how will I know that I will inherit it?”
9 He 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.” 10 He brought him all these, and divided them in the middle, and laid each half opposite the other; but he didn’t divide the birds. 11 The birds of prey came down on the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.
12 When the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. Now terror and great darkness fell on him. 13 He said to Abram, “Know for sure that your offspring§ will live as foreigners in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them. They will afflict them four hundred years. 14 I will also judge that nation, whom they will serve. Afterward they will come out with great wealth, 15 but you will go to your fathers in peace. You will be buried at a good old age. 16 In the fourth generation they will come here again, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet full.” 17 It came to pass that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold, a smoking furnace, and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. 18 In that day Yahweh made a covenant with Abram, saying, “I have given this land to your offspring,** from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates: 19 the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”
Thoughts for the day
If when it becomes impossible, can it still be of God? Doubting God Can Be Tough on Your Psyche!
God meets up with Abram, and tells him again that his offspring will number like the stars. The Abram in verse 8, essentially says, how can I trust you to keep your word. On the surface, you would think Abram’s an idiot to question God like this, especially after what God did for him in the recovery of Sodom and Gomorrah. Before making such assumptions about Abram’s intelligence, dig just a bit deeper. Abram had heard this promise years before, and he is getting up there in years and has had no children. Without children he cannot have a true heir. The science of Abram’s day was already starting to work against him. Statistically he had little chance of having a child as he has been married many years, and was most certainly not using birth control. Having a natural heir was looking a bit problematic in Abram’s eyes.
God is not appreciative of Abram doubting his word, but humors him while teaching him a lesson in patience at the same time. In Verse 9, God commands Abram to make a sacrificial covenant with God in this matter. It is my belief that God would have preferred not to go through this exercise, and that Abram would have taken him at his word, but Abram needed a signed and sealed contract with God. So the sacrifice was set up, but God did not consume it right away, which is not typical of the way God and Abram do business. I think God is making Abram sweat for needing a signed contract.
Verse 11, we find the sacrifice just sat, and Abram was fighting the scavengers off until he finally falls asleep. Abram went into what most of would call a dream state or vision where he had terrifying communion with God. God showed him what his heirs would endure, before finally inheriting the land. In the end, God promised he would come through and the Abram’s heirs would number more than the stars. After the vision, God consumed the sacrifice.
This, is a tough lesson for all of us humans. We often see and hear God’s promises, and yet they seem empty and unfilled. We are sometimes forced to wait for something that God promises, or are required to believe something God says that extends beyond the scientific reasoning of our mortal minds. Many of us lose faith, give up on God, or even hate him for treating us so poorly. God’s decisions are not always what we want, or on our timing. When God tells us something, it is our duty to believe, we cannot shove God into our mold. When things seem wrong, we have to remember “God is God, and I am man”. Praise God for his promises, trust him and obey him. Our lives are finite, we think our modern science and reasoning are second to none, but we are finite. That my friends is a hard perspective keep.
Have a wonderful day, praise God for his Word and mercy.