“And he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.”But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?”
On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give
this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates,”
“I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today!” This was the offer repeatedly given by Wimpy, one of the mainstay characters in the Popeye cartoon. No one believed Wimpy or ever took him up on his offer without considering their money lost for good. We can become skeptical from our past dealings with others who overpromise and under deliver. So it’s natural to be leery of promises that seem a little too good to be true.
When God presented another of His big promises to Abram, he wanted a little reassurance. “How can I be sure that this is really going to happen? How can I know that if I step out in faith, you’ll be there to catch me?” God in His loving patience gave Abram three things to confirm that this promise would come to pass.
- His past performance – God started this conversation reminding Abram of the ways that He had delivered on His earlier promises. “Remember, I’m the One who has already moved you from there to here.”
- The promise of His Word – God made a covenant, a sacred contract with Abram laying out the specifics of what He would accomplish in and through him and his descendants.
- A ritual to represent and remind – God had Abram provide a sacrifice of several animals. And different elements of the ritual were a reminder to Abram who he was dealing with – the perfect and powerful creator of the Universe, a King who was not only able but willing to bless him for his faithfulness for generations to come.
When God calls us to step out in faith with our actions, our relationships, and our resources, we can trust Him that He will be faithful. Our confidence is based on His character, His promises, and our prior experience with Him.
While using the HEAR method (see below) consider the following questions:
- Can you identify times that God has shown His power in your life?
- Why do you think we have trouble trusting Him in spite of past experience?
- What are some of the promises that God has made to those who follow Him through Christ?
- What’s a ritual we do today in church that reminds us of God’s faithfulness and love?
Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you?
Explain – what does the passage mean?
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today?
Respond – how is God leading you to respond?
Jon Price, Associate Pastor