By Sally Lombardo
“After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: ‘Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.’ But Abram said, ‘O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?... And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: ‘This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.’ And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” –Genesis 15:1–2,4-6
During the season of Lent, our hearts long for God’s Word. As we wait for the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection on Easter, we may choose to abstain from certain comforts while we cling more closely to God and his Word. But sometimes, our posture of penitence becomes the focus, and we forget that God looks upon us with love and peace because of Christ’s finished work on the cross. Today’s passage and Abram’s example of faith can remind us of the hope of the gospel during this solemn season.
First, the Lord tells Abram not to be afraid. Jesus said the same to his disciples many times during his sojourn on earth. Next, the Lord promises his protective shield as a reward for Abram’s faithfulness. The psalmist uses the same word, shield, to show that the Lord provides the security we need: “But you, O Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” (Psalm 3:3). Armed with a shield and courage, Abram asks God for an heir to carry on his family name. We can follow this pattern of prayer: starting on our knees, recognizing the shield God provides, and humbly asking God for what we need.
God eventually answers Abram’s prayer for a son, but first, he tells him, “Look toward heaven.” This invitation shows Abram a bigger picture of his life and a divine purpose for Abram’s prayer. Even if Abram used all his imagination, he could not foresee the great things God had planned. During the season of Lent, we come to God on our knees in repentance and prayer. At the same time, we can rest assured that God will hear our prayers and point us toward a bigger picture and grander plan. We are called to be part of God’s kingdom, and daily we, too, can look up to him in faith.
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1–2).
When will you set aside time this week to spend time with God in prayer? What is one habit you can pursue to help you set your mind on Christ? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Why is trust so difficult? Unlike all the broken promises of this world, God’s redeeming promises are absolute, trustworthy, and true. The covenants of God afford us with abundant reasons to trust God with his plan for our lives. Trusting God: Redeeming Promises of the Word small group Bible study explores the six major redeeming promises of God found in his Word. Learn more about God’s commitment to his people, the nature of a covenant, and how you can find your security in being a child of God’s redeeming promises. Learn more about God’s promises today.
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