Father Abraham: Having a Candid Conversation

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After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:

“Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield,
your very great reward.”

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

Genesis 15:1-3

After Abram and his small band defeated the kings and rescued Lot, after the glorious encounter with Melchizedek, God comes to Abram and Abram shows a bit of cheek, questioning God’s intentions…

Another way of looking at this would be to say that Abram shared the great concern of his heart, for he believed God’s promise, yet he was not a young man, and he felt safe enough in God’s presence to ask that question which was burning within him…

Personally, I think it was the second one; Abram trusted God so much that he was comfortable asking that burning question, not in a demanding or selfish way, but because it was giving him a great deal of grief. Most likely, the answer as to how God would interpret the question is found in His reply:

Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him 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.”

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

Genesis 15:4-6

God didn’t seem to have a problem with Abram’s question, for God obviously knew the concerns of his heart and so He answered the question and brought comfort to him. Since Abram is a model of faith for us to follow, we should all take comfort in this. Abram, as we have already seen, was not a perfect man; he had his share of faults and weaknesses. Yet he believed God’s promises, and in spite of his faults, placed his priority on his covenant relationship with God, and that is what God is looking for in us. He isn’t looking for ways or reasons to cast us off; He is looking for our faith in Him.

And… this is so awesome… God is big enough to handle our questions and doubts and fears.

In the end, Abram believed what God told him, and that belief was credited to him as righteousness. Another way of saying this is to say that Abram believed what God told him, and that made Abram righteous in God’s sight, even though Abram was a sinner.

The same would be true for us today, that God will view us as righteous, in spite of our shortcomings, if we believe His promises: Do we believe His promises?

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15 thoughts on “Father Abraham: Having a Candid Conversation”

  1. Thank you for reminding us all that God isn’t shocked, stunned, overwhelmed, discouraged, despairing or conflicted about our questions. He’s approachable! Well said, my friend.

  2. He waited 25 long years and got older and older and older. Something I noticed just recently (and I have been studying the Bible for over 60 years) is Abraham said, “What can you give me since I am still childless?”. There is nothing God could have given him to ease the pain in his heart. Nothing but a child. He did not designate son or daughter; he just said, “child”. What a man.

  3. And I resent all the sermons about Abraham “running ahead of God” when he finally took Hagar to have a child through. I don’t know where that phrase came from, but I think it is arrogant. We do the best with what we know. Having a mistress was not illegal then. He was only trying, just like the rest of us. We just try.

    1. Yes, an interesting point. We do our best with what we know and what we have available and some of the time we might look back and wonder what we were thinking… at least that’s been my experience. Yet even in those situations, God is loving and merciful.

  4. God has big shoulders.

    Of course, it’s fair to point out that Zachariah didn’t get quite as gracious a response from God…and in fact got the “silent treatment”…but still received the promise.

  5. Perfect example that God knows our heart, even if we lack perfect expression of thought or language skills. He knows the true question, and cuts to the chase of the matter, even when we are having difficulty in our approach. Some of my prayers give me the shivers when I think of what I have said or asked of Almighty God, yet He is kind and merciful. He never changes, and is the same God – the God of Abram and the God of every believer. Praise Him!! Thanks for the great post.

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