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.
Reading Scripture to Know:
- What is happening/being said? (Observation)
- Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
- What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
- What does it mean? (Understanding)
- What does it mean for us? (Application)
Reading Scripture to Grow:
- What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
- Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
- How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
- How does this Scripture reveal God?
- How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
- What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?
Reflection: Look at those stars! You have a place among that heavenly host; one has been named and numbered for you. The great singer/songwriter combo of Rich Mullins and David “Beaker” Strasser gave to us these comforting and challenging words in their song Sometimes by Step: “Sometimes I think of Abraham // How one star he saw had been lit for me // He was a stranger in this land // And I have that no less than he // And on this road to righteousness // Sometimes the climb can be so steep // I may falter in my steps // But never beyond your reach // O God, you are my God // And I will always praise you.” God knew from the beginning that you would be a spiritual descendant of promise and he made sure that the night sky shone with a reminder of his love for you when he renewed his covenant with Abram. You have always had a place in God’s plans and God’s promises. So, when the climb of life gets steep, when you feel like a stranger in a hostile land, and when your feet feel like slipping, remember who has a long enough reach to span eternity to catch you. As he does, praise him for numbering you among his covenant people.
- Tuesday, August 2 – Acts 16
- Wednesday, August 3 – Acts 17
- Thursday, August 4 – Acts 18
- Friday, August 5 – Acts 19
- Saturday, August 6 – Acts 20
- Sunday, August 7 – Acts 21
- Monday, August 8 – Acts 22
Prayer Focus: It is a terrifying reality to feel lost and alone in the world. Pray this week for those who feel out of place, who are ostracized, and who feel isolated and cast out. Pray for the refugees in our world, those who are fleeing dangerous or threatening situations and who long for peace and a place in this world where they can find life. Ask God to open your heart to receive the people around you who might need to find a home in God today. Be the light, be the star, shining in the darkness that reminds someone that they have a place in God’s family.
Meditation Focus: We read in this passage that as a result of the Lord’s promise to Abram, Abram believed the Lord. This was honored by the Lord, who responded with the blessing of righteousness. What does it mean to believe? Think about this word. What do you believe? What have you believed before that you no longer do? What are your most important and sacred beliefs – the beliefs that shape who you are? Is believing passive or active? How so? What part of you believes – your mind, your heart, your whole self? Sit with God. Explore belief together. What is God asking you to believe? How is God asking you to believe? His promises are waiting. He is waiting – for you.
Journaling Focus: How has God acted in your life in a seemingly unbelievable way? What outlandish promises of God have been fulfilled in your life? You might never have had a child of promise born to you and your spouse when you were in your advanced, elderly years. But you might have held a miracle baby in your arms before. Perhaps God has not visited you in tangible form on a starry night to speak in an audible voice, but perhaps God has spoken to you in the silence of a dark season of your soul. Write about a time that convinced you that God is the God who both keeps his promises and works miracles. How did this strengthen your connection to God? Have you shared these happenings with others? Why or why not? God made a promise to Abram and he fulfilled it miraculously – and Scripture is filled with stories of how God continued to do so in the lives of Abram’s descendants. God continues that work even today, even in your life.
Breath Prayer: Father, fulfill your promises in and through us.