As we commemorate Abraham today, we take our devotional reading from God’s Word for Today: Genesis.
Genesis [15–20] is a revelation about man and his family, and not a very flattering one at that. Abram and his own are shown not as “heroes of faith,” but as failing and faltering human beings. They doubt, laugh at God, manipulate and mistreat one another, lie, deceive, and in many ways demonstrate their clear connection with Adam and Eve.
But what is remarkable about this section is not what it says about Abram and the others, but what it says about God. Some of the ongoing revelations of God in relationship to His people are begun in this part of Genesis.
Here is God, not off in the distant heavens, but intimately involved in the life of His chosen. Here is God, judging sin (chapter 19) and yet demonstrating such long-suffering patience with His people as to almost be talked out of destroying the evil He had determined to eliminate (18:26–32). Here is the patient God, repeating over and over again the promise to Abraham, performing signs, and giving a seal of the covenant in circumcision (chapters 15, 17–18). Surely here is the “Father” God, loving Abraham and Sarah so much that He puts up with their laughter of scorn at His promises and their insistence on doing things their own way.
In each event Abraham and his family are the doers, but God is still in control. Everything is under His magnificent control. Even though Abraham cannot believe it; even though he is not patient with God’s giving; even though Abraham cannot accept God’s judgment and tries to talk God out of it; . . . even though Abraham still staggers, protecting his own neck by again passing his wife off as his sister—God controls. God acts and gives and loves and forgives these frail beings; these creatures of His hand; these sure descendants of Adam and Eve; these chosen people.
Almighty God, You showed Your servant Abraham the night sky and asked him to count the stars. You promised him that his offspring would be as numerous as the stars. Abraham, though he was childless, believed You, and his faith was credited to him as righteousness. Thank You for the gift of faith in Your Son, our Savior. Your blessings are indeed as countless as the stars. We are now clothed with Christ’s righteousness and bold to stand before You. Keep us faithful to You and Your Word. Amen.
Devotional reading and prayer are from God’s Word for Today: Genesis, pages 33–34, 112 © 1994 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.