And He brought him outside and said, Look now toward the heavens and count the stars—if you are able to number them. Then He said to him, So shall your descendants be. And he [Abram] believed in the Lord, and He counted it to him as righteousness.—Genesis 15:5-6
Genesis chapter 15 is a beautiful picture of how God expands our hopes and dreams to match the magnificence of His own dreams for us. It takes faith to believe that the heart of God is good and that He wants what is best for His children.
Abram (later called Abraham) had a certain longing in his heart; a dream. He wanted a child. Could he have one? He told God that if he died childless, then his servant would inherit everything he owned.
In response, the LORD told Abram to look up and see the sky. God, too, had a dream for him. Not only did He have an offspring in mind for Abram; He had many of them in mind—as numerous as the stars! Abram wanted a child? Why, God wanted a nation! God dreamed in big-scale fashion.
There was also another dream God wanted Abraham to embrace. He had taken Abraham on a journey from Ur to a place He wanted him to possess. “How can I know that I will gain possession of it?” asked Abram (v.8). It would certainly take time for its fulfillment, but could it happen?
God would make sure it would. In Hebrew culture, there is a practice called “the walk of blood.” Here, the participants in a blood covenant walk in a figure 8 shape between the halves of slain animals. They pronounce a blessing and curse which essentially means that the one who breaks this covenant/promise will die like these animals. It was also tantamount to saying: Just as this animal gave its life, so I will give my life for you if necessary.
The dreams God had for Abram were certainly too difficult for Abram to fulfill on his own. Again, only God could fulfill the impossible. Think about it: Abram’s wife, Sarah, was barren, they were growing old, and they were strangers in a land. Could they really have offspring, and could they possess the land already owned by the “-ites”—Kenites, Kennizites, Kamonites, Hittittes, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites? (v.19)
Abram’s circumstances may have pointed otherwise, but it was the ALMIGHTY God of the Universe making the promises.
While Abram slept, God did the first weaving of dreams. A smoking firepot and a blazing torch passed between the slain animals. In the darkness, it was God Himself, the Light of the World, walking through the covenant pieces. God was taking it upon Himself to fulfill the dreams He had for Abram. It was as if He was saying, “Let Me give Myself for you to fulfill this.” He wasn’t limited by circumstances or by time. He wasn’t limited by weakness either. He was God of the universe.
In life, God will give us promises. God will make us dream wonderful dreams. At first, they may look like tiny glimpses of His bigger dream. Then, as we move along in faith, He will show us just how panoramic His heart can be–as wide as the sky in its depth for us. His dreams will certainly be too difficult to achieve on our own. In fact, they will be impossible! However, we can have faith that God Himself will move. When it will be too difficult, we can simply rest in him (or sleep like Abram did!).
Abram believed what the Lord told him, and this was credited to him as righteousness. Can we boldly grasp the promises of the Lord for us, and believe that He will work with us to fulfill them? The Bible says that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20). Dare we believe it? We can ask our Almighty God to show us the depth of His dream-filled heart towards us.
First Published for Saved Radio at saved.ph
Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.