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Day 1: What will You give me? Genesis 15:1-6
The word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what will You give me? 5 Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” 6 And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness. Genesis 15:1-6
Abram, asks, “What will You give me since I remain childless?” God gave Abram something far better than a child; He gave Abram, Himself: “I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” When you understand how precious a relationship with God is you can say with the Psalmist, “Whom have in heaven but You. There is none on earth that I desire besides You.” Psalm 73:25 You become like a weaned child content to simply be in his mother’s presence. Psalm 131:2. You agree with the Levites: “The LORD is their inheritance as the LORD promised.” Deut 10:9
God is all the protection I need – my shield. He is all the blessing I need – my very great reward. When a soldier who’s been overseas comes home and surprises the family, that’s good enough. God gave to Abram more than His presence. He gave to Abram the sign of the star-filled sky. But the best thing God gave to Abram was not His presence or a sign in nature. “For God so loved the world, He gave His only Son.” Abraham had only to believe and that’s what made him righteousness. You need only to believe, and you too, will be made righteous before God.
Oh God, help me to not ask, “What will you give me?” but rather to thank You for all You have already given me. You have given Me hope in Your Word, wonder in Your creation, joy in Your Presence, and most of all salvation in Your Son. I am so grateful. Now, what can I give You?
Day 2: How will I know? Genesis 15:7-18
7 Then He said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.” 8 And he said, “Lord God, how shall I know that I will inherit it?” 12 Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram...
17 And it came to pass, when the sun went down…there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. 18 On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land…”
One moment Abram is believing, the next he expresses some doubt. “How will I know?” He didn’t have proof about having numerous descendants, just a view of the stars in the sky. God follows up with another promise and Abram says, “Prove it to me!” A big deal. When one of the royal servants of Israel questioned God in the middle of a famine, he got trampled to death (2 Kings 7:18-20). When the priest, Zechariah, questioned God, he was smitten with muteness and unable to speak for nine months (Luke 1:18-20).
How will I know? Note two things of great importance:
Whitney Houston sang a song back in the eighties, “How will I know if he really loves me? I say a prayer with every heart beat…” Here’s how I know God really loves me. It’s all Christ, not me.
Father, I know You love me. I know I will inherit heaven. I know Your promises will come true. Not because of anything I have done or anything I have to offer. I know because when I was powerless and without strength, Jesus died for me. It’s all You! It’s always You! In Jesus’ Name.
Day 3: God doesn’t need our help. Genesis 16:1-6
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had an Egyptian maidservant, Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai. 3 Then Sarai, took Hagar her maid, and gave her to her husband to be his wife... 4 So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress, Sarai, became despised. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes.” 6 So Abram said to Sarai, “Indeed your maid is in your hand; do to her as you please.” And when Sarai dealt harshly with her, she fled from her presence.
Have you ever taken the initiative to help someone out only to make things worse? Whenever we try to help God out, it leads to disaster. Abram had been in the land for ten years. God had given him a promise. He had just said: “Your descendants will be as numerous as the stars.” Ten years of waiting and nothing to show for it. Sarai takes the initiative and decides to try to help God out. Big Mistake. Instead of honor, Sarai was despised. Instead of peace in the home, more tension. Instead of taking responsibility, casting blame. Instead of love, abuse and violence. There was one big thing that was missing: Prayer. No one thought to stop and ask God what they should do. Rather than trying to help God out. Stop. Pray. Let God help you.
Father, forgive me for the many times, I try to take things into my own hands when I don’t feel You are asking fast enough. May I try to help You only when You ask me to. I will let You be the Initiator today, and I will simply be the responder. Because You are my Helper, I will not fear.
Day 4: Where have you come from? Where are you going? Genesis 16:1-10
7 Now the Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. 8 And He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.” 9 The Angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.” 10 Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly….”
Do you tend to respond to a crisis with fight or flight? Hagar started fighting. Then she ran. She headed back home toward Egypt. God does several things when we run from life’s challenges.
Father, Thank You for not letting me go when I am running away from life. Thank You for chasing me down until You find me, and for calling me by name. Help me to respond to Your hard questions about my direction. I will return and submit to whatever You want me to do. I believe that I will be blessed in my obedience. In Jesus’ Name.
Day 5: The God Who Hears and Sees Genesis 16:11-15
11 And the Angel of the Lord said to her: “Behold, you are with child, And you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, Because the Lord has heard your affliction.
13 Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; observe, it is between Kadesh and Bered. 15 So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.
Hagar was at the end of her rope, stuck in the middle of nowhere with no future and no hope. She may have felt as if God didn’t care. She may not have considered God at all. But He came to her just like He comes to us. He starts by telling her she would have a son. God knows the gender of our babies before they are born or conceived. The name Ishmael means “God hears.” Are you going through a difficult time right now? Are you crying out in pain, in sorrow or in fear? “The LORD has heard your affliction.”
But God not only hears, He sees. Hagar introduces us to a new name for God, El Roi, which means “God sees”. God is not blind to what you are going through. He is The God Who Sees. He sees every wrong you’ve ever suffered, every trial you’ve ever endured, every pain you’ve ever felt, every tear you’ve ever wept. He sees! He hears! He cares! May God open your eyes today to see the God who both hears you and sees you when you are at the end of your rope.
Abba, when it seems as if no one is listening to me, You are The-God-Who-Hears. When it feels like all my friends have turned a blind eye to me, You are The-God-Who-Sees. When I come to the end of my rope, may I believe with all my heart that You see me, You hear me, You love me.