Sunday, September 24, 2017

God's Promise and Our Temptation

Good evening!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.  God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  (1 Corinthians 1:8-9)

God appeared Abram, and encouraged him, not once, but multiple times.  Each time, God re-enforced His promise to Abram.  In fact, for each occasion, God made Abram continue trusting God and believing God’s promise.   We all know Abram tried to make God’s promise come true by his own logic and rationale.   Bible describes after the last encounter with God, Abram did not make any further attempts to bring his own plan to God.  

By the way, we are also guilty on this regard.  How many times have we hear our own mind, and use our own might to make God’s plan come true rather than waiting for God’s hand and time? Controlling one’s own mind is really hard.   Bible tells “anyone who has control of his spirit is better than someone who captures a city.” (Proverb 16:32b)    We all know that we need God’s help to battle against our own mind, which is easily driven by what we see and hear.   With the help from God, Abram was able to rule over his mind, and continued his journey with God following God’s promise.  Yes, Abram could not see and touch any hints or evidences that God’s promise would come true in foreseeable future.    

In fact, Sarai, Abram’s wife, was also under an extreme pressure of not having a baby.  She had been enduring with Abram.  Although Sarai did not say anything, her heart was getting heavier and heavier day by day.   Sarai could not be silent any longer.  Thus, she opened up her heart, and said to Abram, “The LORD has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” (Genesis 16:2)   Sure.  We can understand Sarai’s pain.   She tried everything to have a baby, but she could not have a baby.   Finally, with her own words, she said “God has prevented me from having a baby.”   

It was not easy for Sarai tell this.   Sarai struggled and gave deep thoughts many times while searching for an answer.  Her husband received God’s promise that his descendants would be extremely many like the stars on a clear night sky.   Surely, every night, she also looked up the countlessly many stars.  She also knew she could not have a baby.  This was her daily struggle.   She was even afraid to see stars on a clear night.  For her, a rainy day was a good day because she could not see the bothering stars.   Especially, after the last debate with God, Abram completely believed God’s promise without any doubts.   All of the pressure of not having a child now came upon her.  

Sarai also was a good wife.  Sarai always wanted to be a true helper to Abram, and she actually was.   Although Abram was keeping his faith, she saw Abram’s struggles.   She concerned about how long Abram really held his faith because the reality was completely opposite.  As a good wife, she always looked around her to find a way to get out of this difficult situation.

One day, her eyes spot a beautiful, young, and strong Egyptian servant named Hagar.  Sure, Hagar was with her long time, but her mind did not connect Hagar with her paramount problem and concern.   That day suddenly Sarai’s heart told her that Hagar was the answer.  If Hagar could give a birth to a male child, certainly the child would be strong enough to be a man who could start a great nation.   For a while, she did not talk about this.  She also knew how Abram would respond -- Abram’s disapproval.   She waited and waited an opportunity to tell her story to Abram.  One day, she found Abram, who was particularly down.  He was looking at kids playing with an eye of envy because Abram did not have his own son.   She saw and felt Abram’s struggle.  

Thus, she approached Abram, and told her plan.  Surprisingly Abram quickly agreed with Sarai’s proposal.   (Abram was really vulnerable at that time.)   That night, Sarai, Abram’s wife, brought Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave to Abram.   This happened ten years after Abram had settled in the land of Canaan following God’s promise.   All the years, Abram trusted God, but it was the moment that Abram was vulnerable, and he quickly made a concession with his wife (in reality, with his own troubling mind.)   He chose his wife, and agreed with her logically tempting proposal.   

Believing God’s promise is not easy.   Overcoming all kinds of internal voice of skepticism and doubts is really harder.   So far, through God’s help, Abram was able to keep his faith and overcome his inner voice of doubts and skepticism.    On top of this battle, Abram had to fight against a severe temptation that came from his own wife whom he always loved, and trusted for many years.   When Sarai, such a faithful wife, touched on Abram’s heart with a tempting voice, Abram’s heart melt like an ice under a hot summer day.   Abram could not resist, but drink the sweetness of the temptation from his wife.  He took a part of his wife’s plan, and agreed to make a baby. 

Abram was telling to himself.   Yes, waiting for a baby from his barren wife was illogical and even stupid.  His heart also suddenly was filled with all of the jokes made by his friends, “How in the world, can a barren wife have a baby?  Wake up.  You are just dreaming.  Get real.  You still believe you will have a baby.  You clearly know your wife is barren.”   Abram quickly looked back his last ten years.  He fought against doubts in faith, but nothing had happened.  He had a scar of not having a son.  His heart continuously questioned,  “where is my son who will make my descendants numerous like the star on a night sky?”   He knew he could not talk to God anymore either.   He vividly remembered what happened when he approached God with his logical plan, but God immediately rejected his plan.    Instead, God made him convinced so that he believe again the promise.   As his heart was comforted and became calm, he restored his faith in God again.   Then he heard God’s loving voice: “You are righteous because you believe me.”   How could he go back to God and tell something different from what God wanted?   He told to himself.  No more.   (Of course, this is not true.  God is always faithful to us.  Remember that God has no rotating shadow.   He will not change no matter what we think and/or do.   God always wants for us to come to Him.   Why?  God loves us, not because we do God’s will, but because we are simply His children.   Nobody in the world ever existed lived out perfectly God’s will.   We are like sheep.  All go astray.  However, God’s merciful hand stretches out, grab us, and bring to His bosom in His love)

Yes, Abram heard his wife, and sinned.   By the way, this is not the first example written in Bible.   Adam sinned because he heard his wife, Eve.  Adam knew God’s command, but he was tempted by what was offered by his wife.   Yes, it was really difficult to refuse the delicious temptation coming to him through Eve.   Please think about how difficult for us to refuse, if our own trusting spouse or one whom we most trust on earth offers a solution to the problem that we struggle about for a long time: ten years or more.  Additionally, we know that the solution surely works.

Hagar bore a son.   Both Abram and Sarai expected happiness.   However, soon Hagar’s son became the major source of trouble in Abram’s family.   Hagar started looking down on Sarai, Abram’s wife and her mistress.   Hagar’s son brought an unexpected pain that was even greater than what they had.   Sarai complaint to Abram, “This is all your fault! I put my servant into your arms, but now that she’s pregnant she treats me with contempt. The LORD will show who’s wrong—you or me!”   (Genesis 16:5)   His wife, such a wonderful wife, for the first time, complained to Abram.   Sarai blamed Abram.  

What can we learn from Abram and Sarai?   We need to trust God, and continue believing in Him and His promise.   Surely, there will be an occasion that doubts from the deepest part of our heart ooze out.   We hear a tempting story from one whom we trust most on earth.   Then what can we do?     There is only one answer:  we need to fix our own eyes on Jesus, and continue walking the walk given to us.   Yes, things around us on earth are so real to us.  We can touch and feel the things on earth with our hands.   We also know their existence on earth is not forever either.   They will fade away.   Yes, let’s fix our eyes on the things on the above, and hear the voice of Holy Spirit in our heart.   When we are in doubts, confusion and temptation, please remind that Holy Spirit is in our heart, who intercedes us with inexpressible groaning to God.   God surly guides those who are faithful in Him through the paths of righteous.  

Let’s praise God, whose mercy endures forever!
Sing praise to God, whose love endures forever!
Give our heart to God, who is full of grace and mercy.
He is Our God, Our Ever-Loving Father.

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.  (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

God's Love and Our Faith

Good evening!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow--not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. (Romans 8:38)

God appeared multiple time to Abram, and encouraged him.  Each time, God re-enforced His promise to Abram.  In fact, God gave him a bigger and bigger blessing, and made it more and more plain to him by not only telling but also visualizing the promise by taking him to the night sky, and making him look up the crystal clear stars covering the clear night sky from one horizon to the other.   God asked him to count the shining stars.   Of course, he could not count.   Even he did not know where to start to count them.   Abram had no more word to describe God’s promise.  Like this, whenever Abram had a doubt, God appeared to him, and re-enforced His promise.   Yes, God tenaciously loved Abram.   Like a parent, who is truly joyful about his/her baby hearing the very first babbling word from his/her baby’s mouth, God was truly please when Abram showed a glimpse of his faith in Him.

And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith.  (Genesis 15:6)   If we just read this verse only, it is easy to think Abram had a truly wonderful faith.  That was the reason why God counted him as righteous.   No, it was not.   He was in doubt on God’s promise, because nothing was happening.  Thus, Abram devised his own plan to manufacture God’s promise by his own hand.   Upon hearing this, God blocked his plan, because it was sinful.  (Anything against God’s will is a sin.)    Of course, God could punish him, but God did not.  Instead, God gave even a bigger promise by showing off all the stars on the clear night sky (not like our murky and light-polluted sky, which barely allows for us to see few stars on a good day.)    Was there anyone on earth, who could refuse such blessing from God?   Of course, not.   The Almighty God appeared and told this unbelievably amazing blessing.   Like us, for Abram it was an easy choice – believing the promise.  Then truly amazingly, God counted Abram as righteous.   

This gives one insight about who the God truly is.  When God gives us an unimaginable blessing, we must accept it with the highest gratitude and humility in faith before the Almighty God.   Why?   First, this pleases God.   He loves to give His blessing to His children.  Second, God wants for us to truly believe His blessing although his blessing is unimaginable greater than anything that we can think of.    By the way, if you are a believer, you have already received such an unfathomable blessing, which is the Gospel – our salvation freely given to us by God.   If we accept this blessing, then God pleases with us, and declares “righteous” because we accept and believe His most precious gift.  This is our faith, which truly pleases God.  Without faith, we cannot please God. 

“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”  (Hebrews 11:6)

All who accept Jesus as the true and only one savior are righteous before God.   Then we often expect after this, all things should be perfect and smoothly done for the rest of the lift, because believing in Jesus as savior is not just for our earthly life, but the eternity in our True Home, the Heaven.   Why are we, believers still struggling on earth with the earthly things and people around us?

God rejoices over us, not because we have our faith that can move the mountain, but because we have just start our journey in our faith with Him.   Like a parent, who cannot keep quite when he/she hears the first babbling word from his/her baby, or when his/her baby makes a first step, God is really rejoicing over our first step in our faith.   As a parent, even today, I can remember how joyful I was when I heard the first babbling word from my son’s mouth.   I recorded with my cassette recorder.  (Unfortunately, I accidently erased it later.)    Surely, I can also vividly recall in my heart my son making his first step by himself without holding anything.   I couldn’t be still.  I had to tell this to other family and friends.  Our Heavenly Father’s joy must be even much greater than what I had experienced, because God’s love is greater than mine.  

Then after making the first step, my son continued made me pleased.   He started to walk  like a real kid graduating from the barely balancing baby steps.   Soon he was able to run.   He was so fast that I had a hard time to catch him especially in house.   Then he started pre-school.   He played with his own friends, running and giggling.    Soon he was in Kindergarten, which was followed by elementary school, middle school,  high school, and college.   After making his first baby-step, I cannot even imagine how many steps that my son made so far.   What I can sure is that walking becomes his second nature, and I don’t have to worry about whether he might fall as I worried when he was a toddler.  

Yes, our first baby-step faith makes Our Heavenly Father truly pleased.   Without faith, we cannot make Him.  Period.   It is true that all faiths are not equal.   The world fastest man can run 100m in 9.58 seconds.  The person’s name is Usain Bolt from Jamaica.    This record was made in 2009.   His speed is translated to 37.5 Km per hour, or 23.3 miles per hour.  My son is quite athletic, but his 100 meter time is not even close to this record.   Although we all made our parents truly pleased by making a first baby step, but not all of us become the record holder.   Even he is not the 100 meter world record holder, I dearly love my son.  Why?   Because he is my son.   Is there any other reason why I love my son?  

This is the truth of our Heavenly Father’s love.    God loves us not because of the greatest faith in Him, but because of one single fact that we are His children.   Sure, some of us can become a record holder in faith.    (Please read Hebrews Chapter 11.   This is commonly known as the faith chapter.   This chapter lists the record holders of faith in God.)     However, most of us will not such a record holder in faith.   For God’s eye, it does not matter whether we hold a record or not.   He wants for us to keep our own faith in Him no matter what happens in our life.    Let say, after making a baby step, if my son stayed forever as a toddler, who barely walks, it would be my greatest concern on my son, although I loved my son.   I would do whatever I can do to make my son properly grow into a normal and healthy adult.  

The interaction between Abram and God mirrored this relationship.   God tenaciously chased down Abram, and rekindled his faith by intervening Abram with blessing, which made Abram back to Him again and again.   This is the love of God, which is so powerful that can turn any doubters to His faithful children.   Just open our eyes and ears in our heart, and hear His voice.   As Bible tells, God, who starts a good work in us, will surely complete our faith.  

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.  (Philippians 1:6)

Sunday, September 10, 2017

God's Promise and God's Tenacious Love

Good morning!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.  And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.  (Genesis 12:1-2)

God asked Abram to make a journey from his homeland.  Abram listened to God’s voice, and faithfully followed God’s voice.  God did bless Abram, who was faithful to God.  The greatest blessing to Abram was to make him into a great nation.   Abram completely believed the blessing, and he did everything that he could.   Abram was also generous.   He did not quarrel with his nephew who split the Abram’s possession and leave Abram.  Abram was a good man to his nephew and especially a man of faith to God. 

Abram walked with God quite a long time.  However, there was no evidence in his life about God’s promise.   Although God blessed him to be a great nation, in fact, he did not have his own son.   How could a great nation be created out of his son who did not exist?   This really bothered him again and again whenever he thought about the God’s blessing.  Finally, Abram decided to help God by creating his own solution – a logical and rational approach to create a great nation out of Abram.   That is, making his servant as his heir, and letting him and his descendants to form a great nation because his wife could not have a baby.    Then he suggested to God.    What was the God’s answer?  

“No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.”  (Genesis 15:4)    God’s answer was “No.”   God repeated His promise. 

Let’s put us in Abram’s shoe.  For a long time, Abram struggled about God’s promise.  For Abram’s eyes, it would have never been materialized because it was a simply non-starter.   No son means no descendants.   Then how possibly his descendants who do not exist would form a great nation?   All known evidences – no son and his barren wife, told the other story:  the promise would not happen.   As a good follower of God, rather than walking away from God’s promise, he decided to introduce a workable solution that would make the God’s promise come true.   Then with a great courage, Abram present to God while expecting God would give him an approval because his approach was logical.   As soon as he presented his solution, God said “No.”  

Abram was really discouraged.   Did God not know Abram’s disappointment?   No, God knew exactly how Abram felt, what Abram’s motivation was, how hard Abram worked to get to the solution, and how much courage he had to take to tell about his solution that could make God’s promise come true rather than just a spoken promise.   After saying “no,” God re-enforced His promise: “you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.”    Then   God immediately took him outside by His loving hand, and said to him “Look up into the sky and count he stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”  (Genesis 15:5b)

God told to Abram as a loving parent to Abram.   Let’s think about a situation.   Our children are about to commit a dangerous act.   Then what will we do as a parent.   He immediately stop our children by saying “no” to preventing them from damaging themselves by continuing a harmful thing to our children.   Yes, what they try to do must look good to their own eyes.   Abruptly blocking our children tends to be dry and even too cold to our children.   Then what we do next as a loving parent?   With love, (yes, with love) we pamper them with our good words to make them cheer up again rather than focusing on what is wrong.   We know love is stronger than correcting on a wrong behavior.  

Please see what God did.   He took Abram who was really discouraged, and showed the night sky full of stars.   Then God explained his promise using the stars completely filled up the night sky.   (Have you seen a clear night that was completely filled with stars from horizon to the top of the sky?   In the era of Abram, there was no light pollution and the sky was clear.   Abram could see numerous stars including the milky way rising from the horizon cutting through the sky into half, and reaching the other side of the horizon.  It must have been a breath-taking scene, which is very rare to us who live in and around cities now a days.  For those who are city dwellers, please visit a remote place where there is no light-pollution.  Then in a clear night, look up the stars in the sky, which city-dwellers almost completely forgot while living under the light-polluted dull night sky.)   Then Abram could connect God’s promise with the countless stars in the vast span of the night sky.  Finallyl, Abram could visualize the God’s blessing.    Abram was comforted, and his heart was filled with awe and joy in God’s promise.   God restored Abram’s faith. 

The Bible continues: “Then Abram believed the Lord.”  (Genesis 15:6a)   Yes, Abram could believe again, which was not by his own effort, but was made by God, who was merciful and full of love.  God always lavishly blesses His people, as He did to Abram.   God added, “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession.” (Genesis 15:7)   God specifically named about his blessing and made a promise with Abram.  Abram felt that the land before him was too good for him.   He could not imagine himself who occupied the vastly blessed land that lay before his eyes, because owning the land was beyond his ability.   It might have been possible on in his dream.  

What was the response of Abram?    “O Sovereign LORD, how can I be sure that I will actually possess it?”  (Genesis 15:8)   Abram was not much different from us.  He could not believe what was told by God.    Additionally, Abram was hurt so much.    He believed God’s promise and did everything that he could do.   The result was empty.   If it was empty, it would be better.   He could forget.   No.  All things happening his life pointed to the opposite story – God’s promise would never been materialized.  Additionally, his logical approach was flat denied by God.    Then Abram was comforted when God displayed the star in the night sky, and reinforced His promise by connecting the numerous stars to His promise.   Abram, although comforted, wanted not to be hurt once more.  

Abram gave a thought about the land before him.   First, he did not have any knowledge about the land -- who occupied the land, how many, how strong, etc.   Were they friendly or hostile to Abram?  They might be much stronger than Abram.    Finally, he questioned to himself: who would give his/her own land to a total stranger – Abram unless Abram invaded them and forcefully subdued them.    Was Abram capable of doing this?   No.  It was not.  Abram could not stop asking directly for this time.

Again God exactly saw Abram’s heart and knew his struggle in his heart.  God asked him offer a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.  Abram did.   As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep.   God showed up in his dream and secretly revealed His promise and the future of Abram’s descendent.   God made a covenant with Abram with details -- “I have given this land to your descendants, all the way from the border of Egypta to the great Euphrates River—  the land now occupied by the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.”  (Genesis 15:18b-20)

God was tenaciously faithful to Abram.  Why?  God dearly loved Abram.    Yes, God dearly loves His children.  He is also tenaciously faithful to His children.    Praise God!   We are His children.   He will tenaciously love us.    

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:38-39)

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Our Faith and God's Faithfulness in His Love

Good morning!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. (John 15:7-8)

One day Terah took his son Abram, his daughter-in-law Sarai (his son Abram’s wife), and his grandson Lot (his son Haran’s child) and moved away from Ur of the Chaldeans. He was headed for the land of Canaan, but they stopped at Haran in the middle of the journey and settled there.  Terah lived, in fact, till his death in Haran, and Abram became the head of the household.

The LORD had appeared to Abram and said, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.  I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.  I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”  (Genesis 12:1-3)

Upon hearing God’s voice and his blessing, he led the whole family and left Haran to the Canaan, the promised land.   After a long journey, he arrived in Canaan.   A severe famine struck the land of Canaan, which forced Abram to go down to Egypt, where he lived as a foreigner.   In Egypt, his life was not easy.   However, God protected him.   When they left Egypt, he actually accumulated more wealth than when he entered Egypt with his family.   God blessed him, who promised to Abram even during the duration that he lived as a foreigner in the foreign land.   

On the way back to Canaan, there was a fight between the servants of Abram and the servants of Lot, his nephew.   Abram decided to let Lot, his family, servants, and belongings go to make him independent.   Abram, who was generous in his heart, let Lot choose his land first, and then Abram chose his own.   Lot picked a fertile plain of the Jordan Valley, which was good to his eyes (and of course, it must have been good to the eyes of Abram too).  Then Abram took his family and moved in the opposite direction.    God saw his generosity toward his nephew, and appeared to Abram.  God blessed Abram, “Look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west.  I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants as a permanent possession.  And I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted!  Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.”  (Genesis 13:14b-17)

Lot went to the land of his choice, and settled near Sodom, where the people were extremely wicked and constantly sinned against God.    About the time when Lot moved in, a war broke out in the region.  The king of Sodom fled, and the conquerors invaded the city of Sodom, and Lot was became captive.   Lot asked help to Abram.  Abram brought his own people and rescued Lot, his family and all of his possessions.  Again, Abram let Lot, his family and his possessions, go in their way.   Abram proved again his generous heart toward his nephew. 

Time passed.  God appeared to Abram again.   At that time, Abram asked “O Sovereign LORD, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth.  You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.” (Genesis 15:2-3)

Then the LORD said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.”  Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” (Genesis 15:4-5)

And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith. (Genesis 15:5)

God loved Abram, who was generous to his nephew (not just once, but he proved again and again), and God came to Abram again.   Abram could not be silent any more.   With courage, Abram asked how God’s blessing would be fulfilled because he had no son.  Abram waited and waited, but there was no baby, because his wife, Sarai, could not have a baby.   As we all know, Abram, was so much faithful to God, and followed exactly what was told by God.   He left his home land, and moved in the promised land.  Then he again moved to Egypt, and lived as a foreigner. His life was not easy, but he was faithful to God throughout his difficult journey of his life.   How could he endure the hardships in his life?   Abram truly believed God’s blessing:  “I will give the land to your descendants as a permanent possession, and I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth.”    However, he had no son.   He was not able to reconcile two completely contradicting facts: no son and God’s blessing – his descendants would be numerous and would possess the promised land forever.   Abram struggled, and finally he decided to make sense out of God’s promise with his own wisdom.   He devised his own solution – designating his head servant as his heir.  Abram proposed his solution to God.   

Surely, Abram believe God’s promise.  He would have never given up.  Abram searched everywhere to see even a single slightest hint that God’s promise was on track as God promised.   However, all of his searches became futile.   Although he believed, he was in agony because he could not see any logical evidence.  His heart was divided, and he could not be silent but directly ask to God.

How many times have we had this kind of waiting, and being disappointed?   In our eyes, nothing is moving toward God’s promise.  We could not see even a slightest glimpse of sign that God’s promise would be soon fulfilled.   We searched and search.  We even stretched our imaginations by connecting dots that might give us a hint of God’s hand moving toward His promise.   But, none was found.   Then what was our response?

Abram, when he got into this situation, essentially responded:  “Yes, I hold tight on your promise, and waited and waited long time.   However, nothing has happened.  In the mean time, I had to spend sleepless nights while giving lots of thoughts about your promise and how your promise would be fulfilled in my life.   Finally, I’ve got an idea that would be really ends this agony of waiting and not seeing anything close to God’s promise.   That is,  I have devised  a workable solution, and it is really rationale and logical.  I am sure this solution will work out because every step by step I have carefully examined while bouncing off against all possible scenarios.  This solution is bullet-proof.  Now I am fully convinced that this solution will exactly accomplish God’s promise.  God, here is my solution:  I will make my best, faithful, capable and smart head-servant as my heir. He will surely make your promise come true.“    How God would have felt upon hearing Abram’s suggestion?

God saw Abram’s pain and agony in his heart.  God lovingly responded – “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.”   Then God reassured Abram by repeating His promise: “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” (Genesis 15:4-5)

His loving and encouraging voice from God made Abram turned around.  Abram regained his faith and believed God again.   God was pleased and God counted him as righteous because he believed.

Was Abram successful?   He was not.  He tried his best, but he miserably failed before God.   When he was devising his own solution for God’s promise, he thought that he did God’s work, but it was not what God wanted nor planned to do.  Even so God did not blame Abram for lack of his faith in God and not completely trusting God’s promise.  Instead, God hold his hand and lifted him up again.   God, instead, made Abram look up the sky, and asked him to count the stars.   This was the love of God.  God love Abram whether he was faithfully in God or go astray into his own way following his own wisdom.   God continuously guided Abram no matter how he responded to His promise   God was always faithful because not like Abram (and us, any human beings) God does not have a rotating shadow. 

The same God is with us and loves us.   Most of us have much weaker in faith than Abram.   We all remember we have questioned God’s promise because we could not see any hints about God’s promise with our own eyes.   Of course, we waited, but in the end, we devised our own solution to make out God’s promise be realized.   We missed the target again and again, and this is our offense to God.  How many times have we offended God?   Even so God has never changed His heart and love toward us.  He always loves and is with us as God did to Abram.   God exactly knows our own weaknesses and struggles.   This is why we can lean on God.   God always wants us to come, who is Our True and Ever-Loving Father.   His arms are always open and his hands are stretched out fully to grab us.  Just come to God, and He will put us in His bosom.   Therefore we can sing and praise God  --  Praise God, and rejoice in Him because God is our Lord and our strength! 

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  (Hebrews 11:1)