Out of the Garden, part nineteen

I know I say stuff like this often, so if you’re a regular here at the bible blog I apologize, but I adore the bible so much. When you just read it you miss a lot. When you slow down enough to study it, there’s an unending depth to what you find in this amazing book. The verse we’re looking at today is something I totally didn’t notice the first time I read Genesis. But this time it leaped off the page at me and seized my attention. Abram and God are talking here as Abram learns more about the incredible destiny that God has in store for him.

Genesis 15:4-6 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.” 5 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!” 6 And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.

I remember reading this and just thinking about how amazing of a promise it was that God had made to Abram. But this time, it was verse 6 that caught my attention.

Genesis 15:6 And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.

That blows me away. It wasn’t the promise that made Abram righteous, it was his belief in the promise. His faith in what God had said made him righteous in the eyes of the Lord. If you really sit and meditate on this you realize just how foundational and important this is. The level of power and reward that comes from simply believing God is incredible. It doesn’t matter what God says to me. What matters is if I believe Him or not. When God tells us we have the victory even though the odds are against us, the power’s not in the promise, it’s in our faith in the one who gave it. Because if you don’t believe God’s promise that you can win a battle that appears to be unwinnable, you’ll never fight in the first place.

The longer I spend thinking about this concept, the more I realize that it defines my life. The only reason I’ve had any success as a teacher at church is because I (eventually) believed the Lord. He told me that He was going to make me capable. He showed me in His word that all He needed was obedience and that He would provide the power. When I finally (it took a while) believed the Lord, He awoke like a mighty fire in my chest. I don’t’ get anxious when I preach or teach anymore. I don’t get fearful, I don’t get worried, I don’t secretly hope no one will show up or the power will go out and we’ll have to cancel the service. I prepare, then I show up knowing that by prepping and showing up, I’ve completed my side of things. God takes it from there, and He always takes it somewhere beautiful. I was teaching in the youth group last week at church and I said something and in my mind I thought “What the heck did I just say? That was amazing!” It was a comical moment because I was acutely aware of the fact that Aaron wasn’t up there speaking great words and dispensing his wisdom. What was coming out wasn’t me at all, it was Almighty God, and it was all made possible because I believed what He told me about being a teacher. I believed that if He was calling me to the front to teach, that He was going to provide the power to make it good.

Throughout the Bible, God says and does things to show you that He loves you. Do you believe Him? This believe thing goes beyond just the fulfillment of a promise, it goes to the acceptance of His love for us. When you hear Him say that He wants you just as you are, that He loves you unconditionally just as you are, that He lovingly made you, that you are His child, do you believe Him? Because that’s where the power is. Wrapped in the arms of God, caught up in His warm embrace.

Abram believed what sounded like an impossible promise. He was old, his wife was old, they couldn’t have kids, and here’s God saying that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars. It was a ludicrous promise. Impossible. And yet Abram believed, because he knew who it was he was speaking to. And his faith in the words of God made him righteous.

God says a lot about each of us in the Bible. He says we’re worth the death of His only son, that we’re capable of carrying out great adventures and missions, that we are more than conquerors, that we can cast our worries on Him instead of being weighed down by them. Are we properly believing what He says? Are we following Abram’s example and claiming the rich rewards and beautiful destiny that comes along with simply believing what God says to us? Pray about any ways in which you aren’t carrying this out, because you’re denying yourself so much of the beauty that makes our relationship with God so special.
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That’s it for today. I hope everyone is doing great and that this week is treating you well so far. The end of the year is a great time to get intentional about making sure your life is aligned with God’s will. I’m so excited to finish out 2018 and move into the powerful promises of 2019. I love all of you!

If you’ve got a prayer request or just need someone to talk to, please feel free to email me at freejenkins@gmail.com

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