Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” Genesis 15:4 NIV
I imagine you’ve probably experienced the dull ache of a longing unfulfilled. Life disappoints all of us at some point or another. Some things just hurt worse than others.
Scripture describes the result of those unfulfilled longings in Proverbs 13:12.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
God spoke our opening Scripture to Abraham at a time when his heart ached over a hope that burned within him but hadn’t been realized. He had longed for an heir, and he was starting to have a few doubts about God’ plan for him.
Perhaps you’re familiar with Abraham’s story. The God of glory had appeared to him years before and made a request.
“Leave your country and your people,” God said, “and go to the land I will show you.” So he left . . . Acts 7:3-4
I wonder how many of us would have been willing to give up everything to follow a God no one else believed in or served. Abraham remained completely alone in his allegiance, and yet he left the life he knew to follow the God he had met.
God must have made quite an impression on him.
As is always the case, God’s command to Abraham came with the promise of blessing.
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Not a bad promise! Only Abraham couldn’t quite figure out how it was going to happen. How would he become a great nation when he had no heir? He was already an old man.
In Genesis 15 he begins to voice his concerns to his God. Notice the doubt rising, his heart ailing over having his hope for an heir long deferred.
But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Genesis 15:2-3
Don’t you love the freedom he feels to get honest with God? God loves it too. And in a tender moment, He whispers hope into Abraham’s aching heart.
Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Genesis 15:4-5
Can you imagine it? God tells Abraham, “I want to show you something.” Then he challenges him to count the stars and tells him, “That’s how many offspring I’m giving you. And it won’t be coming through your servant. Your heir will be your own flesh and blood.”
God’s plans for us generally surpass what we can dream up. The problem is, many of us don’t let Him whisper His dreams into our hearts. We set our hearts on our own plans, our own dreams, and expect God to meet them. Then our deferred hope shatters our hearts.
Beloved, let me remind you of a biblical truth on which you and I need to establish our faith.
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. Romans 10:17
The most significant part of Abraham’s story can be summed up from Genesis 15:4.
Then the word of the Lord came to him: . . .
At every turning point in Abraham’s journey, God spoke. And each time, Abraham chose to believe Him.
I wonder if some of us are frustrated because we’re trying to believe God for things He hasn’t spoken over our lives. We’re trying to claim promises because we believe that’s what God should do for us, but we haven’t bothered to ask Him if it’s in His plan.
Beloved, faith comes from hearing. We cannot fully express faith to follow Jesus without seeking Him to hear His Word for our lives.
I encourage you to ask Him, dear one. Perhaps, like Abraham, you’ll receive the word you longed for. If so, hold onto His promise with both hands until you see it come to pass.
Or perhaps you’ll discover that the hope you’ve held onto isn’t part of His plan for your life. If so, He wants to minister to your wounded heart and turn your attention to the blessing He has set aside for you.
In case you’re wondering, you won’t have to worry if you’ll like the blessing. It will be a perfect fit for you because it’s what you were made for. And your soul will sing with elation that far surpasses what would have come from what you once hoped for.
You may even discover what Abraham did about the God you serve.
“. . . I am . . . your very great reward.” Genesis 15:1