And He took him outside and said, "Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be." Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.(Genesis 15:5-6 NASB)
What did Abraham actually believe God for? anonymous
This, my dear friend, is an EXCELLENT question. I have a feeling that most have wondered the same thing. Let's face it, God tells him to look at the stars and count them if he can ... and that this is how his descendants will be. And then he believed God. hmmm. There is a book called, "The Gospel in the Stars" (or something like that), and the author suggests that Abraham saw the unfolding story of redemption in the constellations. At my Bible College years ago, the author came and presented quite a case. The names of the constellations and the names of some of the stars and the interaction between the characters in the sky as told by this guy made sense. I don't necessarily doubt the validity of how what we see in the night sky tells an incredible story ... for it may be true, but I don't think this is what Abraham saw, nor what he believed. I tell you of this for a reason. If you had been there in the audience you would have heard most people say things like, "I always wondered what it was that Abraham believed!" The fact that most believers (including teachers) don't know what happened between Abraham and God is one of the main points he opened up with. So, do you still think your question reveals that you don't know what everybody else knows? :) Remember that in Genesis 12, God first called Abram out of his country and away from his own people. It was then that He declared to Abram that He would give he AND his descendants the land He was calling them to. But there was a slight problem: Abram was 75 and without children. Somehow, it didn't seem to be an issue with God. So Abram went where God told him to go. A few years had passed by the time the Genesis 15 story took place. Abram flat out asks God how this thing is going to work since he has this slight problem of no heir. God assures him that an heir will come out of his own body. So, what transpired with Abram? A miracle. After years of wondering, worrying, being afraid and feeling as if he had somehow failed to produce this child that God had spoken of, Abram now looks into the sky at the request ... and he believes in GOD. He didn't even think it possible before this moment. I'm sure he had asked Sarai many, many times if she was with child, and each time it was always the same. Not yet. He faced the impossibility of his own inability and at the word of God he LOOKED ... and BELIEVED God. He believed in God. The God of the impossible. The God who declares what will be. The God who gives life to the dead. I don't think he would have been able to write a very good account of WHAT he believed, for it was IN WHOM HE BELIEVED that is written of in this story. Remember Paul's statement:
For I know WHOM I have believed and I am convinced that HE is able to guard what I have entrusted to HIM until that day.2 Timothy 1:12
This was the miracle that took place. It might satisfy our desire to know the specifics of WHAT and HOW, but it turns out that that is not the issue. See, it wasn't believing a particular truth or promise, but it was believing in GOD. The belief didn't bring the righteousness, but God did. It was through faith, that is to say, through the lack of Abram's doing anything. To believe against one's nature and mindset is a miraculous response to God's initiative, wouldn't you say?