Growing with God: A daily devotion with Tonia Slimm.
Genesis 15:8-9 (NIV)
But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?” So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.”
Genesis 15:8-9 (MSG)
Abram said, “Master God, how am I to know this, that it will all be mine?” God said, “Bring me a heifer, a goat, and a ram, each three years old, and a dove and a young pigeon.”
“But Abram said, “Lord God, by what [proof] will I know that I will inherit it?” So God said to him, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” -AMPLIFIED
Yesterday we took a look at Abram and God’s various promises to him. Today I specifically want to look at Abram’s questioning of God. Let us address this question; “Is it wrong to question God?” Was Abram showing a lack of trust and faith by questioning God’s promise to him?
John Wesley made note of Abram’s questioning of God; saying: “This did not proceed from distrust of God’s power or promise, but he desired this, 1. For the strengthening of his own faith. He believed, Genesis 15:6, but here he prays, Lord help me against my unbelief, Now, he believed, but he desired a sign, to be treasured up against an hour of temptation. 2. For the ratifying of the promise to his posterity, that they also might believe it.” -John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes
Looking at Scripture we can glean a few indications of how God responded. First, we see that God was NOT angry with Abram for asking for confirmation. We can see this in verse 9; God did not respond with anger, but with instructions to bring about His confirmation. God was going to give Abram a sign by which Abram would know that He was quite capable of doing anything that He said He would do.
In obedience we see Abram doing exactly as the Lord had commanded him to do. We then we see God do something strange, peculiar and wonderful all at the same time. Scripture tells us this part of His-story:
“When the sun was setting, a deep sleep overcame Abram; and a horror (terror, shuddering fear, nightmare) of great darkness overcame him. God said to Abram, “Know for sure that your descendants will be strangers [living temporarily] in a land (Egypt) that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years. But on that nation whom your descendants will serve I will bring judgment, and afterward they will come out [of that land] with great possessions. As for you, you shall [die and] go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. Then in the fourth generation your descendants shall return here [to Canaan, the land of promise], for the wickedness and guilt of the Amorites is not yet complete (finished).” When the sun had gone down and a [deep] darkness had come, there appeared a smoking brazier and a flaming torch which passed between the [divided] pieces [of the animals]. On the same day the Lord made a covenant (promise, pledge) with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river Euphrates—[the land of] the Kenites and the Kenizzites and the Kadmonites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Rephaim, the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Girgashites and the Jebusites.” -Genesis 15:12-21 (AMP)
God was not angry at Abram’s request; instead He took advantage of the opportunity to make a covenant with him. Let us be careful that we do not get the wrong idea; we need to clarify that there is a difference between asking God questions and accusing Him of doing something wrong. Be careful lest you fall into a sinful attitude. Remember, God is perfect and He can neither sin nor lie.
Coming to God with questions and concerns is actually a healthy thing; the Psalmists did it often, as well as many others in the Bible. Just be careful to avoid becoming disrespectful to the Almighty, in doing so. Remember too, trust is a vital part of walking with the Lord. We may not understand why things are happening, or when they will happen, but we must trust and have faith that God will bring about all things in His way and in His time. Recognize the fact that He is the Most High and we are His servants.
Father, I know that you are always faithful to your children. I know too, that there is so much I do not understand and I question often. Help me to trust you always; in every situation. I am so glad that you do not become weary in answering all my questions. You are such a loving Father; taking interest in every part of your children’s life. I thank you for being such an understanding Daddy; the “why’s” of your children do not fluster or frustrate you. In fact, you welcome those questions and concerns. This knowledge gives me great peace and joy. Father have I told you lately, you are certainly wonderful!