And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if you be able to number them…
Scarcely any event of the Old Testament is more frequently celebrated than this, and made the subject of more lengthy comment. Abraham believed God; and it was counted unto him for righteousness. It is a story as beautiful as it is blessed, if we can but tell it as it should be told. Let us listen, longing that Abraham's faith may be ours. "After these things the word of the Lord came upon Abram in a vision, saying" — So it ever begins. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." Do not let us begin to think of Abraham's advantage in the vision. We have the Word of God as he never had it, or could have it. Above all, we have the Word made flesh, the Only-Begotten, full of truth and grace. A thousand precious promises ever wait to welcome us, and pledge to us the blessing of our God. And it is from the Word that faith springs. "Fear not, Abram." Abram was fearing and fretting. And well he might. "I am thy shield, come in under My presence, I will screen thee, and I will be thy portion, thy reward exceeding great." Thus God draws His mournful child to Himself that He may comfort him. I am. What God is, is our blessedness. To know Him is rest; to know Him is to rejoice. "And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt Thou give me, seeing I go childless?" Give thee indeed, Abraham! Surely thou art forgetting how much He has given thee. Has He not given thee already more than enough? Wealth does but leave me poor indeed; lands and fame yield no comfort if He be not mine! O blessed longing, O holy discontent, to find no rest, no satisfaction, except in Christ! No complaint is so welcome to our God as that which comes from a longing for Christ. Then comes the promise of a son distinct and assured. And not spoken only, but God led him forth and bade him look into the heavens. "And Abraham believed in the Lord." Unbelief has plenty of ground for the sole of its foot, and might very well have said: My Lord, that is impossible. Unbelief might have whispered again: "I do not see hew it can be?" Unbelief makes much of that: "I do not see how it can be." But what of that? Are there not ten thousand things which I have not sense enough to understand, but which I am glad to be sure of for all that! Of all follies the supreme folly is unbelief. Abraham listened, and God spake. Abraham looked, and all about him was the pledge and measure of this promise: "And Abraham believed in the Lord." If God had said it should be, why of course it must be — must be. There is no room for doubt. For thee and me there is a vision brighter than that Syrian sky and the glory of the heavens. We see Jesus. To be like Him — is our high colling and the glorious promise of God. What shall we say? Shall we look at ourselves, at our failings, at our folly? Shall we go through the list of our hindrances and difficulties? Shall we begin to argue about the possibility of it all? Or shall we boldly take hold of the Almighty power of God and rest in the assurance of the word that cannot be broken? "The servant shall be as his Lord." See further. The impossibility was God's possibility. The relation of Abraham to the Messiah was not of nature, but by a new creation, a resurrection. So then for us here is the great secret of the blessed life: It is an utter and absolute surrender of ourselves to God for the fulfilment of His purposes; and then an abiding confidence in Him that He will assuredly fulfil the word "wherein He hath caused us to hope."
(M. G. Pearse.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.