The Lord renews his covenant promise to Abram.
Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.”
But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.”
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.” 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!”
And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.
God told Abram, “Do not be afraid.” Why would Abram be afraid? Perhaps he feared revenge from the kings he had just defeated (Genesis 14:15). God gave him two reasons for courage: (1) He promised to protect Abram, and (2) he promised a great reward to Abram.
Abram was not promised wealth or fame; he already had that. Instead, God promised descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky or the grains of sand on the seashore (Genesis 22:17), too numerous to count. Just when Abram was despairing of ever having an heir, God promised descendants too numerous to imagine. God’s blessings are beyond our imaginations!
Abram had been demonstrating his faith in God through his actions. It was his faith in the Lord that made Abram right with God, not his actions (Romans 4:1-5). His actions were the product of his faith. We, too, can have a right relationship with God by trusting him. Outward actions without faith—church attendance, prayer, good deeds—will not by themselves make us right with God. A right relationship is based on faith—the trust that God is who he says he is and does what he says he will do. Right actions will follow naturally as by-products.
When you fear what lies ahead, remember that God promises to stay with you through difficult times and that he has promised you great blessings. Thank God for his protection and his promises, and ask him to remove your fears about the future.