After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.” But the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.” He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.
On a night when you’re far from city lights and the sky is cloudless, the view is enough to stop you in your tracks. Plum-black backdrop, speckled with a thousand pinpricks of light. And the longer you stare, the more those thousand multiply into a thousand thousands. The dimmest distant stars reveal themselves.
That’s what Abraham saw. He couldn’t count them. He might have tried, curious about exactly how many descendants God was promising him. But you know how it goes—as you try to focus on one star, the rest go shimmery, and you lose count.
Childless Abraham, being promised not just one son, but a multitude of descendants.
And the really magnificent thing is that those descendants aren’t limited to the blood relatives of Abraham. The reason his descendants would be as numerous as the stars is that we’re among them, too. In Christ, we were grafted into the family tree. A tree that includes Adam and Eve, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Jesse and David, and Jesus himself. We are those stars. We are part of the story, too.
Prayer: God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, thank you for grafting me into your family tree. Thank you for inviting me into the covenant promise. Help me reflect the family name well. Amen.