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.”
2 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.3 You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.”
4 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.” 5 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!”
6 And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith. -Genesis 15:1-6
I had a friend who was once described to me as one who never lands. He couldn’t seem to come to a straight-forward conclusion about anything. He wasn’t able to express himself without a bunch of qualifications. He was a highly conflicted individual. And it was difficult to have a conversation with him that felt truly resolved. I was never quite sure where I stood.
Maybe you know someone who is always backfilling. He will make a claim only to offer various qualifications and disclaimers. It’s a sign of insecurity. And sometimes a clue to things less than true. When there are many words, transgression and offense are unavoidable, But he who controls his lips and keeps thoughtful silence is wise (Proverbs 10:19). Jesus says, “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ Anything more comes from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37).
What does it take to land? Is it possible to express yourself in such a manner that your true feelings will be known, yet you don’t overwhelm others? Or is it possible to express your thoughts and feelings without shame or any need to justify?
Abram does this here. And the end result of his encounter with God is remarkable. He expresses his concerns. God reiterates his promises. Abram believes the Lord. And God justifies him. There is no back-filling here. He needs no extra words of explanation. He simply expresses his heart to God and believes what God says.
There are those who say that the idea of justification is meaningless to modern man. That God would declare someone righteous by his grace because of one’s faith is not on many people’s radar. But as far as I’m able to tell, the world is filled with people who are trying to justify themselves. They offer convoluted explanations and excuses. They look for ways to make others look worse than themselves. They ridicule those who don’t agree with them.
A heart settled on God’s goodness, trusting in his promises, and desiring his blessing will find rest and a landing place. We all struggle at one time or another with whether God’s ways are truly good. We sometimes doubt that we can be satisfied with God’s promises. We too often look for ways to fill our hearts with the peace that only God gives. But God calls us back to himself again and again. He offers us a place to land and to be by his grace. We arrive there through faith.
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