Genesis 15:1-6

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. Genesis 15:1-6

No question about it, some people are just born visionaries. They see the future in their mind’s eye and go for it. The most effective visionaries bring other people along for the ride, knowing that nothing worth accomplishing can be accomplished alone.

Elon Musk gets many of today’s visionary headlines. His stated purpose is to change the world, to alter the course of humanity, by leveraging advances in electric power, space travel, and self-driving cars. He is the latest in a long line of people with great ideas and the capacity to bring them to life.

But that is not the story of Abraham and Sarah. They are not portrayed in the Bible as visionaries. Just the opposite in fact. There is nothing in the story of Abraham that suggests that he was one step ahead of everyone else. At best, he just took one step at a time. And Sarah laughed at the idea that God would use her to bless the world with the birth of a child.

The only visionary in the story of Abraham and Sarah is God. God implants God’s vision into the life story of Abraham. And what does Abraham do? Abraham believes God. Abraham is remembered then, not for the greatness of his vision, but for the willingness not only to believe but to follow. And that, says Genesis, is “righteousness.”

Such righteousness is not a word game. It isn’t as simple as verbal commitment, as saying the right words in the right way, as signing on the dotted line of a doctrinal statement. There is no separation between Abraham’s willingness to take God’s at God’s word and take step after step into God’s preferred future.

I admire visionaries. We all do. They might irritate us or impress us or challenge our assumptions. We might be jealous or even covetous of them. The world needs visionaries. But that needs to be qualified – for there will always be visionaries with dark, self-serving, selfish visions that are dangerous.

Few of us are anything like Elon Musk. Few of us will even be able to afford one of his fancy cars, fewer still will get to ride to space in one of his rockets. But all of us, any of us, at any time, can live in the faith of Abraham. We can trust that God holds our future in God’s hands and that trusting that is as simple as actually doing the next right thing, every time, to the best of our ability.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, lead on. Light a path before us in the humblest tasks of our day. Guide us as we do our daily work, as we touch the lives of others and in turn are blessed as well by others. As faith becomes action, may your will be done. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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One Response to “Genesis 15:1-6”

  1. Carolee Says:

    This reminds me that God is in control. It also brings to mind the lyrics of the song, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”.

    “He’s got the itty bitty baby in His hands…., He’s got you and me brother in His hands…., He’s got you and me sister in His hands….
    He’s got the whole world in His hands.

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