When It Doesn’t Make Sense
Yael Eckstein | June 22, 2023
He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. — Genesis 15:5-6
In Judaism, faith is more a verb; it is something that we do, rather than something we have. These devotions explore the idea of faith as living out our lives in a way that reflects our belief and trust in God. Enjoy!
Abraham, of course, is the father of our faith—for both Christians and Jews. He was the first to recognize the one true God, which in that time of polytheistic worship was a huge departure. Throughout his life, Abraham had to rely on this foundational faith, as God repeatedly kept him confused and in the dark about His plans.
First, God told Abraham to go to the land He would show him. Then, almost immediately, we read of a famine that forced Abraham to leave that land. God told Abraham he would become a great nation, but Abraham and his wife remained childless. When Abraham eventually had a child with Hagar, he naturally thought that this would be the child who would inherit the covenant. But he was wrong.
Abraham tried to understand God, but God kept surprising him. When God told Abraham that his children would become a great nation, he and his wife Sarah were well past childbearing age. So naturally, Abraham thought God meant that his servant Eliezer would inherit these promises.
When It Doesn’t Make Sense
Wrong again! We read in the Book of Genesis, “Then the word of the LORD came to him: ‘This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.’ He took him outside and said, ‘Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (15:4-6).
How are we to understand the end of this passage. Why does it say that Abraham’s belief in God was “credited to him as righteousness”? Faith in God is certainly admirable, but this phrase is unusual. What exactly was special about this particular moment of faith?
The Jewish sages explain that Abraham’s faith in this moment was the first time that he was asked to have faith in something that was impossible by the rules of nature. As we mentioned, Abraham and Sarah were well past childbearing years. They couldn’t produce a child even in their most fertile years. How were they going to have a child now? God’s promise didn’t make rational sense, and yet, Abraham believed. Abraham had faith that surpassed common sense.
Life can be confusing. We don’t see God’s plan. But we must take a lesson from Abraham and have faith in God, even when it doesn’t make sense.
Are you dealing with a problem that seems unsolvable? Do you wonder what God is doing and why? Keep the faith! Let God know you trust Him even as you don’t see the plan.