Our devotional series based on the book Climbing with Abraham by David Ramos continues. Before our holiday break, we looked at Abraham's frustration with God: that God seemed to be delaying the fulfillment of what was promised. Our reminder was that God has a specific plan for us and knows when the time is right.
Week 9: Read Genesis 15:7-21 (Building Altars)
"Abraham begins this section with another question for God: How can I know? This time he is referring to the promise of inheriting the Promised Land. God answers by having Abraham prepare a sacrifice. Once he does so, the Lord appears with the imagery of fire and smoke and solidifies his promise to Abraham as a covenant.
One important takeaway in these verses is the physical reminder of God's promises. Abraham prepares a physical sacrifice and literally sees the spirit of God interact with it .." Ramos makes the comment that somewhere along the way, many of us have been convinced that physical reminders of God's promises (or even asking for them) show a lack of faith. That may be true, but in our "practical" and "enlightened" world, I wonder whether we've come to disbelieve in them entirely or fail to recognize them from God even when we see them. Time and time again in the Bible shows us men and women building altars as remembrance for something God did in their lives.
Do you have any "altars" that you have built. Ramos says that he has two. "First, a twenty-dollar bill tucked near the bottom of [his] dresser drawer as a reminder that God always provides. Second, a war-torn Bible with the cover missing that has this quote scribbled on its front page: 'A Bible that's falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn't' - Charles H. Spurgeon."
Ramos challenges us to take time today to find or make something that will act as a physical reminder of God's faithfulness.
Takeaway from today's lesson: It's okay to ask God, How can I know? Faith doesn't have to be invisible - you can ask for tangible signs. But human memory is also fleeting. A sign that is received is easily forgotten when the questions and doubts return. An "altar" is a physical reminder that God is faithful.
Prayer: God, thank you for your promises. Please encourage my faith today with something tangible, and help me be open to see that sign when it comes. Amen.