But Abram replied, “O Sovereign LORD, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since I don’t have a son, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth.” (Genesis 15:2 NLT)
What good are all your blessings? This seems almost—what? Sacrilegious? Blasphemous? Or is it simply heartfelt honesty with God?
There have been times when I’ve felt like Abram did.
There was something he wanted so much that all the other blessings God had poured out on him seemed worthless to him. It wasn’t that he didn’t appreciate God’s goodness to him, it wasn’t that these things were simply poor in comparison to his greatest desire, it was that as long as he was still without the one thing he desired supremely, he quite honestly felt, “What good is all this?”
There have been times when I, too, have felt: “What good are all your blessings?”
- Sometimes the pain makes the promise hard to see.
- Sometimes the need makes the provision seem like not enough.
- Sometimes the waiting seems too long and the longing too strong to look forward in expectant faith.
Has that ever been true for you?
I think Abram was right to be honest with God about how he felt. God didn’t rebuke or reject him. In fact, God used this encounter with Abram as an opportunity to add new promises to the covenant he had already made with Abram and to allow Abram to grow his faith even stronger.
God added new promises to the covenant…
5 Then the LORD brought Abram outside beneath the night sky and told him, “Look up into the heavens and count the stars if you can. Your descendants will be like that—too many to count!” 6 And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD declared him righteous because of his faith. 7 Then the LORD told him, “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land.” (Genesis 15:5-7 NLT)
God added new challenges to Abram’s faith…
13 Then the LORD told Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, and they will be oppressed as slaves for four hundred years. 14 But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth. 15 (But you will die in peace, at a ripe old age.) 16 After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, when the sin of the Amorites has run its course.” (Genesis 15:13-16 NLT)
God’s new covenant promise to Abram was a double-edged sword. God gave Abram a word of covenant promise that contained both the welcome promise of blessing, and the honest declaration that there would be difficult passages to be traveled to get from the promise to the fulfillment.
And then there is the “wild card” statement that there was another determining factor in the timing of the fulfillment. God said that “the sin of the Amorites had to run its course.” This is a reminder that it’s not all and only about me. Even in God’s covenant blessing and promise for the future, there are factors he is working with that I have no idea about.
If this was true of Abram then, I believe it’s true of me now. There are factors to the equation I am completely unaware of. So my place is simply to believe and trust.
There are two edges to God’s plan and purpose for my life, and to God’s purpose for your life too. There’s the promise of blessing and the promise that there are challenges to be faced along the way.
- Are we willing to hear the hard part as well as the easy part?
- Will we accept the cost as well as the blessing?
Is there something you are facing right now that makes you feel, “Lord, what good are all your blessings when the single greatest desire of my heart remains unfulfilled?”
Are you looking forward in faith to the promise God has made to you, but like Abram, you also see the pain and challenge this promise involves?
I invite you to pray this “Look up” and “Look around” prayer with me…
Father, Just as you took Abram out under the night sky and said, “Look up!” and just as on another occasion you took him up on a high ridge and said, “Look around,” please help me to look up and to look around and to realize that your promise is as good as your word and that your grace is sufficient for the challenges I will face on the journey. I believe your promise and I trust your goodness and your wisdom for my life. Amen!
As always, I’d love to hear from you and I welcome your comments and questions. If you’re reading on the blog, leave a comment below. If you’re reading from the email, click “Reply” and tell me what you’re thinking.