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Of Prayer and Dust and Stars

Today's Devotional

Read: Genesis 15:1–6 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 37–39; Acts 26

Look up at the sky and count the stars. Genesis 15:5

Lara and Dave desperately wanted a baby, but their physician told them they were unable to have one. Lara confided to a friend: “I found myself having some very honest talks with God.” But it was after one of those “talks” that she and Dave spoke to their pastor, who told them about an adoption ministry at their church. A year later they were blessed with an adopted baby boy.

In Genesis 15, the Bible tells of another honest conversation—this one between Abram and God. God had told him, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am . . . your very great reward” (v. 1). But Abram, uncertain of God’s promises about his future, answered candidly: “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless?” (v. 2).

Earlier God had promised Abram, “I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth” (13:16). Now Abram—in a very human moment—reminded God of that. But note God’s response: He assured Abram by telling him to look up and “count the stars—if indeed you can,” indicating his descendants would be beyond numbering (15:5).

How good is God, not only to allow such candid prayer but also to gently reassure Abram! Later, God would change his name to Abraham (“father of many”). Like Abraham, you and I can openly share our hearts with Him and know that we can trust Him to do what’s best for us and others.

How do you think Abraham felt when God encouraged Him in such a difficult moment? What candid conversation do you need to have with God today?

Loving heavenly Father, thank You for caring about even the most intimate details of my life. Help me to stay close to You in prayer today.


Abram was in Ur when God called him to go to Canaan (Genesis 15:7; Acts 7:2–4). God promised Abram a new land, numerous descendants, and great blessings (Genesis 12:1–3). At age seventy-five, Abram arrived in Canaan (vv. 4–6). After he parted ways with Lot, God reiterated His promises of property and posterity (13:14–17). Some years later (Abraham was probably in his early eighties, since Ishmael was born when he was eighty-six, 16:16), God incorporated these promises into a formal covenant (15:5–7). Since his wife Sarai was barren, and Abram remained childless, this was an impossible promise (11:30; 15:2). That “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (15:6) is the first expression of the doctrine of justification by faith in the Bible. Paul quoted Genesis 15:6 to show that even Abraham was justified by faith (Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6; see also James 2:23).

By |2021-07-25T09:06:04-04:00July 25th, 2021|
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