(Genesis 12.1-5, Genesis 15.1-5)
Many years after the time of Noah there was a man named Abram.
Abram was a good man who owned many sheep and cattle. He lived with his wife Sarai in the land of Haran. But he had no children.
One day, God came to Abram. Whether it was in a vision, or in a dream we don't know for sure. But God did come to Abram and He said to him,
“Abram! I want you to pack up all your things and leave your home!
“I want you to go to the land I will give you. I promise that I will bless you, and make your family great. I will be with you in all you do, and because of you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
Wow! That was quite a promise!
But a scary one too. It meant that Abram would have to leave the place he knew and go to a place he didn't know. He would have to trust God that everything would be okay.
But that's just what Abram did.
Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother Lot. They packed up everything they owned in the land of Haran and moved to the land of Canaan - that was the land that God was going to lead him to. It couldn't have been an easy move to make. Abram was 75 years old when God told him to pack up everything he owned and leave his home - and if you look at a map, Canaan is a long way away from Haran!
...many years later, Abram was resting in his tent after a hard day’s work. People lived in tents back in those days because they had to move from place to place to find food for their many sheep and cattle.
It was a night like any other night... until God appeared.
This must have been a bit of a surprise! And maybe more than a little bit scary.
But God said to Abram, “Do not be afraid! I am your defender! I promise that I will give you a great reward.”
But Abram said, “What kind of reward? I don't even have any children!”
And then God took Abram out beneath the starry sky. “Look up at the stars in the sky,” God said. “You will have a son. He will have children, and his children will have children, and they will have more children, and one day they will be as many as the stars in the sky.”
Abram said, "How can this be? I am old!"
But God had made a promise to Abram. God promised Abram that he would have children, and from him a great nation would come. God promised that they would live in the land that God had given them. And God promised that because of Abram all people on earth would be blessed.
And God always keeps his promises.
Abram believed God's promise, and Abram's faith pleased God. It was Abram's faith in God and his promise that made things right between Abram and God. That is an important thing to remember!
Before God even started to make the world, he had a plan. His plan is for us to know how good he is, and how much he loves us, and that one day we will come to live with him forever in heaven.
This was the beginning of God’s plan...
All pictures and story © Paul Dallgas-Frey