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Honest emotions.

Genesis 15:1–8

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

And he said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.” But he said, “O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?”

God promises to give Abram a son in his old age and countless descendants. Abram believes him, and this is credited to him as righteousness. This is the key act of faith that made Abram (Abraham) the father of faith. He doesn’t argue or ask how. He just believes.

Then God makes another promise—“This land is your land.” Now Abram wants to see proof. “O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?”

Seriously? What’s your problem? Surely, if God can give you children at this age, anything else is a piece of cake. What are you thinking?

He’s not thinking; he’s feeling. Abram has been hoping and praying for a son and when God says that he’s going to grant Abram his heart’s desire, it all makes sense. Yet when God tells Abram that this land is his land, he doesn’t know what to make of it.

Abram is just being a normal guy. Sure, he’s the father of faith, and he can raise an army that can defeat an alliance of kings, but his fears and concerns still drive him.

Abram isn’t done growing.

As we’ll soon see, Abrams request for proof doesn’t trigger God’s wrath. That’s interesting because Abram isn’t asking how this will happen; he’s questioning God’s veracity. That’s extreme.

But at least there’s nothing phony in what Abram is asking. He’s not pretending to be perfect; he’s just being Abram, and he’s struggling to believe part of God’s promise.

There’s a great lesson in this. Don’t be afraid of your emotions; they’re not the essence of what sin is. Anger, doubt, confusion, and almost anything else are okay if that’s really how you feel and you need God’s help dealing with it. Sincere acknowledgement of weakness takes prayer to the next level.

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” — Mark 9:24

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These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. Saturdays' by Matt Richardson. Subscribe here:

The weekly study guides, which include questions for discussion or meditation, are here:

Scripture taken from the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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