"Look up at the heavens and count the stars,
If indeed you can count them.
Then he said to him, so shall your offspring be…"
This verse can be found in Genesis 15 v 5 and is this amazing moment in time when Abram is in the midst of a penultimate moment with The Lord. In the previous chapter Abram had just been in the throws of battles with a whole bunch of kings, and has an encounter with Melchizedek, The King of Righteousness. As a side note, it's actually the first time in scripture we see a moment of gift giving, shown in the tithe he gives this king. If you look at the language in Genesis 14 I have it on good authority that the language in itself is military and the battles were real. Abram and Sarai, his wife had been on this crazy journey of tests and choices and ultimately learning how to leave their country, father's house and family and to go to a land that God would cause them to see (Genesis 12). This moment in time is full of promise, covenant and really a deep sense of what it means to see as God sees, after all, isn't that the potential of humanity in a nutshell, to learn to see AS God sees?
Goodness, there is so much I could say around the theme of seeing in scripture; from day one in creation we are learning the anatomy of God's sight. That His Spirit hovering, and waters, and a light that is not made by a sun, moon and stars, are in essence the Existing One, the creator God in the beginning. That as scripture unfolds we then learn that Gods seeing is like hearing and hearing is like seeing and that God is a verb being life through it all. It's a spectacular dance.
As I read the scripture in Genesis 15, I was reminded of a conversation I had with a gentleman who I had met in a networking group. He was telling me some of his story and how he was a writer and loved helping people expand the communications of their businesses or whatever it was they were working on. He told me that things hadn't always been that way and he had a realization that lead to a slow turn a number of years ago. He was writing for a company that ultimately was about growing the money that people had invested from their pensions. He realized that there wasn't anyone at the end of the investment in real time, no person he could call up and see how they were doing and hear their actual story. He described it as writing for "numbers in the sky." I was so intrigued by how he named it. As he slowly turned he was invited into a new career working for a school as a communications director. I said, "Wow, it's like you went from writing for the numbers in the sky to the feet on the ground."
My friend's story reminded me of Genesis 15 v 5. A moment in time which was full of eternal promise and went far beyond any military effort or victory. It got right to the heart of things. Abram stepped outside of his tent and was told to look up. Feet on the ground and eyes to the skies. God asks him to count the stars and that this would number his offspring (actually the word for offspring is "seed" in the original Hebrew). The stars in the sky were like scattered seeds ultimately from the story of Abram's actual, feet on the ground, walk into his personal and vulnerable experience, of faithfulness.
In just a few verses God will say to Abram, "Walk before me and be blameles." There it was, the feet on the ground again. The Hebrew even goes as far as to make the point that this was written in the reflexive, meaning it reads a little more like this, "Walk yourself before me….", a hint to an intentional and faithfully conscious kind of walking. This results in a forever changed moment, and this is shown in the beautiful transformation where God changes Abram and Sarai's names to Abraham and Sarah. This letter addition of "H", a letter that represents the very breath and name of God entering their names as another sign to God's faithfulness in their lives. Of their story in itself being of great value, and as we know today, having great longevity.
This blog has come on an interesting day for the USA. I am over here in the UK and writing with the weight of an election deeply on my heart in prayer. There is something in this covenantal moment for Abraham and Sarah that I hope we can see in what I have been given to write. I believe that there is an opportunity to see as God sees. I believe that God shows us here and in the story that unfolded in my friend's life that first there is a big difference in focussing on the numbers in the skies and the stars in the skies. This only occurred to me as I started to write this blog. There is a subtle nuance in the comparison of the story of Abram and the story of my friend. The difference between the word "numbers" and "stars." The language in the Hebrew even gifts us with it and can be found in day four of creation in Genesis 1. That the word for "stars" on day four hints to the word for "stories" and in my opinion from this connection, stories can either be written from and in sacred connection with creator God, or they can be written without connection or direction even.
There is that common saying, "make your story count," and I guess this combines the idea perfectly. That faithfulness is not an opinion poll, its feet on the ground, living and breathing your story with your eyes to the skies. It's the result of a battles that lead to encounters with the King of Righteousness and involves a covenantal God who desires connection with His humanity, as a Father, Mother and King. So on this day of the US general election, I pray that we will remember whose we are and that we are part of the inheritance, the seed of faithfulness with our feet on the ground and a God beckoning us into knowing what covenant love and faithfulness truly is.