He counts the number of the stars;
He calls them all by name. Psalm 147:4 (NKJV)
Remember the story of Abraham, how God told him to count the stars? This is one of my favorite Sunday school stories for preschoolers. Children have no trouble believing God’s promise that Abraham will have many kids. They love to sing, “Father Abraham, had several sons…” with arms and legs going in every direction. And there are so many fun star crafts we can make to remind us of God’s promise. But as the years go by, I realize how much more there is to this story. This is not just for preschoolers, this is the HISTORY of God’s people, His chosen nation, the Israelites. We who are Christians are counted as having come from Abraham’s seed, because we have faith like Abraham. And the best news is we get to share in God’s promise to Abraham!
Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works
Which You have done;
And Your thoughts toward us
Cannot be recounted to You in order;
If I would declare and speak of them,
They are more than can be numbered. Psalm 40:5 (NKJV)
We first meet Abraham (who was originally called Abrahm) in Genesis 11 with Noah’s family tree. Abraham is listed as a descendent of Noah’s son Shem (Gen. 11:27). In Genesis 12 we get the first glimpse of God’s promise to Abraham, when God commanded…
…”Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-2 (NKJV)
In Genesis 15, God gave Abraham the Promise again…
Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Genesis 15:5 (NKJV)
We must remember that this promise came when Abraham had no children! How could God make him have so many descendants? Abraham didn’t question God, he only believed. And so did his wife, Sarah. For we read in Hebrews 11…
By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. Hebrews 11:11-12 (NKJV)
Abraham couldn’t count all the stars for it would be like counting all the grains of sand on the seashore. If we continue reading in our Bibles, we learn how Abraham and Sarah begot Isaac (one son) in their old age (Gen. 21). Isaac and Rebekah begot two sons, Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:24-33). Jacob and his wives begot twelves sons (Gen. 35:22-26). And by the time Jacob was an old man, there were over 70 family members who went with him to Egypt (Gen. 45:27). 430 years later, the Israelites had become over 2,000,000 people. That’s 603,500 men age 20 and older, plus their wives, children, and the Levites (Exodus 12:40, Numbers 1:46). Just as Abraham could not imagine or count this when he had no children, neither can we count all the blessings God gives to us.
The Lord your God has multiplied you, and here you are today, as the stars of heaven in multitude. Deuteronomy 1:10 (NKJV)
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand. Psalm 139:17-18 (NKJV)
Today’s TEA CUPP: Read about the day God promised Abraham many children in Genesis 15. If you’d like to read even more, Stephen gave a stunning recap of Abraham’s story and Israel’s history in Acts 7, and Psalm 105 is also a beautiful recount. With the promise, Abraham also received a vision of the dark days in Egypt and the rescue of God’s people. We are part of that promise! God has rescued us from our dark days of sin and is bringing us to the Promised Land. Hallelujah! Oh, dear one, our blessings, like Abraham’s, are as many as the stars! How many can you count and thank Jesus for today?
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name. Luke 1:49 (NKJV)
Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ Exodus 32:13 (NKJV)
You who were as numerous as the stars in the sky will be left but few in number, because you did not obey the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 28:62 (NKJV)
For He remembered His holy promise,
And Abraham His servant.
He brought out His people with joy,
His chosen ones with gladness.
He gave them the lands of the Gentiles,
And they inherited the labor of the nations,
That they might observe His statutes
And keep His laws. Praise the Lord! Psalm 105:42-45 (NKJV)
You have dealt well with Your servant,
O Lord, according to Your word. Psalm 119:65 (NKJV)
As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me. Jeremiah 33:22 (NKJV)
P.S. I didn’t plan for this devotion to run right before the 4th of July weekend, but God must have planned it! As you see the stars in our flag, remember God’s promise to Abraham and thank Him for the blessings of living in the USA. As you go camping, look up at the summer night sky and see if you can count the stars. Thank God for every star and blessing.
Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.