Listening for God’s Promise

I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. -Genesis 13:16

Dear members and friends,

At the time when God told Abraham, “I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth,” he was 75 or 80 years old and his wife Sarah was near 70 and they had no children. But Abraham believed the promise of God without any doubt. Growing up in a Christian community in Korea, I often heard people use the example of Abraham as a measure for how faithful we should be. However, it is one thing to believe in God as a wish master who would fulfill any and all wishes we pray for, but it is an entirely different thing to believe in the promise that God has made to us. In my understanding, the Bible is very keen about the difference between what people desire to have and what God promises the people. The difference is that one group of people come to church and to God to get what they desire to have, while the other group of people come to listen to what they need to do to be of service.

Abraham believed the promise of God but not because he thought it to be fully possible nor because it aligned with his desires. Abraham believed simply because he listened deeply to the words of his God and believed that the promise would be fulfilled in its own time. More importantly, the seeming impossibility of God’s promise may not have been important to Abraham when the promise was made. In reading the story of Abraham, I am amazed not so much by his faithfulness, but by his spiritual ability to not only listen to the words of God directly, but also experience the divine presence with such certainty! According to all religious and spiritual studies that I have cultivated, human pride and ego must completely disappear in order for the divine to be visibly present to a human mind.

For this week, I invite you all to reflect upon the spiritual integrity of Abraham.

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee