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He recovered all the spoil, and returned south, considerably disturbed in mind, doubtless, on account of the danger of the times.

At this crisis, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, and comforted him with the assurance...

1 After these things the word of the Yahweh came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

Abram was now eighty-five years old, and he had no child. How then, could the promise made of God at Haran, and repeated at Sichem and Bethel be fulfilled, seeing that he was childless? He was even now an old man, and had concluded to make Eliezer of Damascus his heir; how then could the great, the exceeding great, reward be realized by him?

Prompted by these considerations, but in no wise distrusting God, Abram said...

2 And Abram said, Adonai Yahweh, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?

The reassurance of Yahweh that he should not fear, and that God was his shield and his exceeding great reward, does not seem to have assuaged his concern. In the vast scheme of things he suddenly felt alone, his faith tested. He saw the practical problems in relation to his age, and Sarai his wife, and his endless desert wanderings, and all these difficulties closed in on him.

God was his shield, his protector but what of the exceeding great reward?

"The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward." (Pv.11.18).

Abram cast around for solutions. *

4 And, behold, the word of the Yahweh came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

This was a great draft upon the faith of an old man of upwards of fourscore, with a wife of seventy-five years of age. But it is testified of him, that "against hope he believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, saying, So shall thy seed be.

And not being weak in faith, he considered not his own body afterwards dead, when he was about a hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief: but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that what He had promised, He was also able to perform" (Rom. 4:18-21).

5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

We can picture Abram emerging from his tent and gazing up into the vast vault of heaven and seeing the myriad stars against the blackness of the Middle East night. What a stupendous sight of the Milky Way, each one of those stars a symbol of Yahweh's power and glory of his endless dominions, each one a sun in itself: all the constellations, Orion and Pleaides, the bright star Arcturus (Job 9,9,10, 38.31,32, Amos 5.8).

It is said that there are a hundred billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone, and there are billions of galaxies, all held in their places by the laws of Yahweh, all in constant motion, wheels within wheels, testifying to the omnipotence and omniscience of Ail, possessor of the Heavens and Earth and the puny insignificance of man.

Of course Abram could only see, and number, a minute fraction of the stars of heaven, so that in reality he could not number them. Therefore he is being told that his seed would be a numberless multitude, or a

"great multitude which no man could number" (Rev.7.9),

who would constitute the immortal (palm bearing) multitude of the sealed sons of Israel, or multitudinous seed of Abram, who would be priests for ever (the Olahm) after the order of Melchizadek (Kings of righteousness) (Pslm 110.4).

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handiwork."

Abram would have been totally cognisant of this awesome spectacle heavenly grandeur, and its significance giving silent witness to the plan and purpose of Yahweh to fill this earth with his glory and beautify this planet with a glorious and righteous seed, sprung from the loins of Abram (Mtt.l, Lk.3).

Bro Richard Lister