“Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I will give this land.’ And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.”
I read this verse and think about the God who did this. First, He is a spirit and cannot be seen by human eyes, yet He “appeared” to Abram. God, who created the universe and all things, can reveal Himself to His creation. That tells me that He is willing to be known, even to the human race which sins against Him in defiance of His holy nature. It also tells me that He is able to be known, which challenges those who think God is out there somewhere (if He exists at all) and has nothing to do with us.
God also can give whatever He wants to whoever He wants to give it. The land was Canaan. It was filled with people hostile to God and to Abram and his descendants, yet God said it would be theirs. This tells me He can supply all my needs. If He can give a whole country to Israel, He can make sure I get my necessities.
God, by appearing and by giving, also evokes worship. Abram knew nothing of God and yet God came to Him with a revelation of Himself and a great promise. He made a covenant with this man. I can almost hear Abram say, “Who? Me?” as God’s blessing and promises began to sink in.
This still happens. God still makes Himself known and offers gifts to His people. I know this by what the Bible says, and by my own experience. When I think about all that God has promised me, there is no other response but awe and reverence. When I think about the ways He has shown Himself and proven Himself to me, what can I do but worship Him?
The generosity of the Lord covers every part of my life. At its most basic level, He has forgiven my sin and given me new life in Christ. I did nothing to earn or deserve that; it is His freely offered gift. Like the land promised to Abram, this is mine forever.
He is generous in other ways, some material, some to do with relationships and other things in this life. He gives and keeps on giving life and breath and strength for each day, yet the most treasured gifts are eternal. John Piper calls it ‘future grace.’
Yet the gifts or the promises did not change Abram, nor did they change me. It was seeing Him. Knowing God is sufficient, even if He did nothing else. To know Him without receiving anything from Him, is to love Him. As my devotional book says, “Catch a glimpse of Him and you are His forever.”