How do you know it was God?

If you were to ask me to zoom in on one crystalline moment in history when hope was born for you and me, it has to be when God spoke to an elderly man named Abram, renamed him Abraham because he was going to father a great nation. God made a promise to Abraham that, “In you, all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

Author Louis Meads beautifully re-imagines the scene from Genesis 12. “Sometime, in the dead of night perhaps, Abraham heard a voice. Heard it with an inner ear that no sound waves ever touched, but heard it with the clarity that no one who heard it could ever question. ‘Go,’ the voice said. ‘Take Sarah and go.’ ‘Go where?’ ‘Never mind. You’ll find out when you get there.’ ‘But why?’ ‘Because I’ve chosen you to be the father of a new nation that will bless all the peoples of all the world.’”

Abraham, as far as we know, had never heard that voice before. The voice could have been no more than a rumble from his own soul. Abraham knew it was a real voice and he knew whose voice it was. How did he know that he knew?

I’ve sometimes wondered what Sarah was thinking, when she woke up before dawn and found her husband bustling about in the shadows with his foremen, loading down his pack animals, getting his flocks arranged for a long trek across the fertile crescent to the other side of his world. “What in the world are you up to, my husband?” “Packing, as you can see.” “Where are we going?” “I don’t know.” “But why are we going?” “He told me to.” “Who’s he?” “God.” “How do you know it was God?” “He spoke to me in a dream.” “Perhaps my husband only dreamed that God spoke to him.” “Good wife, when God talks to you, you know that it’s God who is talking to you.”

So that same morning, Abraham led a compliant but worried Sarah by the hand and walked with her into the wild desert, toward a place they could barely imagine, and into a future they could not at all control. Thus began the odyssey of hope for the father and mother of all who put their hope in God. Thus began the odyssey of hope for the father and mother of all who put their hope in God. In these

 God told Abraham that he was going to bring Messiah to earth through Abraham’s seed. And that is the hope that ignited the children of Israel. It is also the hope that unites you and me in God, because our Messiah, Jesus Christ, is alive and today living in our hearts.