What do you do when you meet challenges, difficulties, and obstacles in life? If you’re like me, your tendency is to try harder rather than trust harder. We trust our own minds and might rather than God’s. As a pastor and a parent, I’ve fallen into that trap more times than I’d like to remember. It never ends well, as Abram found out when he trusted in his own mind and might more than God’s. That’s the messy story of Genesis 16. God responds in Genesis 17. Let’s listen to what he says in verses 1-5.


Abram sinned by using his own power to multiply his seed. What were God’s first words to him after this sin? “I am God Almighty, walk before me and be perfect.”

  • God doesn’t ask for our help: See where Abram’s “help” got him.
  • God does ask for our faith: Trust my mind and might, not your own.

Abram falls on his face before God in an admission of his weakness and God’s power. “You are mighty and I am not.”

God doesn’t ask for our help, but he does ask for our faith.

If you were Abram on the ground, you might be wondering, “How can I avoid doing this again? Will God help me to trust him?” God read his mind and gave him three helps.


God gave Abram three reminders to help him believe. Here are two of them. We’ll look at the third tomorrow.

  • God covenanted to multiply Abram: A covenant is more sure and secure than a promise
  • God re-named Abram: Abraham means “father of a multitude.”

Abram’s weakness divided his family, but God’s power multiplied it. This was fulfilled physically in the nation of Israel—Abraham is the father of the nation. This was fulfilled spiritually in the church—Abraham is the father of the faithful (Gal. 3:7,9).

We are weak dividers, but God is the mighty multiplier.


Next time we are tempted to try harder rather than trust harder, let’s fall on our faces and hear God’s reminders. I am mighty and you are not. I am the multiplier and you are not. Let’s give waiting a shot rather than working, trusting rather than trying, faith rather than force, relying rather than running. And watch God proving again that he is mighty and he is the multiplier.

This episode of Living the Bible lines up with Expedition 4: Day 4 in  Exploring the Bible Together: A 52 Week Family Worship Plan and Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids. You can catch up with previous episodes of the Living the Bible podcast here or subscribe on iTunesSpotify, and Google Podcast.