I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. (Gen. 13:16 NIV)
He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” (Gen. 15:5 NIV)
I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. (Gen. 22:17 NIV)



God uses three similes to describe his ability to do the impossible: stars, dust and sand. Abraham is seventy-five when he is first called by God in Genesis twelve. He is one hundred when he finally fathers Isaac in Genesis twenty-one.  When he dies at one hundred seventy-five in Genesis twenty-five, his descendants hardly fill a family tree. Yet God promises that what’s going to happen will be as numerous as stars, dust and sand. And the promise comes true. God fulfills the impossible. Every time Abraham sees stars, dust or sand, he is reminded of the way in which God is going to work the impossible in and through him.

Just as the rainbow is a portrait of God’s passion for us (Gen. 9), so the stars, dust and sand stand as signs of God’s strength for us. They recall for us God’s power to do the impossible through Abraham. They stand as a sign of God’s strength to do the impossible even today for us.


Father, thank you for possessing a power greater than I can fathom. Help me to trust in that power. Let the stars, dust and sand remind me of that power today. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Take time to sit under the stars or on a beach, or to gaze at pictures of stars or a beach. Imagine each star. Imagine each grain of sand. Consider how countless their numbers are. Now, bring to mind some problem you are facing. Ask God to use his immense power to address that problem, just as he did in Abraham’s life.

Chris Altrock.jpeg

Chris Altrock

Chris is a spiritual director, the author of seven books, a father to Jordan and Jacob, a husband to Kendra, and has preached for the Highland Church of Christ in Memphis, Tennessee since 1998.

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