Low tide, caused by the pull of the moon’s gravity upon the earth, is as predictable as the sunrise. It isn’t as pretty a sight as high tide is. A lot of blight that had been hidden beneath ocean waves is now exposed. The poles holding the dock can now be seen. They aren’t as varnished and clean below as they are above. Sea weed is every where. Old bottles (no messages) and drift wood are stranded on the beach.
Predators have been waiting for low tide. Hungry birds are scarfing up the sea life that didn’t quite make it out with the tide. Crabs that burrow in the sand now find their ocean roof removed… they are vulnerable to curious children and tourist looking for an interesting pet.
Another thing that happens is that the waters that were once so easy to pass become treacherous. A former co-worker in Maryland once went out on a boat off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland. As the tide became low they hit a sand bar and became stuck. After frantically trying to loosen themselves, they eventually had to spend the night in the boat and wait for the ocean tide to come back and release them. It can be embarrassing at low tide.
Well there are low tides in life as well as on the coast. Moments where you kind of loose your footing… as hopes, dreams and resources seems to rush away from you as the waves from the beach. A lot of blight becomes exposed in your life. Predators wait to tempt you at this hour of vulnerability. Areas of your life that were once clear sailing, you now find impossible to pass. You are at ebb tide. You’re left like Otis Redding: “…sittin’ on the dock of the bay, watching the tide roll away.” And with it goes your vitality, your joy, and your peace of mind. Faith could sure comes in handy at Low Tide.
God comes to Abram at the beginning of Genesis 15 and addresses him with: “Do Not Fear, Abram.” What could Abram be fearing? Reprisals from the enemy he has just defeated? Maybe some of the other tribes in the area might be taking notice of him? Perhaps he’s feeling a little weak now… A little more vulnerable?
Sometimes after a victory we are the most vulnerable. Evil in this world will not sit still after you have won a victory. Sometimes events can happen shortly after that make you question your small victory all together.
Genesis 27 continues with Abram complaining to God: “You said that I would become a great nation. But Eliezer of Damascus is going to get everything I have when I die. Was that the plan? I come out here in the middle of nowhere only to die childless, and my wealth goes to someone that doesn’t even know you?
Now remember Abram has, not once, not twice… but three times received a solid promise from the Lord. But those precious promises that once brought him joy seem to mean precious little at low tide. His heart is tired of waiting for the promise. Joy has rushed from him like the waves from the shoreline.
“What are you up to God?”
Do you ever get discouraged?
You’re trying to train up your child and they seem to be choosing the path of the prodigal.
You’re trying to remain honest in your business, but the cut throat competition is eating you alive.
You’re trying to faithfully give to the church, but the car has broken down, the kids needs braces and there is this scary rumor of layoffs at work.
“What are you up to God?”
See what God does for Abram:
1. God speaks to Abram’s fear.
God says: Do Not Be Afraid… I will be your protection and provision. This is the first instance of “Do Not Be Afraid” in the Bible.
2. God speaks to Abram’s discouragement.
God says: You WILL have a son. You WILL have numerous descendants. God then takes Abram to do a little star gazing. Here the Sovereign Lord, who created each celestial body, tells Abram that if He can do that, one child is a piece of cake for Him!
Jeremiah 32:17 reminds us: “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.”
I love the word of the Rich Mullins song “Sometimes by Step”: “Sometimes I think of Abraham, how one star he saw had been lit for me. He was a stranger in this land. And I no less than he. And on this road to righteousness, Sometimes the climb can be so steep, I may falter when I step, but never beyond your reach.”
How did Abram respond to the pep talk from the Lord? Verse 6 says it all: “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”
Nothing changed around him… same barren countryside… same barren Sarai. But Abram’s heart changed right there at ebb tide… and God looked at his faith and called it righteousness.
So… in the midst of your low tide. Do not give up. Do not give in to fear. Instead… go look at the stars. (God lit one of them up in the night sky for Abram that had YOUR name on it.) Display a little righteousness by… against all odds… simply believing!