He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars--if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."
Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
You may be wondering why there are so many devotions for today's blog. It's because I am playing catch-up. On Monday we had to take our daughter in for an emergency surgery and she and I spent the night in the hospital. I am now just getting to my blog and the Jesse Tree devotion. Thankfully, she is fine, we had wonderful medical care and God reminded us all of His goodness and His protection.
In order to get caught up, you can go over briefly, the below devotions for days 3 & 4. If you would like to learn more about the Jesse Tree and some websites on how to make one, go to my first devotion in this series Jesse Tree - what is it? (Day 1 & 2)
Tuesday: The First Sin
Bible Reading: Genesis 3:1-24
(go to Jesse Tree ornaments)
Jesse Tree symbol: forbidden fruit
As a child I would hear this story and think to myself.."I wouldn't have eaten that fruit." It was hard for me to grasp my sinful nature.
It wasn't until I became an adult and a mother that I began to fully grasp my sinful nature and realized that I would have eaten that fruit. The fruit represented willful disobedience to God's commands. I make the same choice Adam and Eve made every time I choose to disobey the Lord because I want do to things my way.
When the devil spoke to Eve, he was trying to get her to doubt God's good intentions towards her: "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden?'" Gen. 3:1. He wanted her to disbelieve God's wisdom. Do we do that today? Do our children?
Do your children question your rules? Do they sometimes think they could find a better way to do something? Do they trust in your wisdom all the time? Unfortunately, the answer is probably no, especially as they grow older. Yet, God has said: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." Ephesians 6:1 and "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord." Colossians 3:20 Discussing this with them may help them to see their sinful tendencies and their need for Jesus.
Wednesday: Noah's Ark
Bible Reading: Genesis 6:11-22, 8:6-12
Jesse Tree Symbol: Dove over water (go to Jesse Tree ornaments)
The story of Noah, the ark, the animals, the flood and the rainbow is one that most children are familiar with. There are many different aspects of this story that can be taught to draw comparisons to the person of Jesus Christ. I would like to highlight just one.
God was greatly disappointed with the entire human race, save one man...Noah. God knew what He planned to do, destroy all living creatures, yet He prepared a way of escape...a door.
"Put a door in the side of the ark" Genesis 6:16 and that was the door that Noah, his family and all the animals passed through. There was no other way in, only one door.
"And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood...And after seven days the floodwaters came on the earth...Then the Lord shut him in." Genesis 7:7, 10, 16. It seems that the door to the ark stayed open for seven days before the Lord shut it. Seven days when those around Noah could have listened to his warnings and entered the ark. But they didn't and they died.
Today a door stands open as well. But this time, that door has been standing open for more that 2,000 years. That door is Jesus Christ.
"I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved," John 10:9. God knew that there would be a second judgment of the earth, but this time by fire. And just as God had Noah build an ark as a means of salvation from the flood, God prepared Himself, in Jesus Christ, as a means of salvation for all mankind.
The Bible makes it clear that we are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Nothing we can do can save us from our sin and its consequence of eternal separation from God. But the Bible also tells us that "If we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in our heart that God has raised Him from the dead, we will be saved" (Romans 10:9). It is “by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
Nothing we can do will save us from our sin—salvation is all of God. Nothing Noah did could save him from the flood unless he followed God's instructions to build the ark and then walked through that door. Just like Noah, our responsibility is to go through the doorway (Jesus), and God will save us.
Thursday: The Promise
Bible Reading: Genesis 12:1-7, 13:2-18
Jesse Tree Symbol: Tent (go to Jesse Tree ornaments)
Abraham is called the "Father of Faith" and it is no surprise when we think about the promises He believed...the faith He put in God.
"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God." Hebrews 11:8-10
Abraham didn't know where he was going. God just told him to go. He didn't know what it would be like when he arrived. He didn't know anyone there. He stepped out in faith, not because he was looking forward to his new destination but because he was looking upward at the God whom he trusted and obeyed. That is faith!
This move, however, was not the only step of faith God asked Abraham to take. The next one might have been even more difficult.
No children and no hope of children...Abraham and Sarah were close to 100 years old. It's not physically possible. Their dreams of children had been buried long ago in the desert sands. But God had something else in mind. You see, with the God of the Universe, nothing is impossible. And Abraham believed that. He believed even though everything in his human nature was screaming disbelief. Even his own wife Sarah laughed at the thought of ever having a child (Genesis 18:12).
Not Abraham. "By faith Abraham, even though he was past age-and Sarah herself was barren-was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore." Hebrews 11:11-12
"Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Romans 4:18
Abraham believed God instead of what the world said, what his wife said and what his own body said. He not only believed God for a child, but he believed the incredible thought that through this child all the nations would be blessed. How? Abraham was just one man, one family...he wasn't even a nation. How would all nations be blessed through him?
The blessing for all nations is peace with God and eternal salvation. The bearer of this blessing -- Jesus Christ, Abraham's distant descendant. "May his name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun. All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed." Psalm 72:17
"All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him," Psalm 22:27
God fulfilled His promise to Abraham beyond his wildest dreams. He is still fulfilling that promise today. He is fulfilling it through you, your children and throughout the world. We are part of that promise, children of Abraham: "heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, "Romans 8:17.
"And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, 'Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed." Acts 3:25
As part of God's family, we carry on the promise God made to Abraham so many years ago. It is our duty, our privilege, to tell others about Jesus so they can join His family, so they can become part of the blessing. "He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit." Galatians 3:14
The above commentary on Genesis is part of a 4-week Advent Reflection for the Jesse Tree. The Jesse Tree is similar to an advent calendar. Every day you will read a Bible passage to your child(ren), discuss what it means to them in personal terms and color an ornament to hang on your Jesse Tree. A fuller description of this can be found at
When you are finished today, you might want to discuss how Christmas is about giving much more than getting. One way that your family can give is through their daily prayers. This might be a good time to pray for a specific country or for a group of people who do not know about Jesus. Today, over 2 billion people, 1/3 of the earth's population, have never heard the Gospel message. They don't know about the promise that God made to Abraham, that they would be blessed. They need our prayers.
Two great websites to help you do this are: