If ever there was a mortal man who personified faith, it was Abraham.
God told Abraham to take everything and move away from home, without knowing where he was going. So he did. God told elderly, childless Abraham that he would have as many offspring as the stars of the sky. Abraham believed. God told him to take his beloved, long awaited son Isaac up a mountain and offer him as a sacrifice. Abraham gathered his supplies and his son and headed up the mountain. (You can find the whole story of Abraham in Genesis 11:27 – 25:11)
Even though Abraham rarely knew what was around the bend on the road of his life, he confidently walked forward at God’s command.
What kind of faith drives a man like that?
As I read over Hebrews 11:8-10 and Hebrews 11:17-19 the word that stands out to me is promise. Repeated three times in this passage, it is a reminder of what motivated Abraham.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
– Hebrews 11:8-10
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.
– Hebrews 11:17-19
Abraham believed the promises. He believed that God would do as He said. He believed that God was trustworthy and would follow through.
What about you? Is God telling you to do something that requires great faith today? Do you believe the promises?
This side of the cross, we understand that every promise God made to Abraham has found its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ.
For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.
– 2 Corinthians 1:19-20
Abraham did not shrug off anything God told him to do. Even when it was hard. He knew he had nothing to lose by obeying God. Even when it seemed like he did.
Some might say that God asked Abraham to do some pretty crazy things. And you know what? He is asking you to do some crazy things in faith today too. Starting with loving the people right next to you.
Was it hard for Abraham to pull up roots and move to an unknown place? Absolutely. Is it hard for you to love people who act selfish and unkind? No question about it. And they are both radical obedience in the face of logic.
Was it hard for Abraham to head up the mountain to sacrifice his son? That one is so beyond my comprehension that I think hard is not sufficient to describe it. Is it hard for you to sacrifice your desires and personal ambitions and “in humility count others more significant than yourselves”? (Philippians 2:3) Yes, indeed.
Faith means walking forward in obedience even when you don’t know what is around the bend.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
But faith does not mean we walk blindly – Jesus is our vision, and His Word is the lamp for our feet, lighting the way. Jesus Himself is our promise.
The faith of Abraham believes the promise and walks forward with joy.
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Faith means walking forward in obedience even when you don’t know what is around the bend. #ByFaith @DoNotDepart http://wp.me/p1Su7F-32e tweet this
Every promise God made to Abraham has found its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ. #ByFaith @DoNotDepart http://wp.me/p1Su7F-32e tweet this