Immune to fear
Day 16: The Faith of Abraham
The Bible names Abraham 309 times, but because of his faith, his name is inscribed upon the whole of the Middle East and upon world history to this day. We can learn a lot about Abraham from the book of Genesis.
“Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.’ But Abram replied, ‘O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.’ Then the Lord said to him, ‘No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.’ Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, ‘Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!’ And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.” (Genesis 15:1-6)
Abraham was the first person recognized for the “obedience of faith,” as his life consistently lined up with his faith in God. “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3). Fears are volatile, but what is of faith lasts forever!
Remember this: fears die with the fearful, but those who are full of faith, forever change the world!
Abraham was a world changer! In fact, he is responsible for beginning the civilizing process fifteen hundred years before the Greeks and Romans. The Pharaohs were in Egypt one thousand years before Abraham, and continued another two thousand years after he died, but they did not affect the world as much as he did. The Pharaohs left no moral mark, and only cluttered the desert sands with colossal monuments to their own egos. Abraham did not leave a single commemorative ornament behind for us to see, but all our lives today—religious or not—are impacted by his life.
Abraham was not deeply religious. He was not even religious in our modern sense. He had no creed, no hymns, no Bible, no images, and no theology. He probably did not really know much about God, but he knew God personally and very well. When it comes to faith, a personal relationship with the Lord is all that matters! Abraham walked with God and was a friend of God. For this patriarch, God was not a Sunday morning service obligation. He had no church to attend. Abraham did not believe God just to be faithful to some sort of tradition. There was no tradition. God was his way of life because God was real to him!
God revealed Himself to Abraham and gave him a simple instruction—to leave Ur. God didn’t tell Abraham where to go; nevertheless, Abraham set off. This began his unforgettable life of faith. Hebrews 11:8–10 describes it:
“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
God had promised Abraham he would be the first of a great nation whose God is the Lord. God said: “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:2–3) It’s important to note, that when Isaac— the first seed of this promise— finally came, the Lord told Abraham to sacrifice him on the altar! To be willing (right or wrong) to sacrifice Isaac showed astounding trust in the Lord!
As we read in Hebrews, Abraham believed God could raise Isaac from the dead if necessary. But, the voice of God, at the most dramatic moment, stopped Abraham’s hand from slaying his son. Abraham had passed the ultimate test of his faith! He exhibited incredible faith, because he fully trusted the Lord and expected Isaac would be the father of generations and nations, simply because the Lord had said so.
Abraham didn’t doubt the Lord. Therefore, the Lord didn’t doubt Abraham! In fact, God was so pleased with him, He took Abraham’s name as part of His own name! He called Himself, “The God of Abraham”. The Almighty identified Himself with a man. This means God’s reputation rested on Abraham. What God was like—a new God to the world in general—would be assumed from what Abraham was like. God risked His name by joining it with Abraham.
Abraham believed in the Lord, and the Lord believed in Abraham! Something similar is reflected in what Jesus said in Matthew 10:32, “Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.” This is the deepest truth about faith. Its primary purpose is not merely getting things or doing things or being something. It relates us to God. Faith is fellowship, and it is always the condition for our relationship with God. He puts faith in our hearts, and then He puts His faith in us to do His will.
John 2:23–24 says, “Many believed in His name…but Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men.” The words “commit Himself” are the same as believe. Their faith was not right, and Jesus knew it. But when faith is right, Jesus does commit Himself to us! Imagine that! Christ comes to us in trust! The whole business of God’s promises, dealings, association, and relations with us becomes possible once this mutual trust is established. God transmitted who He was to Abraham through his faith, and He will do the same for us if we only believe!
Source: (Faith: The Link with God's Power. Chapter 11 and 12. The faith of Abraham.)
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