This Sunday we will look at the life and the book of Joshua which will deal with our fears and inspire us to great levels of courage. But before Joshua could do what God called him to do, Abraham and Sarah had gone before him leaving a powerful example of faith.
So, what can Abraham’s example teach us about faith? There are three aspects of faith we’ll examine:
- God’s People Have Faith, even without all the answers.
1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. Genesis 12:1
When I use Google Maps, I type in my destination and it gives me answers like, how many miles, how much time, which route is best, which route is fastest and which route has tolls where there might be delays and more. God is not like that, he says “go.” And I’ll show you later, not all at once.
|Abraham obeyed God and left home for a far place, not knowing “Where” he was going. He didn’t get the “How” or the “When” or much of the “Why.”
Faith has that quality to it—not knowing quite where we are heading. If you’re the type of person who needs to plan every move, get ready . . .
|. . . for stepping into the unknown. We haven’t seen where faith may lead us. Faith often carries with it an element of adventure.|
|. . . for becoming more of a pilgrim than a tour guide. Each day faith will stretch our vision.|
|. . . for following close to Jesus. In faith we follow his teaching and example, and through faith we grow to know him personally.
That’s faith—always heading out. Jesus knows the way, and that’s enough for us to take the next step
We can take heart from Abraham’s example of faith. God may ask us to give up secure, familiar surroundings in order to carry out his will; he may ask us to do some difficult tasks. Abraham’s questions were not all answered; he didn’t have all the details but had faith anyway.
Abraham as we mentioned in the last post was 75 years old and barren. He didn’t have faith in himself, he had faith in God. Our faith is not about the quality of our faith or the quantity our faith. Our faith is about the OBJECT of our faith, God.
- God’s People Obey, even without knowing where it will lead.
4 So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran.
Abraham Left. What will you leave behind to journey in faith?
God may be trying to lead you to a place of greater service and usefulness for him. Don’t let the comfort and security of your present position make you miss God’s plan for you.
When we decide to follow Jesus Christ in faith God expects us to leave our old pattern of living to go to new life. Abraham’s faith required him to leave the idol worshiping and unbelief behind and started him toward a new land and a new life. As God works in our hearts he desires a total willingness to leave behind everything that is not pleasing to Him. He cannot lead us into new ways of living until He leads us out of the old. We should respond, “I don’t know what You are going to do with me, Lord, but I’m going to leave all those old things. I don’t know what You’re going to substitute for them, but I’m going to let them go.”
Here’s a lesson that I have learned: Comfortable Christianity is the opposite of faith. They don’t exist together. Do you know what happens when you mix bleach and vinegar? They create a toxic gas! They literally destroy each other. Trying to be a comfortable Christian and live a life of faith does not go together. Giving financially to God’s work is not comfortable. Forgiving those who hurt us is not comfortable, serving instead of sleeping in is not comfortable. Faith is often uncomfortable.
- God’s People Trust, even without seeing the entire outcome.
This is one is difficult for me. Abraham lived by faith throughout the rest of his life, continuing to trust God as he lived in the land God promised him. This land was to be his “as an inheritance” yet Abraham never possessed the land. Instead, he lived in “his” land like a foreigner, living in a tent. (Hebrews 11:8-9) He was promised the land, but never possessed the land!
Abraham waited patiently for the really valuable things. He never saw God’s promise fulfilled; he just waited and waited and waited. Often the hardest times for us as believers are the in-between times, the times of waiting. Abraham spent a great deal of time waiting. He waited 25 long years for the son of promise, who was finally given. He waited all his life for the land of promise, which was never given. Yet he waited and watched and worked in the patient belief that God is faithful.
If we knew that Christ would be coming in a month, we would give full attention to forsaking sin, praying, witnessing, serving, and to all the other things of Christ. To devote a whole month entirely to the Lord would not be so hard if we knew that it would all be over that soon. But to be about His business month after month, year after year, with His promises seemingly no nearer being fulfilled than when we were first saved, takes patience.
It is discouraging to pray and trust and work and see no results. A mother may pray for 15, 20, or 30 years for the salvation of a child, and never see him come to Christ. Does that mean she didn’t’ have faith? No, a minister may serve in a church faithfully for ten years and see little evidence of spiritual growth. Does that mean he didn’t’ have faith? No, Noah worked for more than 100 years on the ark, preaching all the while. Progress on the ark was unimaginably slow and success in witnessing was nonexistent. Yet he continued to build and to preach until both were finished.
Faith may not bring the results we want in the time we want. We may not see the results of our faith in our own lifetime! Faith is faith because we trust God with the ultimate results.
In the New Testament book of Hebrews it summarizes Abraham’s faith and legacy well:
12 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 11:12
Faith is not easy, but faith is powerful.
Faith sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, touches the intangible, and accomplishes the impossible.
I commit to live by faith in Christ will you?