"Snippets" from David
The man named Abraham is the symbol of faith
throughout the Bible. That is quite something! A man who lived in what we would
regard a primitive existence in the period covered by the Bible's first book
became the symbol of faith for every generation thereafter.
The Bible speaks of many persons' enormous faith in God. Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Samuel, David, Elijah, Mary, Peter, and Paul were among them. Biblically speaking, that is an impressive group of men and women. All of them were people of great faith in God. Yet, none of them surpassed Abraham's trust God.
Why is Abraham the symbol of faith? What was so impressive about his confidence in God? Why did no one surpass the quality of faith found in his relationship with God?
First, before he followed God, he previously existed in an idolatrous family environment. Joshua 24:2 included Abraham with his father and brother ("they") as being people who "served" other gods prior to God's calling Abraham. Abraham did not know God, had not talked with God, and had not received instructions from God prior to God's first "call." This "new" God was distinctively different from any form of deity Abraham served or worshipped. Yet, when God talked to Abraham, he listened attentively to this new, strange God.
Second, when God called him, He gave Abraham some strange, unheard of instructions for that age. Those instructions included leaving his extended family. For that time, this was an enormous, unheard of request. In that day there were no social safety nets--nothing comparable to Medicare programs, emergency rooms, or Social Security programs. If you were sick, accidentally hurt, or elderly, your extended family cared for you. The only institution or program you had "to fall back on" was your extended family. To deliberately leave your extended family meant you left that age's security and safety. That is no small request! The only protection provided him would be the protection of this strange, new God Who revealed Himself to Abraham.
Third, God gave him some promises that seemed unreasonable. When God called Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3, he was 75 years old. His wife, who was also his half-sister, was 65 years old. The two of them had no children. Yet, this new God promised Abraham (1) that He would make Abraham the beginning of a nation and (2) through him would bring a blessing to all people on earth.
Both those promises were dependent upon him having a child, a son. Though he and his wife has been married for years, there were no children. He could not be the father of a nation without a son. A blessing could not flow from him to all people if he did not have a son. This new God promised him something that nothing in his past produced--the birth of a son and many descendants.
Fourth, Abraham was to go to a destination that would be revealed to him. Though he and his extended family had "settled" in Haran (Genesis 11:31, NASV), God requested Abraham to become a nomad and travel to an area unknown to him. A risky venture! In fact, many of us would reject that request! Yet, Abraham did as he was instructed.
Because Abraham trusted God, he became (1) the beginning of the nation of Israel [and Edom and Moab and Ammon] (Deuteronomy 2:5, 9, 19), and he (2)through the nation of Israel brought the blessing of Jesus Christ to the people of the world (see Hebrews 1:1,2).
The essence of great faith in God: (1) listen when He speaks; (2) allow Him to instruct you; (3) trust His promises even when those promises seem unrealistic; and (4) depend on Him to do more for you than family or social arrangement can provide.
Because Abraham trusted God in unusual circumstances, we are blessed. Because he was a man of faith, we can be a people of faith. See Galatians 3:28, 29.
01 June, 2005
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