Summary: Growing Faith
Abraham, a Man of challenge, Faith, Promise
Reading: Genesis 15:12ff
Abram has spent all day, in the heat and the sun, defending what God had told him to do. It would seem that the vultures had been persistent in their attempts to feast upon what God had told Abram to do, and thus rob him of what God wanted to reveal and establish for and within him. Abram had come to the place where he knew the voice of God, he knew that that voice could be trusted, and he was prepared to defend that. This though was to be the cause of weariness and exhaustion, as the attack was a persistent one, but with the passing of the daylight that particular attempt to rob him ceases. However there comes a different type of attack, the physical attack now ceases and the battle for the mind starts.
There is a sense here that if Abram had not won the battle with the vultures, who were in reality more afraid of him, than he of them. Then the battle for the mind would not have taken place at this junction of time, if at all. Abram was not only a man of faith, he was a man growing in faith, and there in is one of the keys to understanding why this man found favour in the sight and presence of God, also why we too can find the same. We are not called to maintain some edifice of past revelation and the trapping, that are associated with that, but we are called to grow in faith.
We are clearly told in Romans 12:3; "...God has dealt to each one a measure of faith." It does not matter as to the quantity of faith that has been given in the first instance; it does matter as to what we do with it though. Jesus said; "I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ’Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you." When we first come to Jesus, so help anything that stands in our way, we take our mustard seed faith and smite anything and everything that comes against us, and it yields. We get excited, and that is right we should, we stick our heads up high and ride the crest of the wave, which is going up a mountain that we have as yet not noticed. Then we start to notice that something is not as it was, things don’t yield as easily as they did at first. Before we know where we are, we are in crisis, as the very thing we thought should yield does not.
Abram had few problems with the vultures, he would only have to appear, possibly run towards them and they were off. If we are not careful, we too start to be fooled into thinking that the only enemies we will have to deal with are faint-hearted vultures. So when the night comes and the vultures have gone to their resting place, we are not ready for the next battle with the enemy. This time we have an opponent of sturdier stuff. If we are not careful, what we do is spend a great deal of time and effort seeing off the spoilers, and misses the opportunity in readying ourselves for the next battle. A simple scarecrow will see the vultures off.
We have a disturbing habit of using scripture out of context, in such away that we make it say something it is not saying. The context of Jesus’ words in Matthew 17 (when He is talking about the mustard seed faith,) is the inability of the disciples to deal with a particular demon, which in this case was manifest in the boy’s epilepsy. The problem is not the boy’s epilepsy; it is the inability of the disciples to cure him. The cry of Jesus heart is because of two things,
ii) Perverseness. To be perverse is to "deliberately or stubbornly, depart from what is reasonable or required."
Somehow or the other, the truth of growing in faith had not found futile ground to grow in.
Why am I able to say that? Matthew.13: 31+32; "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds, but when it is grown it is greater then the herbs and becomes a tree, so that birds of the air come and nest in its branches." Jesus in Matthew 13 had spoken about the Sower, the parable of the wheat and tares, he was to go on and speak about the parable of the leaven, hidden treasure, the pearl of greatest price and the drag net. He is particular taking about ground that had been prepared; about what happens to seed that falls upon the various types of ground. Jesus is talking about a man who takes a mustard seed, plants it into the field of his being and it grows, to such an extent that bird find a resting place. When we get to Matthew17, this boy’s father and the boy were unable to find a resting place with the disciples, and so Jesus is found to be the resting place in that the boy is set free. Jesus said concerning the mustard seed and the affliction of the boy, "However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."