Summary: This is part 1 of a 5 part series entitled Abraham: Man of God which examines the life of Abraham and encourages us to mature in our Christian faith.
Abraham: Man of Faith (Part 1) 11-13-05
The Tiger, the Man and God
A man was being chased by a tiger. He ran as hard as he could until he was at the edge of a cliff with the tiger in hot pursuit. The man looked over the edge of the cliff and saw a branch growing out of the side of the cliff a few feet down. He jumped down and grabbed the branch just as the tiger reached the cliff. The tiger growled viciously as the man sighed a great sigh of relief.
Just then a mouse came out from a crevice and began to chew on the branch. The man looked down to what was a drop of a thousand feet and sure death and looked to the heavens and yelled out, "Dear God, if you are there, please help. I will do anything you ask but please help."
Suddenly a voice came booming down from heaven, "You will do anything I ask?" it questioned.
The man shocked to hear a reply to his plea yelled back, "I will gladly do anything you ask, but please save me."
The voice from heaven then replied, "There is one way to save you but it will take courage and faith."
The branch began to weaken from the mouse and the tiger was still growling a few feet above the man, "Please, Lord, tell me what I must do and I will do it. Your will is my will."
The voice from heaven then said, "All right then, let go of the branch."
The man looked down to a fall of a thousand feet and certain death. He looked up at the hungry tiger a few feet away and he looked at the mouse still chewing on the branch. Then he looked up at the heavens and yelled, "Is there anyone else up there?"
This story illustrates how many of us turn to God. We say to him that we want to do His will, but when things don’t look good to us, we look for something else. Today I want to talk to you what it means to have faith in God. Not some fake, hyped up faith that has been made popular today, but genuine Biblical faith.
What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see.  God gave his approval to people in days of old because of their faith.
Corrie ten Boom was a courageous Dutch woman who was interned in a Nazi prison camp during World War II because her family helped to hide Jewish people from the Gestapo. During her imprisonment, Corrie endured some of the worst degradation a person can experience. Her sister, Betsy, died in the camps. But through all her suffering, Corrie never lost her faith in God. She defined faith as:
Corrie got it right! Faith is trusting God no matter what your natural senses are telling you. It is a fantastic adventure that will never end. The main person we will concentrate on today is Abraham, who was immortalized in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews Chapter 11 and see if we can learn something about faith by observing his life.
Then the Lord told Abram, "Leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you.  I will cause you to become the father of a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and I will make you a blessing to others.  I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you."
 So Abram departed as the Lord had instructed him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.  He took his wife, Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all his wealth—his livestock and all the people who had joined his household at Haran—and finally arrived in Canaan.  Traveling through Canaan, they came to a place near Shechem and set up camp beside the oak at Moreh. At that time, the area was inhabited by Canaanites.
 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, "I am going to give this land to your offspring." And Abram built an altar there to commemorate the Lord’s visit.  After that, Abram traveled southward and set up camp in the hill country between Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar and worshiped the Lord.
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.  And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in a tent. And so did Isaac and Jacob, to whom God gave the same promise.  Abraham did this because he was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.