Summary: Faith is not about the past but the future

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Theoretically, television may be feasible, but I consider it impossibility--a development that we should waste little time dreaming about. Lee de Forest, 1926, inventor of the cathode ray tube.

I think there is a world market for about five computers. Thomas J. Watson, 1943, Chairman of the Board of IBM.

We don’t think the Beatles will do anything in their market. Guitar groups are on their way out.

Recording company expert, 1962.

How wrong can you be? These people certain didn’t see into the future well. This stands in contrast to Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. They are briefly dealt with and only to show that like Abraham, they could see beyond their own lifetime into a future in which God’s promises would be fully realised. Faith is about the future not the past. People of faith look into the future, they live for the future; they plan and prepare for the future. Faith is not about harking back to some bygone age but believing God for what he has promised for the future. As one gets older one naturally reflects more on the past, some of which we look back on with affection. What we must beware of is seeing it with rose tinted glasses. Believing that the past was better, in truth, it was probably no better or worse, just different. Isaac, Jacob and Joseph show us the kind of attitude that faith has with regards to the future.

People of faith influence the future

By an act of faith, Isaac reached into the future as he blessed Jacob and Esau. V.20 - Message

Faith reaches into the future and shapes it. The inclusion of Isaac is interesting, since he didn’t even mean to bless Jacob, he was deceived! Commenting on that story, Isaac I think new in his heart that God wanted Jacob to have the blessing (Gen.25:23) – but Isaac favoured Esau. When he was deceived & Esau said do you only have one blessing, he made no attempt to revoke the blessing but told Esau “tough luck”! Isaac perhaps realised that he had been struggling against God and lost. There is a lesson there for all of us. We can resist God and struggle against him, but he will win.

But the blessings conferred on his sons were an act of faith. He was reaching into the future to shape it, passing the blessing on – that is what faith does. Faith is about the future not the past. Isaac was not living in the past, harking back to the days of his father but looking forward, believing that the future of his sons and their sons would be greater than his as they possessed the promises of God. People of faith influence the future. They shape it and even when they go wrong God overrules and uses their faith in the way he wants it to be used.

By faith we can make an impact on the future. It may be through our own efforts, that we believe God and trust him and so make an impact that continues. Or most probably it is through others that we can influence the future. It may be through our example, through our service, through our vision, through our praying, giving etc. Albert McMakin was a 24 year old farmer, a new Christian and enthusiastic for the Lord. He would fill his truck with people and take them to meetings to hear about Jesus. There was a young farmer’s son he was keen to get to go along, but he couldn’t persuade him – he was too busy chasing the girls. He eventually persuaded him by asking him to drive the truck. Albert’s guest went into the meeting and was “spellbound”. He went back night after night until he gave his life to Christ. It was 1934 and the young man was called Billy Graham. Albert Mcmakin didn’t know that Billy Graham would speak to more people about Jesus than any other in the history of the world. But by faith he influenced the future. Let us be a people who influence the future for good and for God. How can you do that?

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