Summary: As we continue through Hebrews 11 we come to Abraham. Abraham believed God and was credited with righteousness. Abraham not only believed God but he obeyed God's commands. Let's take a look at Abraham's example and see what it takes faith to do.
IT TAKES FAITH (part five)
INTRODUCTION: As we continue our journey through Hebrews 11 we come to Abraham. Abraham is known as the patriarch or father of the Israelites for he was the father of Isaac who was the father of Jacob who became Israel and fathered 12 sons who would become the twelve tribes of Israel.
Abraham was known as one who believed God and was credited with righteousness. Paul used this truth in Rom. 4 to support that it isn't by observing the law or works that one became righteous but by faith. Therefore, in Gal. 3:7 says that those who believe are also children of Abraham.
James 2:23 calls Abraham God's friend. And in John 15:14 Jesus told his disciples they were his friends if they did what he commanded. Therefore, in Abraham being called God's friend he must've been doing what God commanded. That's what we'll be looking at as we look at Abraham's example and see what it takes faith to do.
1) It takes faith to step into the unknown (8).
Vs. 8, "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going."
Picture yourself in Abraham's position. You're settled in your home and life is good; you're doing well. Then, out of the blue, God tells you he wants you to gather up all your possessions, your wife, your workers, your livestock and leave town.
I'd be like, "where am I supposed to go?" God's like, "I'm not telling you".
"What? Are you serious?"
"I think the least you could do would be to tell me where I'm going."
"Don't worry; I'll lead and you follow."
"But what about..."
"Never mind that. Just get ready and go."
Can you imagine what state of mind you'd be in as your head spins from your world getting rocked? How much faith do you think it would take to blindly obey such a ridiculous request? Well, Abraham did exactly that.
Gen. 12:1-5, "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. “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” 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. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there."
Perhaps you noticed that instead of Abraham it said Abram and instead of Sarah it said Sarai. Abram means exalted father; which was interesting considering he didn't become a father until he was about 85 years old! But he was one who exalted the heavenly Father. And no doubt he was exalted by the heavenly Father.
Abraham means father of many. When God established his covenant with Abraham he gave him a name that signified what he would become.
Both Sarai and Sarah relatively mean the same thing: princess. But in establishing his covenant with Abraham, God is commissioning Sarah to be the mother of nations and kings as Gen. 17:16 states.
But, in getting back to the text, Abraham is being asked to pack it up and head out. Take all your stuff, get all your people and livestock together and go. And so he did. Abraham's faith prompted his obedience to trust that God would lead and guide him to the unknown.
A.W. Tozer said, “The Bible recognizes no faith that does not lead to obedience, nor does it recognize any obedience that does not spring from faith. The two are opposite sides of the same coin.”
So, in faith, Abraham sets out at the ripe old age of 75. It's one thing to do this when you're young and flying solo. If you want to be adventurous and pack up and move you can do that. I'm not saying it doesn't take a certain amount of courage to follow through with that but it's a lot easier to do when you're young and single.
But Abraham does this when he's old and when he knows it will affect more people than just himself. Granted, he didn't have any kids at this point but he had a wife and many servants, as well as a lot of animals. So, this wasn't a pack a suitcase and start walking kind of trip; this was get the caravan ready cause we're moving on.