Summary: As we continue through Hebrews 11 we come to the story of Abraham and Sarah having a child in their old age. It took faith to believe the unbelievable but we'll see that it wasn't easy.
IT TAKES FAITH (part six)
As we continue through Hebrews 11 we come to the story of Abraham and Sarah having a child in their old age. It took faith to believe the unbelievable but we'll see that it wasn't easy. Today we'll see that although Abraham had great faith he didn't have perfect faith. That's important for us because we can look at the heroes of faith and think their faith is beyond our capabilities. But seeing that their faith wasn't perfect helps us to see them as human; just like us. So therefore we can better relate to them and maybe more importantly understand that we don't need to have perfect faith in order to have great faith.
1) I believe but I need a little help.
Hebrews 11:11-12, "By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore."
Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90 when Isaac was born. God had promised Abraham that Sarah would bear him a son and he made a covenant with Abraham telling him to look up into the sky and if he could count the stars then he would be able to count his descendants. Abraham believed what God told him. However, although Abraham believed he still needed some convincing now and then.
Gen. 15:1-8, "After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
He also said to him, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.” But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?”
It's interesting that Abraham believed God regarding the promise of a son and descendents beyond what he could count but then wanted a sign when it came to possessing the land. Abraham believed God but then asked for assurance. And if you read the following verses you'll see that God provided a sign. God did not rebuke Abraham for asking for a sign. So I don't think Abraham's request was because he doubted, he just needed a little help being completely convinced; probably because it just seemed so unbelievable.
Abraham believed but he probably had a hard time trying to take it all in so he asked for a convincing sign. Sometimes we believe but we don't fully understand. Sometimes we believe but things seem way out there and we ask God to give us something to confirm what he has said. Abraham didn't need the sign to believe, he asked for the sign to help solidify what God had said.
That's the difference between Abraham and the religious leaders of Jesus' day when he rebuked them for asking for a sign. The religious leaders weren't believers who were asking for a sign of confirmation, they were skeptics putting Jesus to the test. There had already been plenty of signs. Jesus had been healing the sick, raising the dead, multiplying fishes and loaves to feed thousands, etc. They already had the proof they needed to believe but they didn't; that's why Jesus said, 'a wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign'.
What we have with Abraham is different. Abraham didn't have the issues the Pharisees had. The religious leaders were challenging Jesus to prove himself when he had already done so. God had already proved himself to Abraham for he already believed so the asking for a sign stemmed from a different motive than needing proof that God was who he said he was.
There are people today who ask for signs in order to believe but they choose not to be convinced by the signs they've already seen. They are skeptics; demanding proof when the proof is already there.