Summary: Faith is ultimately abandonment to divine sovereignty.
Like The Stars, Genesis 15:1-6
The Bible: It has often been reviled; but it has never been refuted. Its foundations have been examined by the most searching eyes. In Hume, and Gibbon, and Voltaire, and La Place, not to mention a multitude of vulgar assailants, the Bible has had to sustain the assaults of the greatest talent, the sharpest wit, and the acutest intellects. To make it appear a cunningly devised fable, philosophers have sought arguments amid the mysteries of science, and travelers amid the remains of antiquity; for that purpose, geologists have ransacked the bowels of the earth, and astronomers the stars of heaven; and yet after having sustained the most cunningly devised and ably executed assaults of 2,000 years, it still exists—a glorious fulfillment of the words of its Founder—“On this rock have I built my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). (Dr. Guthrie, Heartwarming Bible Illustrations, Accessed, QuickVerse 2010 Platinum)
Within the pages of God’s sacred word are found promises. Some of these promises are made to men and women, while others are made to nations. Some of these promises contain the decree of the Lord’s wrath upon sin, while others tell us of the ultimate victory over sin which was secured at the Cross.
God has preserved for us a record of His dealing with humanity. This record is primarily the account of God’s covenant with mankind. It details the way in which God saves us in the ultimate sense in Christ and, along the path of that redemptive narrative, we are given much to cling to in this life; the Bible is chalked full of the messages of eternal salvation and present hope.
This morning we will examine one such presently hopeful, eternally inspiring account of God’s faithfulness. Today we will examine the faith of Abraham. We will look at the promise that God made to him, his attitude and response, and faithfulness of God’s fulfillment of His promise.
Along the way, I will invite you see yourself in Abraham, who is, in a very real sense, our spiritual father. As we look at the faith of Abraham, we will look at the faith of every man. My method will be rather straightforward; we will simply examine the text, opening our hearts to God’s primary means of grace; His word.
(v.1) I find it compelling that this passage, which is such an important passage theologically, overall, in understanding the unfolding of God’s plan of redemption for humanity, begins with the admonishment to Abraham, the great man of faith, “Do not be afraid, I am your shield and your great reward.”
God says to Abraham, as He says to us, “I am your strength (protector) and I am your provision (provider).” I am reminded of the New Testament words of Christ found in John 16:33 where Jesus says, “I have told you these things so that in me you will have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Trouble, pain, trial, are promised to us. Those who sow the lie into the hearts of believers that it is possible to escape trouble in this life through the proper implementation of faith are themselves ignorant of the true nature of faith.
Faith is not a key to unlock the gates of this great trouble laden world that we find ourselves in. Faith is the gift of God which enables us to see beyond that gate into, through its rusty falsity, into the beauty and wonder of the loving eyes of the one who created us for more than peace in this life.
He is the one who created us to find peace in His life, indeed, in Him. It is our Heavenly Father who is our divine protector and sustainer. If we harvest food from the field, He is the owner and cultivator of the field. In times of drought, it is to Him that we should flee.
(v.2-3) Abraham’s response, I suspect, is not so unlike the response which lurks in the hearts of many whom now hear my voice. “Thanks God, I appreciate the nice sentiment, the poetry and symmetry of your voice and words, but that means very little since you have not fulfilled your promises to me, I remain childless. But don’t worry God; I know you’ve been busy so I’ve made alternate plans. I will give my inheritance to my servant Eliezer of Damascus. I’m not thrilled about it and I sure wish I had an heir of my own but Eliezer will do Lord. I don’t want to take you away from your celestial golf schedule. I know you are a busy deity.”
How easy is it to question God’s plan when the days turn into weeks, the weeks into months, and the months into years. Our impatience is a problem.