Summary: We live the life of faith when we continually look toward heaven as we face our earthly struggles.
Look Toward Heaven
We live the life of faith when we continually look toward heaven as we face our earthly struggles.
Abraham’s journey of faith began in Genesis 12, when God called him to leave his home and he promised: "I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing" (Genesis 12:2). Abraham acted in faith and followed the instruction of God, although he did not know where God would lead. That journey contained several challenges that Abraham faced with faith that God would see him through. Almost a decade later we get to Genesis 15 and Abraham is realizing that the promise of God required him to have a family with children - but he and Sarai had none.
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”
3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.”
4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.”
5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
As he traveled and as he pondered this, Abram did not lose faith that God would answer his promise - but he did wonder how he would go about it. Abraham is our great Father of Faith and we can learn from him how to continue to go and grow in faith even when we cannot see the outcome of following Him. What do we learn about faith from Father Abraham?
1. Listen With Intent to Obey
If Abraham is known for anything - it is listening.
The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” 4 So Abram departed as the Lord had instructed…
That might seem extreme to us - but I wonder how we listen to the Word of the Lord?
James 1:22-24 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.
2. Replace Fear With Trust (Genesis 15:1)
“Fear Not” many times in the Bible, this is the first time. Over 500 times in the Bible the word Fear is used. Fear is a natural reaction to threatening circumstances- in some cases fear actually saves our lives. When it comes to our relationship with God, fear is not a part because He can be trusted.
The basis of releasing fear is to trust. “Almighty God is the only one who can offer you protection and provision and keep His promises.” Warren Wiersbe
There are many references to the truth that God is our shield in Scripture.
2 Samuel 22:31 “…He is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” (David’s song after deliverance from enemies and Saul)
Psalm 3:3 “But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.”
Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Ephesians 6:16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one
These passages do not provide for a carefree life, but promises of God’s awareness, blessing, and provision within the storms.
3. Faith Normalized (Genesis 15:2-3)
There Are Things You Do Not Know. Abraham had to come to realize that he could not figure out God’s plan in this matter. He had questions, schemes, and struggles - and God knew about all of those.
We have many questions for God in our lives - why? when? how? how long? Reading through the Prophets and Psalms, we are no alone.