A life of faith is not something we learn overnight. It’s a journey where we learn to love God and cling to Him each step of the way. As our faith develops, we come into the assurance that what God has promised He is also able to perform, regardless of how long it takes. We can see an example of this amazing journey in the life of Abraham.
Abraham is often called the father of faith. As Abram, which was his original name, his journey started in the Ur of the Chaldeans with his father, Terah. It was after they settled in Haran that God spoke to him:
“Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ ” (Genesis 12:1-3 NKJV)
Abram’s first act of faith was to obey God’s voice. For Abram it was a great leap into the unknown, where he would have to trust God for every step of the way. It was through his intimacy with the One who led him to the distant land of Canaan that Abram became known as the friend of God.
Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he started on his journey with his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot. He stepped out in faith with God’s promise that through him all the families of the earth would be blessed. That promise must have seemed absolutely astonishing to Abram!
In time, both Abram and Lot accumulated large herds of livestock and their herdsmen began to argue with one another over the land. It was then that they decided to go their separate ways. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan and Lot moved south to the fertile fields of the plain.
“And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: ‘Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are – northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.’ ” (Genesis 13:14-17 NKJV)
God wanted Abram to use the eyes of faith to see the land He had promised him. The reason is: Whatever we can see by faith belongs to us already. Then God told Abram to put his faith into action and claim the land by walking through the length and breadth of it. As Abram’s vision grew, so did his faith.
“But Abram said, ‘Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” (Genesis 15:2 NKJV)
The wonderful promise that his descendants would be too numerous to count made no sense to Abram since he had no children!
“And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.’ Then He brought him outside and said, ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.’ And He said, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ ” (Genesis 15:4-5 NKJV)
Abram became the father of faith by his response to these words:
“And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6 NKJV)
Abram was declared righteous because of his faith. Today everyone can be blessed through this principle: that righteousness comes through faith alone.
As Abram continued on this journey, his faith grew as he treasured each promise God gave him. There was still one problem: ten years had slipped by and he and Sarai remained childless. It was at this point that Sarah suggested that they could have a child by using her maid, Hagar, as a surrogate mother. Abram agreed and Ishmael was born.
Abram and Sarah made a mistake that we still make today. They wavered in their faith and tried to use their own solution to help God answer their prayers. However, God did not need their help. He could answer their prayers all by Himself! They had to trust Him until the promise was fulfilled. In spite of their misstep, God was still rich in mercy toward them.
“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘I am Almighty God (Hebrew: El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One); walk before me and be blameless.” (Genesis 17:1 NKJV, emphasis and words in parentheses added.)
Then He said:
“No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations.” (Genesis 17:4 NKJV)
By changing Abram’s name to Abraham, God changed the confession of his mouth. From that moment on Abraham called himself “the father of many nations” every time he used that name. It was this final revelation that caused Abraham to lock his faith in for the son God that had promised him. For this reason, the Apostle Paul was able to write:
“And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.” (Romans 4:19-21 NKJV)
What an extraordinary journey of faith! God led Abram every step of the way, enlarging his faith by giving him increasing revelation of the promise. Even when Abram stumbled in his walk with God, he was not forsaken. God gave him the strength to persevere in his faith for twenty-five years until Isaac was born.
Even if the answer may take a long time to arrive, we can enjoy the journey because God is walking by our side. He will guide our steps and keep us from falling until we receive the answer to our prayers!
You are holy, dear saint!
Have you been able to overcome discouragement and keep pressing ahead until you got the answer to your prayers? Let me know in the comments below!
[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]