If you’re on a faith journey, like me, then you know that it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s a rocky road, often unclear what the next step is, or the step after that, but we trust God just the same and take each step as it comes…as He reveals it.
Lately, I seem to be in Genesis a lot studying the life of Abraham. What amazes me is the faith he had throughout his journey. No wonder he is called the Father of Faith.
His story goes like this…God called Abraham to leave everything he had and go to a new land, called Canaan, and God tells him He will bless him and make him a great nation in that land. Abraham believed.
Abraham leaves all he knows behind and travels to the new land. Abraham obeyed.
When Abraham arrives in Canaan, it is occupied. It’s not even for sale. Does Abraham turn around? Does he curse God and say, “you lied to me?” Does he fight the current occupants to conquer the land?
Abraham builds God an altar. Abraham sacrifices to the Lord. He worships, reveres, gives gratitude to the Lord. Abraham sacrificed.
We’ll see this same formula of belief, obedience, and sacrifice all throughout Abraham’s life.
Next, the Lord tells Abraham that his descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the sky even though Abraham and his wife, Sarah, have no children, she is barren, and they are nearing a hundred years old.
But Abraham trusts God, even though the circumstances looked impossible, and it was credited to him as righteousness, meaning Abraham was then considered morally pure in the sight of the Lord. Abraham believed.
God then tells Abraham this promise to occupy the land of Canaan won’t happen for 400 years. That his descendants will be enslaved and mistreated before they come out. And that he will never see this promise come to pass. Yet, still Abraham believed.
Then God calls Abraham to take his only son – the one who would fulfill God’s promises and make him the Father of many nations like God said – and sacrifice that very son on the alter. Abraham obeyed.
In God’s graciousness, God stepped in at the last second and gave him a replacement sacrifice, a ram found in a thicket, and Abraham sacrificed.
Can I be honest? Believing, obeying, and sacrificing are not my first reactions on the hardest days. Most of the time it’s to pout, whine, and then after a long time of getting angry at the Lord, I finally pull it together and determine to trust the Almighty God of all creation, who spoke the world into being, gave us life, and salvation, and who has providentially performed so many miracles in my life and the life of others.
Abraham knew what many of us don’t know. Or at least what we say we know, but don’t truly believe. That God is true to His promises. He is not a man that He would lie. (Number 23:19) He is faithful. Yet, His timeline and His ways are not our own and the way things ultimately unfold may not look anything like we imagined they would.
How many of us have received promises from the Lord and found the land was already occupied or that the timeline was waaaaaaayyyyyyyyy too long or that we had to sacrifice time, money, pride, home, comfort, status, even relationships to move to the place He wanted us to go?
The way we walk this faith journey matters. God has entrusted us with His plans for greater in our lives and for His Kingdom. We have to believe even when the situation looks impossible, even when we don’t get the God winks or nudges, even when all the doors seem to be closed. His ways are bigger, His timeline is not contained by our calendar. But our work is not in vain. It is for a great glory…God’s and not our own.
What is God asking you to believe today? To obey? To sacrifice?
On the other side of His ask is your future. A future He has already prepared for you.
Abraham gives us a roadmap to this faith journey and it looks like this…
Praying we all walk this faith journey like Abraham.