LEARNING FROM ABRAHAM
By Rodney W. Francis
“Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, ‘I have made you a father of many nations’) in the presence of Him whom he believed ~ God, Who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, ‘So shall your descendants be’” (Romans 4:16-18 , NKJV).
“Abraham . . . who contrary to hope, believed in hope”!
It is a good thing to have confidence in the Lord. This Scripture concerning the man Abraham has been speaking to my heart, that although all natural circumstances may be against us, we can see God’s promises come to pass. “Abraham . . . who against hope believed in hope” (KJV). Why was Abraham like that? Every natural hope was gone. Abraham and Sarah were childless: he was 99, she was 90. Yet God had told Abraham that he was going to have a son (Genesis 17 ). When the angel of the Lord spoke to Sarah and told her she was going to have a son, she thought that was funny ~ because it was an impossibility (naturally speaking).
Could you imagine if Abraham was a part of your church or fellowship today and, at his age, kept testifying that he was going to have a baby, what your thoughts and re-actions would be? We would be inclined to think he was either senile, or had a sex problem! In spite of what people thought or said about him, he kept believing God!
- Abraham kept believing God!
- Against hope he believed in hope!
- He believed his God was Bigger than those things he knew naturally!
The Apostle Peter had an “impossible” experience with Jesus one day. He had been fishing all night, but had caught nothing. Being a fisherman he would have been convinced that there were no fish around that night. But Jesus said to him, “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4 ). Peter’s initial response was a very natural one: “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net” (Luke 5:5 ). Peter suddenly realized that the One who told him to let down the nets was greater than the natural circumstances he had encountered that night. Nothing happened until he obeyed. And when they had done what Jesus told them to do (even though Jesus said nets, and Peter let down only one net – owing to his smallness of faith), they caught a great number of fish! Contrary to natural circumstances he believed enough to obey ~ and was rewarded with a net full of fish!
GUARD AGAINST DISCOURAGEMENT!
One of the greatest things that discourages a Christian is that, after receiving the promise of God, they lose hope in it. When we get a definite promise from God’s word direct to our own heart we think it is wonderful (and so it is); but there is also a testing period. Abraham had to wait for his promise, 25 years in fact, and that can be a mighty long time ~ especially when everything natural is contrary to the promise of God. “Abraham, you are going to have a son . . . you might be childless now, but one day you will be the father of nations, and of multitudes, even as the sand by the sea shore.”
- Abraham believed that!
- Even though all hope was gone, he believed that!
Did God’s promise fail him? No! God’s promise prevailed and Abraham became the father of the faithful, of nations!
- Abraham will always be known because of the fact he believed in God more than every impossible situation that confronted him!
Today we need to be determined to be in that same place. We have received the promises of God, but we live in a world where natural circumstances and natural reasoning seek to side-track us from believing for the fulfilment of God’s promises to us. If we are motivated and ruled by natural things and limitations, then the word (promise) of God becomes of no effect. We choose what we believe.
God wants us to believe in hope, even when hope seems very contrary to the promise of God. He wants us to believe His promises, for, when believed, His promises come to pass!
- If God has promised you something in days, months or years gone by, you can rest assured that His promise is as true to you at this very moment as it ever was!
Take fresh hope, believe in His promise(s) more than the natural and faithless things about you. Catch a renewed vision of the Lord’s faithfulness, and you will know the fulfilling of His promise(s) in your life.
Men and women who have moved things for God, have “been through the mill” (testing times) as they have put what God says first, rather than believe what their natural feelings and circumstances (and people) say to them. God allowed Abraham and Sarah to “die” naturally. But from that “dead” seed He brought forth Isaac. Abraham considered not himself. The Bible says: “And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about an 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 able to perform. And therefore ‘it was accounted to him for righteousness’” (Romans 4:19-22 ).
The cure for Christian wavering and doubting is believing! Believing what God says more than what anyone or anything else says! Abraham believed God regardless of everything else! If we are really walking in the power of believing we are not wavering, not “up and down” in our believing, and doubting what God has said. We are not to “stagger” (KJV) in unbelief ~ we are to believe God, even as Abraham did! He was strong in faith, giving glory to God. Abraham was fully persuaded. “Contrary to hope he believed in hope”. He was a man who was simple enough to believe that what God said was true.
When we know God has spoken; when we know God has promised, then we can be fully persuaded, convinced . . . we can be strong in faith. Everything natural might be against us, but if God has promised, it will surely come to pass. “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good” (Numbers 23:19 ). “The Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35 ). God is true to His word ~ His promises stand true for ever and ever!
There came a day when Abraham and Sarah saw the fulfilment of God’s promise to them: Isaac was born. He became a reality: they could see him, handle him, cuddle him, and care for him. Abraham’s believing produced fruit. He proved that it pays to believe God!
You who are in circumstances of life which, to you, seem to be quite contradictory to what God would have for you ~ do be encouraged by the life and example of Abraham. Nothing is impossible to the Lord!
- All He asks of you is to believe Him!
- Believe Him enough to let Him work on your behalf!
- Allowing Him to turn your impossible situation into a mighty testimony of the truth and power of the eternal promises of the Living God!
- Contrary to hope, believe in hope!
Be encouraged to look unto Jesus afresh today, for that which He has promised you. He surely desires to bring it to pass. Right now start praising and thanking Him for His promise to you ~ knowing that He cannot deny Himself ~ He will do for you exactly what He says He will.