1 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.
Abraham Believed God
So, Abraham “believed” God. That means that Abraham had “faith” in God.
But was it a misplaced faith? God promised that Abraham – who was closing in on 100 years old – and Sarah – who was closing in on 90 years old – would have a baby. As unbelievable as that appears to be, God even upped the ante. Not only would they have their own baby at such an advanced age, they would actually have offspring in numbers that would rival the stars in the sky.
Both Abraham and Sarah laughed at this promise. Surely God was being funny, not serious! But God basically says, “Have faith in me.”
What Is Faith?
So, what is faith, exactly? The most common definition is that faith is believing in something even though you do not have evidence that your faith is properly placed.
For example, I have faith that when I flip a light switch to “on” a light in my office or room will actually go on. I’m not able to see that the switch will close the connection between two copper wires. Nor can I see the electricity that will flow through those copper wires from the power plant to the light bulb. I’m not able to see that the filament in the light bulb is intact and will actually burn when electricity flows through it.
Even though I don’t see these things, I still have faith that when I flip the light switch on, the light will go on.
Nothing to do with Sincerity
My faith in that light going on has nothing to do with the sincerity of my belief. It has more to do with the idea that a light switch is supposed to turn on a light. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve had experience with light switches in the past working the way they are supposed to!
Abraham is able to put his faith in God because God has fulfilled promises that he’s made in the past. When God makes a promise, God keeps that promise.
God made a promise to Abraham and Sarah – several, actually. One was that they would have a son, their own son. This promise was kept, and Isaac was born when Abraham was 100, and Sarah 90, years old.
Another promise was that Abraham’s offspring would number as many as the stars in the sky. This was more of an abstract promise than a concrete one, at least as the specific number goes. It is estimated that a person with pretty good eyesight can see from 2000-5000 stars on any given clear night.
But the promise made by God to Abraham about his offspring would far exceed that number. Within 500 years, the “offspring” of Abraham is estimated to be about 2.5 million!
God Makes a Promise to You
Now, what can we do with this? Abraham had faith in God, that God would keep the promises made to him. Yes, he did laugh at those promises – let’s face it, wouldn’t we? But that doesn’t mean Abraham didn’t have faith!
God has made promises to you. He promised to save you from your sins. God kept that promise in the person and work of His Son Jesus Christ.
Jesus makes a promise to you, as well. He gone to prepare a place. He will return. His promise to you is heaven itself. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, all your sin is taken away. His righteousness is given to you. And that’s a promise made and kept!
Our faith in Jesus, in His promises, means heaven is ours. It means life is ours – now and forever.
Heavenly Father, you have made some incredible promises to me. I pray that you keep those promises. I also pray for the faith to believe! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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