Hebrews 11: 13 This scripture gives us four steps in the process of faith being developed in the life of the believer. At first sight this verse does not seem to be a statement of what we call faith. It reads, “all died in the faith” and “not having received the promises.” These statements seem confusing to our understanding of faith until we look closely and realize that this verse is describing great FAITH. The faith of these men and women was so great that it continues to live even until this day. They believed God for something that was bigger than themselves, bigger than their own natural lives. What they believed God to do could not be done in a day, a week, a year or even in a lifetime. Their faith outlived themselves.
There are four action verbs in this verse that describe the progression of faith. We can clearly see these four steps in the way God develops Abram’s faith.
Genesis 15:1-6 Abram’s life is an example of how faith should grow in the life of the believer. This verse begins with, “After these things,” which refers to the events of chapter fourteen. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah had been attacked and Abram’s nephew Lot and his family captured and carried away as slaves. Abram decided to rescue his nephew, armed his trained servants, and with a few of his friends attacked the conquering army at night and defeated them. Now Abram has returned home to his tent and was alone on a dark night. The devil began to torment his mind with thoughts of fear about his future. God interrupted his fears and started speaking peace and faith to Abram in a night vision.
“Fear not Abram, I am thy shield and exceeding great reward.” The reason God commanded Abram not to be afraid was because he was fighting a spiritual battle with fear. The devil was tormenting him with thoughts about his attack on the four kings to rescue Lot. He was afraid they would return to destroy him and his family. God told him he did not have to fear them because He would be a shield to protect him and stand between him and any enemy who might try to harm him. God was telling Abram to believe all that he needed, he would find in God. When we have obeyed God, the devil cannot touch us without God’s special permission.
But why did God speak to him in a vision? Because something was wrong with what he was seeing. He was looking for the wrong way. In verse two Abram spoke to God about, “seeing I go childless.” Abram was looking at the problem rather than the promise. He was looking at an empty crib rather than looking at God.
Abram began to explain the problem to God. How many times we do the same thing and call it praying but in reality, what we are doing is explaining our problems to God. Abram explained his problem, “Look, you have given me no offspring; indeed, one born in my house is my heir!” Genesis 15:3 God assured Abram that He understood the problem and again began to correct his vision.
God invited Abram to come outside and look at something. ” Look now toward heaven.” Genesis 15:5 That was his problem. He had been looking for the wrong way, looking at himself and Sarai, and God wanted to redirect his attention. God asked him to count the stars knowing he could not do it. Why would God ask him to do something that was impossible? He was giving him an object lesson about his life. It was just as impossible for Abram to produce a son as it was for him to count the stars. Only God can fulfill His promises. What does God want us to do? He wants the same from us, to believe and trust Him. The word believe means “to lean your whole weight upon” and that is exactly what Abram did.
“And he believed in the Lord and God counted it to him for righteousness.” This verse is one of the most important in the whole Bible, for it establishes the fact that a right relationship with God is only possible by faith. We must stop looking to ourselves or others in an attempt to make ourselves righteous. The only way to be right with God is by faith.
Abram’s eye of faith became so clear he was able to see the promise of God. Jesus said that Abraham looked to see His day (he was looking two thousand years into the future), “and he saw it and was glad.” John 8:56 Abraham not only saw God giving him a son, but he also saw God giving him a descendant who would be the Savior of the world. What he saw by faith caused his heart to sing and his feet to dance for joy. But the writer of Hebrews tells us Abraham also “looked for a city which has foundations whose builder and maker is God.” Hebrews 11:10 What Abraham was looking to see still has not been fulfilled. He was looking for New Jerusalem though it was thousands of years into the future. Revelation 21 :2
Reviews for Abraham: Living by Faith – Lesson 6 The Eye of Faith