Abraham’s relationship with God is pointed too throughout the Old and New Testament as an example of what it means to live a life of faith. We often talk about faith in our churches, but sometimes the idea of faith and how we live it out can be difficult to process. Lets look at a key passage in the New Testament concerning the faith of Abraham in Genesis and see if we can get a better understanding of what it means to live a life of faith.
The first passage we are looking at is from Hebrews 11. Hebrews 11 begins with a definition of faith…
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
the conviction of things not seen.”
Hebrews 11:1 ESV
After this definition the author goes on to give several examples of people whose lives reflect what it means to live a life of faith. The author first talks about Abel, then, Enoch, and then Noah and in Hebrews 11:8 he gets to Abraham.
“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.”
Hebrews 11:8 ESV
This is in reference to when Abraham was called out from his homeland in Genesis 12. When God spoke to Abraham and told him to,
“Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3 ESV)
God told Abraham to leave his home and go to some undisclosed location where God would make him a great nation. God promised Abraham blessing and protection for both him and his descendants. This is an amazing promise, but it also would have seemed like an impossible one.
Lets look at some of the context. At this point in time Abraham was 75 years old and he had lived his entire live under the household of his father Terah. Although Abraham was advanced in age he still had no children. His wife was barren and it looked like Abraham was going to grow old without an heir. Abraham probably had a lot of questions about the promise that God had given him. How was Abraham going to become a great nation when he has no children? How was he supposed to be blessed and be a blessing when he was leaving his support system? God doesn’t give Abraham the answers or the details we would expect if someone were going to pick up and move their entire life. God does not even give Abraham an address or a general location to go to.
Yet Abraham obeyed. Although Abraham had questions and the path was not completely clear he had faith that God would not abandon him. Abraham put his life in God’s hands because he knew that God was good, loving, and righteous. Abraham had faith in the promises of God and lived out that faith by aligning his life with God’s leading.
Unlike Abraham we are blessed to have the rest of the story recorded in Genesis so we know that God would miraculously provide Abraham and his wife with a son, and that God would protect him from the assaults of those who might mean him harm. As we continue to read into the New Testament we see that God blessed Abraham in more ways then he could have ever known. Abraham was promised that he would both be blessed and that all the families on the earth would be blessed through him. God fulfilled this promise most completely by sending Jesus Christ. God sent His Son Jesus Christ, a descendent of Abraham to take away the sins of the world. Through faith in Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross all of us can be freed from our sins and enter into a relationship with the God of the universe.
Abraham didn’t know how the story would end. God did not give him all the answers. Yet he had faith in God. He had faith that God was good and loving, that He had a plan and a purpose for his life, and that He would keep his promises. Abraham had so much faith in God that he was willing to put everything on the line, and followed God wherever He would lead him. Abraham is used all throughout the Scriptures as an example because he had faith in God and oriented his life around that faith. He didn’t sit on his hands when God told him to step out in faith; instead he relied on God and lived out a life of faith.
Too often we reduce faith to the ascension to an intellectual idea, or the affirmation of a truth claim. But faith in God is much more then that. Faith in God is the willingness to bet your life on His love, goodness, and righteousness. Faith is orienting our life around His promises. What would it mean for you today to have true faith in God? What would your life, your family, and your community look like if you acted out your faith? I pray we all have the same active faith that Abraham had.
Our Father in Heaven
Thank you for your promises to Abraham
Thank you for providing him as an example of true faith
Thank you for your Son Jesus Christ
Thank you for the opportunity to enter into a relationship with you
Through His sacrifice
Give me faith that leads to action
Build in me love for you and confidence in your promises
Allow me to actively trust in you when I don’t have all the answers
Allow me to follow wherever you lead
Allow my faithful obedience to be a blessing to the world around me
And make my life a reflection of my relationship with You
So that others will know and love You
In all things may Your name be glorified
And may Your will be done
In the name of Jesus Christ our Savior