Faith; March 2, 2023

Genesis 15:6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

As Paul realized, this is one of the most important verses in the Old Testament. Long before the Law was given through Moses, the Lord sought faith, and found it in Abram. Abram’s “theology” could hardly have been very developed, but he trusted that this Being who spoke to him through his mind, his imagination if you will, was real and not just a hallucination, and that He was to be trusted. These days we’d be likely just to doubt our own sanity! I wonder just who Abram thought God was when He first told him to leave his father’s home and “go to the land I will show you?” (Genesis 12:1) We have no record of what might have happened before that to generate such trust, but the point is that Abram had it, and he was obedient. The thing is, genuine faith will always result in action, as James stressed in his letter over a thousand years after Abram. (James 4:14-25) We have no mention of action as such in this verse, but Abram had already uprooted himself and his family to travel to a place he knew next to nothing about. Because Abram had nothing else to go on, no “holy book” to refer to. God had to speak to him directly and specifically. We might think we want Him to do that for us, but the question is whether we have the faith to handle it. As Jesus said to the Pharisees, “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” (John 5:46-47) God speaks to different people in different ways, and the issue is always whether we are listening in the first place, and then whether we really believe what we hear. Rather than wish for specific instructions, we need to examine whether we have followed the instructions we have already received. The New testament talks a lot about loving God. Jesus even said that loving God was the greatest of all the commandments in the Old Testament. (Matthew 22:38) However, He also said that love was displayed in obedience. (John 14:15 and more) Exactly the same thing may be said of faith. If we are convinced that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and loving, then we will do absolutely everything we recognize Him as saying to us. Anything less would be stupid hubris.

Of course this applies to me. As I have written before, I grew up in a home where God was a given, where prayer was as natural as breathing, and I professed my love for Jesus from a very young age. However, familiarity indeed bred contempt, and I descended into that “stupid hubris” I just mentioned. I was an adult, a married father, when God finally tapped me on the shoulder, figuratively speaking, and when I turned, He had a mirror to show me, for a brief moment, the state of my soul. I collapsed in abject repentance. It was such a dramatic experience that I requested, and received, water baptism a second time (though I’m not at this point sure that was necessary). That marked the beginning of a life of obedience, still with many stumbles along the way. The only time the Lord has spoken to me very clearly in a command, it was to tell me to shut up! However, He speaks to me daily through His Word. That’s an area in which I have a huge advantage over Abram! That said, I have no excuse whatsoever for failing to obey what I hear from Him, because it’s right there in black and white, and I have His Spirit to interpret it to me. It is my prayer that I will lead others into really listening to Him through His Word, and it is my highest joy when that happens.

Father, thank You for this reminder, and for Your amazing faithfulness to speak to me. I was all set to prepare a different message for Sunday, so thank You that I hadn’t started before You spoke this to me. I do pray that everyone who hears what You say through me would be inspired to trust You, resulting in loving You, resulting in obeying You, so that Your will may be done in and through us for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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