Romans 4 talks about how Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. It says that “ . . . he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” The passage also encourages us to walk in the footsteps of faith that Abraham displayed. Let’s take a minute to look at those footsteps.
1. God told Abraham to leave his homeland and go to the land God had for him. And he did – just like that. The Bible doesn’t say that he wasted any time getting prepared or putting his affairs in order. He just went. Remember when in Genesis this took place? It’s the first thing we really hear about after the great Flood and the tower of Babel incident. As a human, what must Abraham’s impression of God have been? I would have been terrified, and definitely not inclined to obey immediately. But 75-year-old Abraham just packed up his family and took off.
2. Fast forward 24 years (during which time Abraham has been wandering all over the place, living in Canaan, visiting Egypt, having a son with his wife’s servant girl, etc.). God comes to Abraham again, with two words for him. First, the good news – a son! Old Abraham, and his old wife are going to have a child. Naturally, Abraham laughs. You would too if you were 99 and promised a son! But then, the other news – circumcision. Take a minute and consider what this meant for Abraham . . . to circumcise himself and all of his grown, adult manservants. Do you think he wanted to do this, or found any logic in this command of God? But he did it – he “did not waver.”
3. The last example I want to bring before you is the testing of Abraham. His promised son has been born, as God promised – what a wonderful blessing that must have been to him and Sarah! To see the promise of the Lord finally fulfilled! And then, God asks him to do the impossible. He asks Abraham to sacrifice his son on an altar. Theology and the nature of God would have provided Abraham with so many excuses to not obey. “But I know you’re a loving God,” “Surely you don’t delight in human sacrifices,” . . . the list goes on. And yet, through FAITH, Abraham displays a practical obedience and does what God has asked.
How can we do this? Are there times in our lives when God calls us to obey, but we resist because of the excuses our idea of Christianity gives us? I think that faith requires relationship – it requires knowing the one you trust. We have to be fully persuaded of the faithfulness of God in order to trust Him. That’s hard to do. It’s hard when you’re going through dark days. It sure doesn’t seem like God is fulfilling His promises when you’re in the heat of spiritual warfare, physical exhaustion, or emotional break-down. It’s in those times that it is most important for us to follow the footsteps of Abraham, and practically obey God’s command to trust in Him.