It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.
It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.
All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.
Just as God told Joseph and Mary to leave their homeland, God told Abraham to leave. He didn’t say where; he just said he’d show Abraham. Even though he didn’t know where he was going, Abraham obeyed. He didn’t need all the facts laid out beforehand. He simply obeyed God. Abraham lived by faith that God would keep his promises.
When God promised Abraham he would be the father of many nations, Abraham believed him. Decades later, Abraham and his wife were still childless and barren, and now in old age. Others might have given up and said God had failed them but Abraham remained faithful.
God did make a great nation from Abraham, but not during Abraham’s lifetime. Abraham could see beyond his limited life. He understood that God works things out. Abraham died still believing God’s promises because even though he didn’t see God’s promise come true in his lifetime, he knew it would come true eventually.
We tend to struggle with faith. If we don’t see all the facts laid out ahead of time or don’t see the results in a timely manner, we lose faith. It’s easy to think God has failed us, but God cannot fail. It’s our limited perspective that has failed us.
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” Even if we don’t see the evidence, we can have faith that God is faithful and his promises are true. Like Abraham, we can die in faith believing. God will make it so, even if it is after we depart this world.
Thank you, Lord, for the examples of faith in the Bible. I need the encouragement of seeing other people struggle and finally “get it” in their relationship with you. Please continue to lead and guide me, even if I don’t know where I’m going. I will trust you. When your promises don’t seem to be true for me, I will not give up. I would rather die in faith believing they will come true after I’m gone. Help me to live by faith in you.
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