17 As it is written, I have made you the father of many nations. [He was appointed our father] in the sight of God in Whom he believed, Who gives life to the dead and speaks of the nonexistent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed. 18 [For Abraham, human reason for] hope being gone, hoped in faith that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been promised, So [numberless] shall your descendants be. 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered the [utter] impotence of his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or [when he considered] the barrenness of Sarah’s [deadened] womb. 20 No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God, 21 Fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised. 22 That is why his faith was credited to him as righteousness (right standing with God)
When we read the story of Abraham, it is His life summarized in a few chapters in Genesis. It is really just a story. But stop a minute and think about the details of the man’s life. One fateful day, going about his business, when he was already seventy five, He hears a voice in the sky (God) that asks Him to leave familiar territory- his homeland, family and all he has ever known and leave for an unknown destination. Abraham believed God and moved his family and belongings. What would you do?
God promised Abraham He would make a great nation out of him and bless him abundantly. I guess that was what motivated his obedience. There was something in it for him. However, many years down the line, it seemed like he was just wondering about in the desert- from Haran, to Sechem, to Bethel, to Ai, to Negeb. There was a famine and had to go to Egypt. In fact, the king in Egypt wanted to take Sarah, his wife. He had his bad moments. Yet he kept going and trusting the Lord. What would you do?
There was this issue of a son, without which there could be no nation. He was wealthy but there was no heir and so there could be no nation. Sarah came up with this ‘brilliant’ idea to have a son through her maid. That is what we all tend to do, help ourselves to make it happen. Then comes Ishmael and the issue of an heir seems to be solved, but God says ‘no’. That is not the one, I still have my ‘joker’. He is coming. Abraham was getting older and Sarah no longer had the ability to have a baby. But Abraham believed God and even went into covenant with Him. The promise could not be broken. What would you do?
Eventually when he was a hundred years old and Sarah was ninety, they had Isaac, just like God promised- after twenty five years of walking with God. But His faith did not end there. At some point when Isaac was a grown young man, God demanded him for a sacrifice. Not as a baby, or as a boy, but after he had lived with him many years and enjoyed a relationship with Isaac. Yet again Abraham had to trust God. Put yourself in his shoes, what would you do? The one thing he had waited so long for, he had enjoyed for some years was being asked of him. I am not so sure I could do it, but he was prepared to do it. In fact he had done it, in his heart. Why? Because he figured God could bring Isaac back to life if the need arises. Then God called out and the ram was provided. Is it any wonder that he is called the father of faith? He pleased God.
There are moments in my life when I have had to make tough decisions like Abraham. I would have sleepless nights trying to decide. It is at such times I realize that Abraham must have had agonizing times making those decisions. I have never been asked to give up my children, but I have had to let go of things that were precious, of attitudes and beliefs I had lived by, or friendships that mattered or things I wanted so badly, just because the Lord required it of me. That is what I call difficult times for the believer. They will always come, if your faith is worth anything. I take comfort in the Abraham story- he did not waver at the promises God made to him. I hold on and I am yet to see when God has failed me. It was always for my ultimate good. Abraham believed that God was able to do as He said. And he got the promise- a great nation. Faith works. Hold on in faith. God is able. CK