(Wednesday August 31, 2016 Issue)
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
Faith is an essential ingredient - the modus operandi (the way to go) in our relationship with God whom we have not seen and yet believe in. We believe in Him because of His proven records whereby he has impacted our lives to be worthy of our praise and adoration.
The Bible teaches that “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) It does not matter how much faith one has, what is important is that we have a measure of faith, in modest or insignificant quantities, even ‘faith as small as a mustard seed.’ (Matthew 17:20) God works with that little measure of faith, to nurture it for growth.
The book of Hebrews catalogues all those great faith-operators who believed in the Word of God and acted on what it said. They did not question the rationale or the wisdom behind God’s utterances. If the word was from God, that was sufficient. God said He would send a Messiah; they believed, even though the Old Testament prophets would not see Him.
So shall your seeds be
The father of faith, Abraham, wanted a son because he had not been privileged to have one up until his old age. God “took him outside and said: ‘Look at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them. So shall your offspring be. Abram believed the Lord and He credited it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:5-6) At a previous instance, God made a promise to Abraham after he had separated with Lot, his nephew; “I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted.” (Genesis 13:16) God kept His word by giving Abraham a son named Isaac. Thus he became the father of many nations, the father whose children we all are.
The height of father Abraham’s faith came when God tested him by requesting him to sacrifice his only son that He had given him. “Take your son, your only son, Isaac whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” (Genesis 22:2) Abraham did not hesitate. “Early the next morning, Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac,” to execute God’s command, not paying heed to the consequences.
Indeed, the Word of God declares that “the righteous shall live by faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4) And so, from Abel to Samuel and more, “all were commended for their faith.” Faith has a propelling force behind it. You cannot have faith and sit idle; that kind of faith is dead. “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” (James 2:26) Faith produces fruit from what it does, its works. It can accomplish great deeds. When faith is standing on the Word of God mighty works are achieved as was the case with David when Goliath challenged the God of Israel. With real faith, nothing can stop you. There is no hindrance, no obstacle put in your way that you cannot scale, overcome or demolish. In essence, it is not you per se, it is the result of the contact with the One in whom you believe, the word on which your faith is anchored.
God desires to accomplish great and wondrous things through us in His kingdom each and every day and He needs people of faith not doubters. Faith is the remedy to doubt. Doubt quenches the action faith calls for in our lives. Faith is the basis for the testimony that we can give to glorify the name of the Lord. When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego – three Jewish lads in exile in Babylon - were threatened with being thrown into a blazing furnace for refusing to obey King Nebuchadnezzar’s orders that all should bow before his idol, the reply came instantly. “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18) Such bold faith in the face of imminent death was backed by God’s lofty display of power.
The three youngsters became four and “they were walking in the fire unbound and unharmed” to the king’s utter amazement. After their release, “They (the king and the authorities) saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair on their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.” (Daniel 3:27) The king exclaimed; “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who has sent His angel and rescued His servants! They trusted Him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God ..... for no other god can save in this way.” (Daniel 3:28-29)
God will save those who take a stand for Him in the face of adversity and strife.