Abraham: Doing Crazy Faith

Bavaria landscape

The LORD had said to Abram, “God from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” Genesis 12:1

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, who you love–Isaac–and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Genesis 22:2

As we continue to look at what faith is, we must look at Abraham. He is considered the father of faith.

When he comes on to the scene, it shows God coming to him and telling him to leave his land, father and inheritance to go somewhere God would lead him to. Abraham (at this point Abram), listened and obeyed God. He stepped out in faith to follow God’s leading.

Abraham had been raised up in the land of the Chaldeans in Ur. His father was probably and worshipper of a false god or some idol, not a follower of God. He had lived there most of his life. At the age of seventy-five years old, God appears to him and tells him to move away to an unknown area.

Elderly man

Think about this for a moment. There was no internet in those days. Abraham was not able to look up information on where to get housing. He was not able to call ahead and find a new job to transfer to. The new area was probably an area that speaks a different language.

Along with this move, he is leaving his father behind. He was no longer carrying on his father’s occupation or caring for his land. He was, in a sense, turning his back on his family, walking away from them.

Not only was this a new location to move to, but Abraham was not young anymore. He was seventy-five years old. Keep in mind this was after the flood and God had said that man’s days would be limited to about 120 years on this earth. Abraham was well over that half way point.

This was like a mid-life crisis. He had to change homes, countries, jobs, and family after being settled for many years. Yet, he stepped out in faith, trusting God’s word to him. God promised him land and families, though Abraham did not know how this would happen yet, nor the problems that would come about before it was fulfilled.

Boy stepping out

 

First point–Step out in faith.

God has a different path for each and every believer. Some things may be somewhat similar, but they are still different roads. One thing that God wants from everybody is for them to trust Him. That is what faith is.

Although radically changes are not an every day thing, they do occur within the life of a believer, or anyone else. As you walk with God, there will be times God will have you pack up and move out to something new, something you cannot see or really dream of.

Sometimes this can be a physical move from one place to another. Other times it can be a change in lifestyle, giving up something or changing your friends. It could also be a change of careers or work. Whatever the change is, it can be difficult, but it is what God wants you to do.

Usually these types of changes do not always make sense to the normal mind. It appears to be an insane change or a step towards suicide. Yet, God always makes a path towards a greater life.

Since Abraham had obeyed God, he was blessed with a nation from his family line. He was given land. Ultimately, Jesus brought salvation to the world through his lineage. All because of a step of radical faith.

When God calls you to do something, it is for a purpose. It is to make you better, make you His witness and to build His kingdom. So step out in faith to do what He is calling you to do. Trust that He knows what is best for you in this fallen world.

The other thing that Abraham had to face was when God asked him to sacrifice his son. This was the long promised desired son and only son that Abraham was called to sacrifice on an altar. It sounded like an insane thing to do. Why would God call him to sacrifice his promised son? What good could ever come from that? Isn’t God a God of life? Didn’t He command that no one is to kill anyone? Isn’t this going against what He had commanded?

God was not looking for the sacrifice at all. He really does not care about sacrifices. God is looking for obedience. To obey is better than sacrifice, yet God called for a sacrifice.

When God asked him to sacrifice his son, Abraham immediately obeyed. The bible does not say he questioned God or had to pray about it for days/weeks to make a decision to whether he heard God or not. He knew that he had heard God and so he immediately obeyed Him.

Since Abraham had obeyed without any question, God provided an alternative to sacrificing his son. He provided a ram to be sacrificed instead of his son. God knew then that Abraham would obey no matter what God asked of him.

Abraham and Isaac

 

Point two–Obey immediately in faith. 

There are times that God still asks people to do something extremely radical and crazy. Some of those things will even appear to go against what God has previously said to do or not to do. You must know that it is God who is speaking and guiding you.

In order to know it is God speaking, you must be in constant communication with Him. You must know His voice and what He has to say. You must know His character. In order to know these things, you have to stay immersed in the Bible and in prayer.

Every time you open and read some of the Bible, you are finding out something about God. You are learning who He is, how He is and what He does. As you spend time in prayer, communicating with Him, you are learning to hear His voice. Once you know His voice, you will know when He speaks or when it is something false.

As soon as God speaks something, you must step out an act upon it. This is obedience. Obeying God immediately every time. It is not questioning God or doubting self, it is trusting God–faith. It is knowing God and knowing you can trust him.

I doubt that God will call you to physically sacrifice your son, since Jesus became the sacrifice for all. However, He will call you to sacrifice other things in your life that it is not needed. He will also put a test in front of you to see if you will fully obey Him or not. This can be found in sacrificing something that is not bad, but is dear to your heart–your treasured possession.

It is at this point that faith steps in. It is trusting God and having faith in Him that what He is asking you to do is in the best interests of you, others and His kingdom for His glory and honor.

Faith will obey immediately without questioning. It will not to try and find an excuse not to do something, but will find a way to do it.

No Fear

As I close out this talk on faith, using Abraham as an example, learn from Abraham. Learn what it means to step out in faith immediately. Learn what it means to obey immediately in faith. God will not let you down, but will carry you through whatever is ahead of you in this life and the life to come.

Do not fear, but live and act in His love for you. God is there for you and will not forsake you or steer you wrong. Be full of faith as you step out and obey God in every area of your life.

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Exodus 24:7 Will You Obey?

man with bible

Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey.” Exodus 24:7

Everyday people hear or see many different commands of what to do or what not to do. Some of the commands are so common, that most people do not even think about the, such as the command to follow the speed limit. Other commands are out there that only certain people have to deal with, such as corporate tax rules and regulations, that most people don’t even know what they are.

If most people took the time to think about all of the rules and regulations there are, they would get overwhelmed. Yet, there are many rules out there that everyone needs to obey. Most of them become second nature to obey without really thinking about it.

God had given Moses the Book of the Covenant to be read to the people. This was a list of all of God’s commands for the people to follow. After it was read to the people, all the people agreed to obey everything in the Book. Yet, it is known that almost immediately they did not obey His commands. There were too many commands.

Several thousand years later, Jesus comes up and sums all of those commands up into two simple commands: love God, love others. The question is still being asked by God of every believer, if they will obey God.

All of God’s commands begin with loving Him and loving other people. Once a believer can do that, it is easy to follow the rest of the commands.

God speaks His commands through His word, the Bible and through the Holy Spirit guiding a person in this life. He never asks a person to do anything that is impossible without His help.

The Israelites had responded that they would obey God. You have a choice to make each and every day. Will you obey everything that God tells you to do?

Take time to find out what God’s commands are to you each day. Find out what He wants you to do each day, and then do it. Trust that God knows what He is asking you to do is the best thing for you to do. God loves you and will not give any commands arbitrarily.

What is your response to God’s commands today?

I pray today that you will know what God asks of you; that you will know the commands of God; that you will trust God’s commands; and that you will obey all of God’s commands.

Hebrews 8:10 Law On The Heart, Not Paper

 

Heart on stone

This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people. Hebrews 8:10

Laws are something that people cannot really live without. Every nation has many laws put in place to govern the people. While many people will follow most of the laws without any problem, there are some laws that many people hate to follow.

It is the same in a household. Parents put into place many different types of laws (rules) for children to follow. Some children will follow the rules, while some will fight against obeying those rules.

During the time of Moses, God put out some laws for the people to follow. As one reads through the history of Israel, the people had a difficult time following those rules. They knew about the laws, but chose not to follow them.

The main reason people do not follow the laws and rules are because the laws are not really upon their hearts. The law is only in their mind. It is only a set of regulations and may go against their own personal desires.

Long before Jesus came, Jeremiah prophesied that God would place His Law upon the hearts and minds of His people. His Law would become a part of the person’s heart’s desire. It will no longer be a requirement to follow, but a desire to follow. It is as though the person wrote the law himself and so desires to obey that law.

Even in human laws, when a person loves the law or rule, he is ready and willing to obey it with no complaint. He wants to obey because he loves it.

You may have struggles trying to follow some commands God has put in place, such as to love your enemy. Allow God’s commands and laws to penetrate your heart. Learn to love God’s commands to know God has them only for your well-being. The law is not there to hold you down or harm you, but to build you up.

As you learn to love the law, you will be able to follow it with no complaints or struggles. It becomes a desire to obey and please God, not just a command or demand.

Follow God’s laws out of love, not force.

I pray today that you will know the commands of God; that you will have God’s commands on your heart; that you will love to obey God; and that you will see God is set to help you be your best for Him and others. 

Daniel 7:27 Future Power And Authority

Then the sovereignty, power, and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him. Daniel 7:27

While the nation of Israel has been brought into captivity, Daniel receives a vision of the future. God reveals to Him what Jesus will accomplish. In the end, Jesus will be the sovereign ruler of the entire world. As the supreme ruler, He will hand over all the kingdoms of the earth to all the believers. At that point, every ruler on the earth will worship and obey Him.

When a person looks around at all the nations of the world today, he will see very little unity and no one person in absolute control. There is chaos, fighting and wars everywhere one looks. Sinning against God is rampant and promoted everywhere. At times it appears as though no one is even attempting to serve God at all. Churches seem to be dying at a rapid rate and no one cares. A person may wonder if God is really in control.

Even though it seems no one is following God and that God is not in control, it is not true. God still has a remnant of believers in this world who are faithfully serving Him. Jesus had stated that the road to heaven is narrow and only a few will find it.

God is still at work to this day. He is working to save as many as possible and holding off the final judgment against all mankind. Despite what people may think, that day is coming. Once Jesus returns and judges the world, He will be in absolute control, with everyone, who is left, serving Him. At that point, all the power and authority of all the kingdoms will be handed over to all the believers. Peace and unity will reign on the earth.

As you are going through your day-to-day living, it may seem like chaos and that God is not in control. It may seem hopeless and never coming to an end. Keep your eyes on Jesus, looking for His return. There will come a day when all the sin and chaos of this world will come to an end. It is closer today than it was when Daniel saw His vision, and it is still true.

I pray today that you will know God’s peace in your life; that you will serve and obey God with all of your life; that you will know Jesus will return someday soon; and that you will be His witness on this earth.

Romans 2:13 Declared Righteous

“For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Romans 2:13

People love to talk about the laws. Some people agree with the laws, while others will disagree. There are many heated debates about the value of different laws.

This is also true inside the church. Many believers will discuss the laws of God. People like to point out the many laws of God to other people. Some seem to be able to quote all of the laws and rules of God.

The world even knows about laws. They have many laws in place that mirror many of God’s laws: do not steal, do not lie, do not cheat, do not destroy someone else’s property, do not kill, and many more. Although many know about these laws, many do not obey them.

Knowing the laws of God is not a bad thing, but it does not make a person righteous before God. Righteousness is found in obedience to the laws of God.

The challenge with the law is that if a person breaks one law, he is guilty and deserves death. Once this guilt is in place it cannot be removed by obeying it anymore. Only Jesus can remove the guilt. It is by His blood that the guilt is removed.

Do not be the one who goes around just pointing out sin in other people’s lives or quoting all the laws of God. Put your trust in Jesus to remove the sin, and point people to Jesus. Obey the laws of God.

Knowing the law will only point out the sin. Knowing Jesus will remove the sin and help you to live obeying the laws. You will need to have the righteousness that Jesus provides. Without His perfect righteousness you will never have any, since you have already disobeyed His laws and sinned.

Seek to know God and obey Him. Seek the righteousness of Jesus.

I pray today that you will trust Jesus to remove your sins; that you will put on the righteousness of Jesus; that you will not just know the laws of God but obey them; that you will know that Jesus will declare you righteous if you believe in Him; and that you will tell others about Jesus.

Acts 4:19-20 Speak Boldly What You Know

“But Peter and John replied, Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19-20

Peter and John had been telling people about Jesus everywhere they went. Some Sadducees and leaders of the temple had heard them speaking and were very upset. They were teaching things that were different from what was being taught in the temple. The leaders brought Peter and John in for questioning and to warn them. They were warned to no longer speak about Jesus.

Peter and John brought up the question as to who they should obey: God or those leaders. Then they pointed out that they must speak about what they have seen and heard. They were unable to not speak about what they know as truth.

People often do not like to hear the truth. It makes them uncomfortable because it often points out that they are wrong and no one likes to be wrong. Every person likes to think of themselves as a good person. The truth is that every person is a sinful, bad person in need of salvation.

If you believe in Jesus, you have learned this truth and accepted it. Now you must be willing to proclaim it.

In America it is getting harder and harder to speak the truth. Rules are being made to stop truth from being told. Many countries around the world already fight against the truth of the Bible.

In workplaces people are often told not to talk about Jesus. People cannot stand against sinful practices without being considered a hater. God does not hate people, nor should any believer hate anyone, but He does hate sin.

As a believer you must be willing to speak what you have seen and heard from Jesus in your own life. Boldly speak what you have heard. Boldly talk about what Jesus has done in your life. Do not be afraid of what man can do. God is on your side. Trust God and speak boldly.

I pray today that Jesus will fill you with His boldness to speak His truth; that you will boldly tell others of Jesus; that Jesus will remove any fear you may have; and that others may see and know Jesus through your words.

John 14:15 Do You Really Love Jesus?

“If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:15

Many people will claim to believe in God. There are actually very few people who have no belief in God. Yet, very few of those same people will believe in Jesus. And of those who believe in Jesus, very few are committed to Him.

Jesus makes a hard, but very simple statement in this verse. If you love Him, you will obey Him.

It is very easy to say that you love someone. Think about teenagers in high school. One boy and girl meet and instantly fall in love and tell each other that they love each other. A few weeks later something is said or done and now they hate each other. The love they had was very superficial, it was not deep true love. It is a “I love you while things are going good” or “as long as you meet my needs”.

This same type of love carries over into marriages. Divorce is extremely common among believers for the same reason. I love you for meeting my needs, not I love you for you.

Many believers also bring this same type of love to Jesus. They love Him for saving their lives and taking away their sins, not for who He really is.

If you love Jesus, you will love Him for who He is. He is God. He is the One in absolute control. He is the One who can be fully trusted.

If all of these things are true, which they are, then you will want to obey Him. To say that you love Him, yet refuse to obey Him is a slap in His face.

If you love a person, you will want to walk alongside that person. You would want to be in agreement with that person. To love Jesus, you must obey Him, to walk alongside Him and agree with His ways.

Do you really love Jesus today? Are you walking with Him or against Him? Are you obeying His commands or doing your own thing?

I pray today that you will know the love Jesus has for you; that you will learn to obey Jesus fully; that you will have true love for Jesus; and that you will trust Jesus with all you are and have.