We often talk about Abraham as being the “father of the faithful,” but have we ever thought about just how faithful Abraham really was? Usually, faith is built on trust and trust is developed from prior experience. But, when we read of the initial encounter the Lord had with Abraham, it seems that there was not much of a track record between the Lord and Abraham prior to that time! In Genesis 12:1-4a, we read: “Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ So Abram went, as the LORD had told him.” (ESV) Abraham or Abram as he was known at that time, left home in obedience to the word of a God he had only recently met and had had no prior experience with! In our day and time and in our culture, it is considered foolish and ill-advised to trust someone you don’t know or someone you just recently met! (However, we do this all the time, every time we get on an airplane and into a taxicab!) Yet! Abram believed God and left home based on the promises of a God he hardly knew and just had recently met! That was incredible faith!
But if you think that was incredible, look at the text again! Not only did Abraham leave all that he was familiar with for the unfamiliar, the Lord told him to go to a land that he would be shown! In other words, not only did Abraham leave home in obedience to a God he hardly knew and had no real experience with, he left home, not knowing where he was going! The Lord didn’t tell him a specific place to go! No! The Lord told him to leave and the Lord promised to show him where he was going as he was going! Oh my! Most of us wouldn’t dare leave home until we at least knew where we were going! But the incredible faith of Abraham is shown in the last words of the passage we selected: “So, Abram went, as the LORD had told him!” Wow!
Now, when we look at the faith of Abraham, it is incredible in its own time and context, but it is even more incredible when we compare it with the faith we should have in our day and time! Abraham had little or no prior experience with the Lord, yet Abraham believed God! We have the witness of Abraham, and many other biblical examples, in addition to the authority of Scripture, yet many of us struggle to believe God! Abraham trusted a God he hardly knew and had little experience with, yet we know the Lord through the testimony of the Bible, the testimony of the saints of old, and through our own personal experiences, yet often, we still struggle to believe God! In addition to all of that, we have the witness and the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within!
We struggle today with the simple elementary stuff when it comes to the things of God! But the Lord is looking for people of strong faith so that mighty exploits might be done through them! But, it’s hard to do big things with people who have little or no faith! We have the witness of Abraham and all the saints of old! We have the witness of those who have gone on before us in our lifetimes! We have the witness of the Bible! We have the redemption from sin, purchased by the life of Jesus! We have the indwelling witness and power of the Holy Spirit within! Abraham had none of that, yet the faith that Abraham had back then, still far exceeds the faith that many of us have today! Abraham had incredible faith! But, with the advantages of historical witnesses, biblical revelation, salvific redemption, and spiritual infusion, our faith today should be even more incredible than Abraham’s!