Thursday, March 7, 2019
My faith seems to be backwards from Abram’s. Abram believed in the impossible but needed proof of the probable. I tend to be the opposite. When God speaks in terms and circumstances I can understand in my finite thoughts, I believe Him. It’s the hard-to-believe conclusions that give me problems.
Today’s faith lesson comes from this story in Abram’s life:
Genesis 15:7-18 God said to him, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.” But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?” So the LORD said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.” Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away. As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then the LORD said to him, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates.”
Abram believed in the impossibility of a son, and in the future Son of God that would come 1500 years later, but he could not accept without proof that the land in which he was already living would be his.
Sometimes our faith can be so fickle. What amazes and thrills me is that God meets us at the neediest point of our faith. The LORD God did not reject Abram for his need of proof, nor did he criticize him and tell him to grow up. He answered the request for proof.
There is great comfort in knowing that God does not require our faith to be perfect: He only requires that we be willing to be taught to have greater faith. I am so thankful that God is patient with us and graciously deals with our weaknesses. Imagine what a horrible condition we would be in if God were to treat us in any way other than with grace and mercy. We would live in fear and total despair because we would be constantly reminded of our failures. It breaks my heart to see the way some parents treat their children with constant reminders of failure. I see the broken spirits of the children resulting in lives of either criminal rebellion or emotional separation. So many of the drug, alcohol, and sexual addictions of our youth are directly traceable to their lack of personal value that should have been bestowed through the grace and mercy of parents. It may be because the parents weren’t present, or maybe because while they were there they didn’t model grace.
God’s grace is amazing. Even the sound of that word is sweet. His grace saved sinful wretches like us. You remember the song:
AMAZING GRACE HOW SWEET THE SOUND
THAT SAVED A WRETCH LIKE ME
I ONCE WAS LOST BUT NOW I’M FOUND
‘TWAS BLIND BUT NOW I SEE.
‘TWAS GRACE THAT TAUGHT MY HEART TO FEAR
AND GRACE MY FEARS RELIEVED
HOW PRECIOUS DID THAT GRACE APPEAR
THE HOUR I FIRST BELIEVED.
I praise God that he does not treat me as I tend to treat others, but rather meets me at my point of need and graciously meets that need. It is vital to the growth of our faith that we trust the grace of God so that we can be honest with Him about where we are struggling. Tell Him your struggles today, and listen for His response. He will confirm His promise and affirm your faith.