Abraham Believed God

Hebrews 11:8‑18  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Such a thing as personal connection with God would never have entered into our minds unless He had revealed Himself. We see in Abraham's history how God comes to him, and introduces Himself as a living Person to his soul, drawing him out of his own country and from his own kindred after Himself. Henceforth all Abraham's associations were to be with the living God, who promises to be to him a shield, and his exceeding great reward. Abraham had nothing to act upon but faith in God's word. What a fool he must have appeared to his worldly relatives, leaving all at the bidding of One whom he did not see, and in whom they did not believe.
All went well with him as long as he trusted in God to act for him, but when he tried to arrange matters for himself, it was all failure. We see this in his taking Terah and Lot with him; God never called them out, the word was, "Get thee out of thy country and from thy father's house." Abraham did not leave all, so he had to stop in Haran till Terah dies, and is at last obliged to desire Lot to separate himself from him; after that we find progress. Mark in the 8th verse, when called to 'go out, Abraham obeyed, not knowing whither he went.
This was a trial to which God put his faith, for the testing of it. Nothing tries human nature so much as uncertainty; we can bear anything rather than be kept in suspense; there is relief in the worst certainty.
But that is just God's principle of acting with us: He does not want us to know beforehand how and when His promises are to be made good to us, for then there would be no exercise of faith.
God told Abraham that his seed was to be as the stars of heaven. How was this to be, seeing he had no child? Everything but that he had got, silver and gold, flocks, tents, and three hundred trained servants. But who was to inherit all this? Naturally this question would often suggest itself. Poor Sarah tried to help him out of the difficulty in her way, by smuggling a child into the house; but it was not an Isaac, a son of promise.
How we see ourselves in Sarah! We have no patience to wait God's time for giving, so we put forth our hand and take, often to our sorrow and spiritual loss. Had we just kept hanging on God, He would have given us something far better than the thing to which we had helped ourselves in our impatience.
From the 9th verse we see that the pilgrim and stranger character was kept up-dwelling in tents; houses are for Canaan, tents for the wilderness. God's dwelling in the wilderness was a tabernacle or tent, in Canaan a temple. Abraham kept true to the pilgrim character, Lot did not. He pitched his tent first toward Sodom, afterward had a house in it, and sat at the gate. What a place for a child of God to settle in and receive honor!
Abraham had his eye on a far different city, "whose builder and maker was God." Meanwhile he was satisfied to live in a tent, with God for his portion.
When tested, Abraham refused to take anything from the king of Sodom, from a thread even to a shoe lachet, lest he should say, " I have made Abraham rich." The very next thing we find is God saying to him, "I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." Whenever we are enabled to surrender what nature clings to for Christ's sake there is blessing in a clearer revelation of Himself to the soul: as it were, room is made for the Lord by the displacing of lower objects, and the promise of John 14:2323Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23) is made good in our experience" If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."
What a wall of fire the Lord is round the soul that is separated to Himself! He plants the blood of Christ right behind us. Has He spoken to us of His glory, and told us of the glories awaiting us as fellow-heirs with Christ, and shall we turn back and mind earthly things I Shall not His country be our country, His associates our associates, while we are waiting in strangership down here, confessing ourselves pilgrims by our walk and ways, showing by our blessed independency of all the good things which nature esteems so highly, and our indifference to the attractions by which so many are dazzled and blinded, that we are passing through this scene in haste to a better country, choosing nothing for ourselves, but receiving all as God's Gift?
Does anything bright offer itself? Our first question should be, Does my Father give me this? if not, I don't want it. If I am a true pilgrim, I won't be thinking of settling down in a world like this; I will say, That can't be God's gift for me; it is not good enough; He has prepared for me a city; I am going home; meanwhile I want to keep my mind and heart free for Him who gave Himself for me.
We never read of God being the God of Lot; not but that He was Lot's God quite as much as Abraham's but He could not associate His holy name with Sodom, of which Lot was a citizen. He is not ashamed to be called the God of pilgrims and strangers, and to associate His name with theirs.
The trial to which God put Abraham in offering up Isaac was very remarkable. He wanted to see whether he was hanging all his weight on the promise or not. He tries us often in the same way. How blessed when the faith He has given, when tried, is not found wanting!
In many ways our faith is tested. Do we know what it is to be kept in suspense? When we put forth a- single thing to help ourselves, God just moves it out of His way, that He may work unhindered.
Walking with God, what is it? To bang on His word often kept in suspense-but taking nothing till He gives-living as a pilgrim and a stranger, looking on the glory beyond. Happy experience I The Lord grant it may be ours!