Principles of Faith From the Life of Abraham – Part 8

PRINCIPLE #7:  SPEAK IT

In Genesis 16, unfortunately, we see Abram and Sarai trying to help God with the promise.  Abram was 75 years old when he first heard the voice of God.  Now he has dwelt in the land of Canaan for 10 years and still, he does not have a son.  How many of us are guilty of trying to help God or lean to our own understanding and try to fix it or make the promise happen in our own strength and in our own efforts?  But you will notice that Abram builds no altars in Genesis 16.  He does not call on the name of the Lord or seek Him for direction and guidance. When we fail to stay in constant communication with God, we get discouraged and lose faith and do as Abram and Sarai did:  try to find our own way.

So Sarai comes up with what she thought was a great idea. She says to her husband Abram, “How about you sleep with my Egyptian handmaid Hagar and I can have a son through her.” Hagar would be more than a surrogate mother, she would be a surrogate wife, a concubine. They did not have test-tube babies or the ability to implant sperm into eggs back then. The scripture says that when Hagar, realized that she was pregnant, she held Sarai in contempt. In other words, she looked down on Sarai thinking she was better than her, despising her with an attitude of “look I have done something with your husband that you could not do.” — Oooo Weee!! Hold the phone! How many wives can relate to Sarai at this moment?! You have prayed, fasted, and believed God for your husband but it seems like some other woman is able to bring out of your husband what you desperately want to see….! For whatever reason, your efforts are fruitless and barren when the other woman’s efforts are seemingly not. Sarai marches into Abram and tells him what is going on, demanding that God would judge between her and her husband because she felt that she had been wronged.

What Sarai and Abram thought was a great idea turned out to be a big mess! Now there is hurt and conflict and awkwardness in the home. Now they are responsible for bringing into the world a son that God did not ordain. But God speaks to Abram in Genesis 17:1-8. He is now 99 years old, 24 years after God first spoke to him.  God reestablishes the covenant He has made with him and redefines the promise He made to Abram and his descendants.

However, God does something else very profound.  He changes Abram’s name from Abram which means “high, exalted father” to Abraham meaning “father of a multitude,” “for I have made you the father of many nations.”  Consequently, every time someone calls Abraham’s name they are speaking forth the promise.  They call him what God says:  “father of many nations.” When someone forgets and calls him Abram, he has to remind them, “No, my name is no longer Abram, high exalted father, but Abraham, father of many nations.” God even changed Sarai’s name to Sarah meaning “Princess.” For she shall be a mother of nations and kings of peoples shall come from her.  So God was clarifying the promise that he would give Abraham a son, a seed from his wife Sarah and not from someone else.  She who was barren and is now old and well past the age of childbearing.  But God says to Abraham and Sarah and he says to you and I today:


“Is anything too hard for the Lord?”  Genesis 18:14


In one year, Abraham was holding the son of promise, Isaac, who his wife Sarah bore him. What solidified Abram’s faith was when God changed his name to Abraham, “father of many nations.” Now every time someone called his name or every time he had to tell someone what his name had been changed to, he was speaking forth what God had promised him. Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing and by hearing the word of God. The word hearing in this scripture in the Greek is in the present continual tense. In other words, it should read, faith comes by hearing and by hearing and hearing and hearing… the Word of God. Every time you hear the promise spoken with your own ears, faith is birthed and rises in your heart, even greater when it is you yourself that is saying and speaking what God has spoken and promised over your life.

Just as Abraham had to walk out all 7 principles in order to receive after 25 years what God had promised him, likewise, we too must walk out these principles in order to receive the manifestation of what God has promised us.

APPLICATION:

Began to speak out loud what God has promised to do in your life. Speak it out loud like you would take a prescription of medicine: in the morning, at lunch, at dinner, and at bedtime. The more you speak it and believe in your heart that you have received it, the quicker you will see the manifestation.

 


Mark 11:22-25 KJV

22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. 23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.


Principles of Faith From the Life of Abraham – Part 7

PRINCIPLE #6: BELIEVE IT

In Genesis 15, it seems that Abram has a slight problem with what God has promised him.  He is very wealthy in cattle, silver, and gold as noted in Genesis 13:2. So he does not doubt that God will give him the land or any other material possessions.  This is demonstrated by him turning down the king of Sodom’s offer in Genesis 14 to take the spoil after Abram and his servants slaughtered the kings that had made war against the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah and their ally kings.  It is clear that Abram trusts God to provide for him for he says to the king of Sodom in verses 22-23:


22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, 23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:


God then says to Abram in a vision, “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” But his faith falters at the promise because he has no son. He says to God in verses 2 and 3, what will you give me seeing that I have no child. You have given me no seed, so the one born in my house is mine heir. What is the point then of giving me an inheritance or giving me this land if I have no one to give it to? The steward and heir of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus.

The Lord God responded: 

Genesis 15:4-6 AMPCE


4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, This man shall not be your heir, but he who shall come from your own body shall be your heir. 5 And He brought him outside [his tent into the starlight] and said, Look now toward the heavens and count the stars—if you are able to number them. Then He said to him, So shall your descendants be. 6 And he [Abram] believed in (trusted in, relied on, remained steadfast to) the Lord, and He counted it to him as righteousness (right standing with God).


If God can do the most impossible thing that he has promised, you can have confidence that He can do everything else that leads to what He has promised as well.

God gave Abram something else to see. Genesis 15:5 God says, “Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them; and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.” And in verse 6 it says that Abram believed in the Lord, and God counted it to him for righteousness.

We must believe but it is not a sin, to be honest with the Lord and say as the father of the demon-possessed son in Mark 9, “Lord I believe but help my unbelief.”  Yes the Lord rebuked doubting Thomas because he had to see in order to believe, but the fact still remains that Jesus made a special trip to the room just so that Thomas could put his hands in the nail prints in his hand and the spear print in his side that he would no longer doubt but believe.  The Lord will do the same thing for you.  He will do whatever it takes for you to believe the promise.  God wants our faith to see and he wants our heart to believe.  Blind faith is not of God and without faith, it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6). 

Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  You may not see what is promised now but your faith sees the evidence that what is promised shall come to pass!

Lift up your eyes as God instructed Abram, and see and look at what God has promised you.  See the evidence of your faith, the evidence that God will do just what He said He will do.  Get a vision, get an image.  You can’t walk in something that you don’t first see.  You’ve got to see yourself driving the new car, living in the new home, having the new job, married to the right mate, pregnant with a child, see your family healed, see your marriage restored, see your body disease-free before you can receive it. 

For without a vision the people perish (Proverbs 29:18).

Romans 10:10 says that with the heart a man believes unto righteousness. This is what God said of Abram, that when he believed that God would give him a seed, a child from his own body, God counted it to Abram as righteousness. In other words, Abram’s faith that God would do what He promised Abram, put him in right standing with God. So with you and I. If we believe God if we believe that He will do what He has promised, that will put us more in favor with God and in right standing with Him than anything else we can do.


Hebrews 11:6

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.


APPLICATION:

1) What do you need to believe God to do in your life today?

2) Ask the Lord God to help you believe Him for what He has promised to do and to remove any doubt, fear and unbelief.

Part 6                                             Part 8

Principles of Faith From the Life of Abraham – Part 6

PRINCIPLE #5: WALK IT

After the Lord tells Abram to look up and see, he then tells him to “Arise and walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.” (Genesis 13:17)

On my job, before I retired, supervisors were required to walk their areas, get out of their offices, and go where their people were. In this way, they could see what their subordinates saw and observe what they did so that they can better assist them.

By allowing Abram to walk through the land, the Lord is asking him to “walk his area,” so to speak.  This is causing Abram to increase in faith and increase in confidence that God will do what He said.  To walk through the land is to have corresponding action to what you say you believe.  The land had not been given yet.  It was promised, for Abram was a sojourner and a stranger in the land. (Genesis 12:6 and 13:7 says that the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled in the land at that time.)

Consequently, in order for Abram and his descendants to inhabit or occupy this land, they must displace or destroy the current inhabitants.  Maybe God has promised you a new job, a new home, a new car, or a new business and when you look around the lay of the land you see other “inhabitants” occupying what God said he would give you.  Don’t get discouraged. God is not surprised at your circumstances.  He has already factored all that in.  He already has a plan to bring you into what He has promised in your life.

So pick out your car.  Go to the car lot and test drive the car God has promised you.  Go to the bank and see how much mortgage you qualify for. Get pictures of what God has promised you or ask the Lord to give you a vision or dream to show it to you in your Spirit.  Complete the resume.  Apply for the job. Fill out the application.  Go back to school.  Do the training. Write the first chapter of the book or outline.  Do what you can do so that God can do what you can’t!

Finally, in Genesis 13:18, we see once again Abram removing his tent and dwelling now in a different place, the plain of Mamre (which means strength or fatness) which is in Hebron (which means association, conjunction, joining). There he builds another altar unto the Lord.  I hope by now you notice that everywhere Abram goes, he makes an altar unto the Lord, a permanent place of prayer and worship, a prayer commitment.

APPLICATION

I hope by now you see the importance of having a constant, even daily time of prayer with God. Abram spent time with God to seek him for guidance when he did not know what to do or what next steps to take. He even sought God when he messed up and made mistakes. 

1) What time of day will you set as your time with God? (Some call it a Quiet Time.)
Treat it like a doctor’s appointment or an appointment with your supervisor. This is an appointment that you don’t want to miss or be late for. This is an appointment that you believe will bring value to your life, AND IT WILL!

2) Ask God to show you how to walk out the things He is showing you. Ask God to give you the strength and power to do what He is asking you to do.

Part 5                                             Part 7

Principles of Faith From the Life of Abraham – Part 5

PRINCIPLE #4: SEE IT

We find in Genesis 13:5-18 that the land was not able to support all the cattle that Lot had and all the cattle that Abram had. So there arose a conflict between Lot’s herdsmen and Abram’s herdsmen.  Now we must note the original commandment or instruction from God.  He told Abram to “Get out of his country, and from his kindred and from his father’s house.”  Lot was his kindred that maybe he should have left in Haran.  Now apparently Lot had become a part of his immediate family because Lot’s father, Abram’s brother, died back in Ur of Chaldees before Abram’s father even left to go to Canaan.  We can presume that Abram took on the responsibility of caring for Lot.  But if Lot had cattle and herdsmen, apparently he was a grown man at this time.  It’s time for us to let go of the grown folks in our lives.  Cut the apron strings and the umbilical cords.  Maybe we think we are helping them by continuing to nurture and care for them, but it’s time for them to grow up.

The strife and conflict between the herdsmen turned out to be something that God used to bring to Abram’s attention that he needed to separate himself from Lot.  Abram proposes to Lot that they should separate themselves from each other. Lot chooses to sojourn over in the plains of Jordan and Abram stays in the land of Canaan which is the land that God promised him anyway.

Now immediately after the separation, in Genesis 13:14-18, God speaks to Abram and tells him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are north-ward, south-ward, eastward and westward for ALL the land that you see I will give it to you and your seed forever.”

The Lord speaks to Abram now that He and Lot are separated.  God opens his eyes to see what God has for him. You see we can’t take everybody with us to the land of promise.  We can only take who God says we can take.  We need to give our loved ones over to God, especially those over 21 and able to fend for themselves.  You don’t stop spiritual warfare though as we see Abram fighting for Lot in Genesis 14 and then interceding for his life in Gen 18 when God sent angels to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah where he lived.  But it’s time to cut the soul ties.  Otherwise, you will never get to the place or even see the place that God is trying to take you to. Who in your life do you need to separate yourself from or let go of?

Not only does God tell him to look up and see the land that I am giving you but I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. (Genesis 13:16)

God is giving Abram another image, another vision, another way to see the promise, another way to see what God is saying to him.  This promise of many descendants was of particular interest to him because his wife was barren. 

We’ve got to see what God is saying.  Paul prays, that the eyes of your understanding would be enlightened that you may see. 


Ephesians 1:17-18 AMPCE

17 [For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him, 18 By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones),


God wants our faith to see.  He does not want our faith to be blind.  OPEN YOUR EYES AND SEE WHAT GOD HAS FOR YOU.  Look up! Get a vision, write it down, make it plain as Habakkuk 2 says.

APPLICATION:

1)  Who do you need to remove from your life so that you can hear from God and see what God has for you?

2) Spend some time in prayer seeking the Lord and asking Him to show you His will and plan for your life.

3) Now write it down in a journal or on a piece of paper that you can keep and refer back to you what God showed you.

4) Review God’s will and plan for your life daily and speak it out loud over yourself until you see what God has said.

Part 4                                             Part 6

Principles of Faith From the Life of Abraham – Part 4

PRINCIPLE #3: PRAY IT

We need to make prayer a priority.  Constant communication with God is essential for victory and the fulfillment of the promise.

Genesis 12:7 says that the Lord appeared unto Abram and further said that he would not only give the land to him but to his descendants.  And the scripture then says that Abram built an altar unto the Lord who appeared unto him.

Abram built an altar, a permanent structure.  This was more than a permanent place of prayer or worship. This was a commitment to pray.  He acknowledged the presence of God that appeared to him and the revelation that God gave him. So he built an altar, a permanent place of prayer and worship, to give God praise and thanksgiving. Set a time of prayer, devotion, worship, and bible study. Some call this a Quiet Time, an appointment with God.  Just like a doctor’s appointment or a weekly meeting at work, we need a consistent time and place with God. We need to build an altar. 

I heard my pastor, Pastor Daryl Arnold, teach in Acts 3 that Peter and John were in the habit of coming to the temple at the hour of prayer.  This was not something they did one time or every now and then, but every day.  The same time every day.  And as a result, they positioned themselves for a miracle.  Likewise, if we build a permanent place of prayer and worship, I believe as Peter and John, that it will position us for a miracle.

In Genesis 12:8, it says that Abram removed himself from where he was in Genesis 12:7 and pitched his tent in between Bethel and Hai, having Bethel on the west and Hai on the east.  Bethel means “house of God”.  Hai means “heap of ruins.”  Abram pitches his tent in between the house of God and a “heap of ruins.” It’s like as we say, Abram is between a rock and a hard place. How many of you reading this right now, find yourself in such a place – a difficult place –  whether it be sickness in your body or the inability to pay your bills and provide for your family? When Abram found himself in such a place, what did he do? Abram builds another altar unto the Lord and calls upon the name of the Lord.  Abram is seeking the Lord for additional direction and instruction.  And this is exactly what we must do in our difficult place! We all need a permanent place of prayer whether it’s in the House of God or in the Heap of Ruins of your life or somewhere in between.  We need to create a place and atmosphere where we can meet with God and get instructions and directions at every stage of our life.

This is what we must do.  Not walk around life blind and aimless.  We need to continually acknowledge God and seek Him for wisdom.  “Ok Lord, I did the last thing you told me, now what?”

Ephesians 5:15-17AMPCE says:


14 Therefore He says, Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine (make day dawn) upon you and give you light.            15 Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), 16 Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit.


The only way to fully understand and know what is the will of the Lord is to stay in constant communication with God.

Now in Genesis 12:10, there is a famine in the land of promise and Abram decides to take his family to Egypt because the famine was so grievous.  While there, he asks his wife Sarah to lie and say that she is his sister because he is more interested in sparing his own life, than preserving his marriage.  But God is with Abram and Pharaoh finds out that Sarai is really his wife. They get sent away from there and Abram returns back to the land of promise with his family which included Lot, his brother’s son.

In Genesis 13 upon his return from Egypt, we see that the first thing Abram does is to go back to the altar he built that was between Bethel (house of God) and Hai (heap of ruins) and he called on the name of the Lord.  Abram had messed up at the end of Genesis 12. He made a mistake and his ‘go-to’ was to go back to the place of prayer. So with you and I. When we mess up, when we make a mistake, we don’t need to RUN FROM GOD as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3. We need to RUN TO GOD like we see Abram doing here in Genesis 13:3-4. 

LESSON FROM ABRAM:  When you don’t know what to do, go back to the last place God spoke to you.

 

Part 3                                             Part 5

Principles of Faith From the Life of Abraham – Part 3

PRINCIPLE #2: OBEY IT – COMPLETELY AND IMMEDIATELY

Not only do we need to hear a Word from God but we need to act on what we hear.  Abram’s father was not blessed because he did not completely obey the will of God.  This is what James 1:22-25 teaches us.  It is only the doers of the word that are blessed in their deeds, not the hearers only:


22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.


In addition, what we learn from Abram’s father is that the half-doers are not blessed either.  We need to completely follow after God.  We need to obey Him fully if we want to receive the blessing from our obedience.

God instructs Abram to leave everything he knows and from every influence in his life, such as country, kindred, and his father’s house.  Abram’s family was from the Ur of Chaldees which was the center for moon worship.  Abram was leaving a place of idol worshippers and a people who were dead in their relationship with the true and living God to “go to a land that God would show him.” 

If Abram was obedient to do what God asked, God promised to make Abram a great nation and to bless him and to make his name great and to make him a blessing (dispensing good to others).  He also promised that those who would bless him would be blessed and those who would curse him would be cursed and that all the families on the earth would be blessed through him. 

God is making a new nation, a new people out of Abram that will believe God and trust God and have faith in God as Abram does.  The word Hebrew first appears in Genesis 14:13 and it is used to describe Abram.  It means the one who came from beyond.  This is how the people in the land of Canaan described him, as “the one who came from beyond.”  God was doing a new thing through Abram and the promise in Genesis 12:3 that says in you all the families of the earth would be blessed, points to the promise of Christ the Messiah, coming through the seed of this new nation that God is now creating.

APPLICATION:

So here is your challenge today. What has God spoken to your heart to do? Make a commitment right now to began to do it today. Take the first step! Don’t delay!

Part 2                                             Part 4