The Lord had just told Abram that he would have an heir from his own body. Let me stop here, Abram was about 100 years old, Sarai was in her 90’s, neither one were of childbearing age. But after the Lord told Abram he would have a child, And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” (Genesis 15:5)
Abram was not yet circumcised and it was about 400 years before the giving of the Law of Moses. Abram’s faith was counted to him as righteousness...he was saved because of his faith and trust in God! Are your circumstances any further farfetched than Abram’s? I doubt it. Their bodies were dead. Nothing could bring their dead bodies back to life….BUT GOD!
Do you have the faith of Abraham or Sarah? That is a very important question. Sarah didn’t believe God so she came up with her own plan of how Abraham could have an heir from his seed. WHEN GOD GIVES YOU A SEED TO SOW, YOU BETTER BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU SOW THAT SEED!!
God had already placed that seed but it was misused. It not only caused heartbreak and strife in the household of Sarah, Abraham and Hagar, but it has been a divisive, bitter filled hatred among the people of Israel and the Middle East ever since. Ishmael became the father of twelve princes but THE BLESSING, GOD’s COVENANT was with Isaac. This is the source of the division in the Mideast that is now spreading evil throughout the world. All because “the seed” that God had given had been misused! And, yes, Abraham could have, and should have, refused to join in the plan, but the sin of Adam, not being the protector and overseer of the family, was strong. And, like Adam, he didn’t think of the consequences. See, there was one big difference. Adam didn’t know evil, Abraham did and should have been alert enough to realize that God had said that the child would be born to Sarah because she was his wife, he was in covenant with Sarah, not Hagar.
That seems like enough to make God want to give up on Abraham and Sarah, doesn’t it? But it isn’t. God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, which meant “father of a multitude of nations” and made a covenant with him! God knew that Abraham didn’t have the means to never break that covenant, but God was the one making the covenant and He can’t break (or change His mind) and cancel it. Why? Because that would change who God is. That would change His character.
This is the great stumbling block in the church today, not knowing the character of God. Therefore we misunderstand everything going on in our lives. Most people can’t even recognize if it is God testing them in their faith or the enemy attacking them! The majority of believers do not even believe that God would “test” them, or why He would test them. The ground many believers are standing on is shaky ground and it is crumbling around them quickly. We will look at God’s testing in another writing.
Can it be said of you that your faith is counted as righteousness? Like Abraham, we aren’t perfect people, we make mistakes, but do we turn to God for repentance and to be made whole again? Are we changed, transformed? Are we different now than how we were prior to salvation in Christ? I’m talking about character and heart. Is there anything really different about us?
Abraham believed God but he also had to step out in faith and take action for God’s Word to become manifested. He listened to the wrong counselors and great pain came from that mistake, but his faith in God never failed. And, God’s love for Abraham never failed. God’s love, grace, mercy, redemption, restoration, it’s all here for you and me also.
The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy “in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8) What is he referring to? There will be 5 crowns which we can receive, one of those being the crown of righteousness. I mention this because we have just been looking at Abraham and God stating that Abraham’s faith was counted to him as righteousness. Righteousness in this discussion means uprightly walks in the ways of the Lord, has faith in and trust in God for all his needs, and has a heart in right alignment with the heart of God.
You and I both know that in our flesh we fall far short of even coming close to being righteous. But, glory to God, when we accepted God as our Savior and Lord, we became a new creation. That transformation should be continuing on a daily basis as we immerse ourselves in the Scriptures and learn our true identity.
I love how Paul gives us a picture of the battle we go through daily and how to reign victorious over the enemy. “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.” (2 Timothy 2:4-5)
We definitely are in a battle, both physical and spiritual! Paul even tells us how to suit up and what each part of the armor signifies: “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:11-17)
Until each of us truly believes and understands that even though we live on earth, our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). While it is true that we need to obey the laws of the land where we live, we must be fully submitted to walking in the way of Christ, and living according to the plan He has laid out for us. That means we there are differences in beliefs between the two worlds and in order for us to be pleasing to God, we are to be obedient to the higher calling of Christ and be in agreement with the Scriptures. We cannot pick and choose which ones we like and obey those only, but to be of one heart and mind with the Lord Jesus Christ.
We will close today’s word with a word of encouragement from the Apostle Paul: “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)
Dear Abba, O what a glorious day that will be when we can throw down the crown of righteousness at the feet of Jesus! What joy there will be to know that the love we carried of Him and for Him has been pleasing in His sight! But I can’t help but think about the joy that Jesus will know as He saw all of this while hanging on the cross and it will now be forever! Father, we love You so much! We thank You that You love us too much to leave us as failures on this earth with no hope of eternity of life but only an eternity of hell. We desire to really know You in Your fullness! Your presence is glorious and gives us the food we need to continue the journey, to be Your representatives here on earth for a short time. We bow our knees before You today and lay down our burdens that we may gladly pick up our cross to follow You. This we thank You and praise You in the blessed name of Your Son, Jesus Christ! Amen.