Strong in the Faith—Part 2
Originally published in Issue 86 of Calvary Chapel Magazine
And being not weak in faith, he [Abraham] considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he [God] was able also to perform. Romans 4:19-21 (KJV)
In continuing our topic of how to be strong in the faith, we look again at Paul giving us several keys to staying strong in our faith through the example of Abraham.
Staggering Not at His Promises
Sometimes God’s promises may seem impossible to us, especially in certain circumstances. In this passage, we are reminded that Abraham has a double problem concerning God’s promise that he would become the father of the nation. Not only is Abraham’s body stricken with age, but Sarah also has a womb that will not conceive. In fact, she’s likely gone through the change of life, and Abraham has probably also become impotent. Thus the human possibilities of their having a child are greatly diminished. Yet, in spite of these two great obstacles, He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God … being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he [God] was able also to perform (Romans 4:20-21, KJV).
So God had promised to Abraham that through Sarah his offspring would come. Yet Abraham did not stagger at this promise. Now let me ask you a question: How often have you found yourself staggering at the promises of God? I do. The Bible is full of rich and precious promises, but so often I find myself staggering at those promises of God.
I think that is a real key to faith—thanking God for His promise before you see any evidence of the promise being fulfilled yet.
In 2 Kings 6 and 7, there is an interesting story in which the people of Samaria are starving but will not venture outside their walls for fear that the Syrians will kill them. It had become so bad that a jawbone of a donkey was selling for 80 pieces of silver. The king of Israel was so angry that he vowed to behead the prophet Elisha. However, Elisha prophesies that God will provide food the very next day. One of the king’s officers scoffs openly at this promise: “Look, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?” And he [Elisha] said, “In fact, you shall see it with your eyes, but you shall not eat of it (2 Kings 7:2b). The next day, the food is miraculously provided, but the skeptical servant is killed before he can taste any of it. So the word of the prophet was fulfilled. He did not enjoy the fulfilled promise because of his unbelief.
Praise God in Faith
In contrast, we see that Abraham, being strong in the faith, did not stagger in unbelief but gave glory to God. This means that he was praising God before there was any evidence of the fulfillment of the promise of God. I believe that is a real key to faith—having confidence simply because God has promised it, and counting His promise is as good as done.
Let’s imagine that we could step into a time machine and set our course for 1900 BC. We step off in Hebron, and we decide to walk to Beersheba. Just outside of Beersheba there’s this expensive tent with many flocks of sheep grazing all around on the hillside. And there, an old man sitting under an oak tree invites us to rest a bit in the shade. As he talks to us, every once in a while he stops to give God spontaneous praise. We finally ask him, “Why is it that you are so happy? It’s obvious that you are very excited about something.”
And he says, “Well, my wife, she is going to have a baby boy.” We are surprised because, well, he is sort of old, and we ask if he is sure. He says, “Oh yes, I’m sure.” We ask how old is his wife, and he tells us that she is 90. We ask how many children they have, and he says, “We don’t have any children yet, but she is going to have a son.” We ask how long she has been pregnant, and he says, “Oh, she is not pregnant yet.” At this point, we scratch our heads, and we just think to ourselves that this old man is happy, but he must surely be crazy.
But you see, Abraham believed. Being strong in the faith, he was already giving glory to God and thanking God before Sarah was even with child. Because God had promised. I think that is a real key to faith—thanking God for His promise before you see any evidence of the promise being fulfilled yet. Simply because you know that God has promised it. That’s all you need. So let’s hold on to His promises and thank Him in advance for what He is going to do in our lives as we continue to walk by faith.
All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
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