The Faith of Abraham

Published by DonDavidson on

In these posts I have talked about faith before.[1] And with good reason, because faith is one of the cornerstones of Christianity. We are justified before God because of our faith.[2] Indeed, the author of Hebrews tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please” God.[3]

In chapter four of Romans, Paul sets up Abraham as an illustration of a man of faith, using the example of Abraham’s reaction when God told him that his descendants would be like the stars,[4] even though Abraham was then old and childless, as was his wife, Sarah.[5] Quoting Genesis 15:6, Paul notes that “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[6]

I’m sure Paul had his reasons for using that example, and it probably had a lot to do with the language of Genesis 15:6. However, I’ve long felt that there are much better examples of Abraham’s faith that Paul could have picked. One was Abraham’s reaction when God told him to sacrifice Isaac, his only son.

Yet my favorite comes from Genesis chapter twelve. Abraham was living in Haran at the time, which was a town in what is now southeastern Turkey, and he was already seventy-five years old.[7] Then God told him:

Go from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;
And I will make you into a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing;
And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.[8]

According to Google Maps, this was a journey of more than 500 miles. On foot. For a seventy-five year old man, that must have been very trying, especially since he had to make the journey with his sixty-five year old wife, his nephew Lot, and all of his possessions, leaving just about everyone and everything familiar behind.

Yet Abraham did it without question or hesitation. He simply went because God told him to. Now that’s faith. And it’s one reason why Abraham became an example of faith for all of us.

[1]. For example, I wrote a 2-part series on faith in April, 2022, and I talked about faith vs. works in June, 2021.

[2]. Romans 3:28

[3]. Hebrews 11:6

[4]. Genesis 15:4-5

[5]. Genesis 12:4, 15:2, 17:1, and 17:17.

[6]. Romans 4:3

[7]. Genesis 11:31 and 12:4

[8]. Genesis 12:1-3


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