PREPARATION FOR THE FAST
the great Faith of abraham
12:1–9, 15:1–6; Romans 4:19–21
He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
Abraham’s faith was an informed faith; it was not a faith divorced from reality. He weighed the facts carefully. He contemplated his own body. He recognized how old he was and how barren Sarah was. He was aware of the odds against their having a child. But through his careful analysis, he never became weak in faith. The promise of God carried more weight than his circumstances—as hopeless as they seemed. “Under utterly hopeless circumstances he hopefully believed.”
“Abraham did not shut his eyes to these unfavorable circumstances; he took them into careful consideration. But when he set them over against the promise of God, he found that the certainty of God’s ability and will to fulfill his promise outweighed them all.”
Faith does not deny reality, but it does acknowledge that there is something more real: God’s Word. This is not always easy, especially when we are bombarded with contrary circumstances. But it is how faith works. As Martin Luther said:
“It is a quality of faith, that it wrings the neck of reason and strangles the beast. But how? It holds to God’s Word, and lets it be right and true, no matter how foolish and impossible it sounds. So did Abraham take his reason captive and slay it, inasmuch as he believed God’s Word.”
Great faith confronts adversity and overcomes it with the Word of God.
What was so remarkable about Abraham’s faith as described by Paul in Romans 4:19–21? Why do you think that an informed and realistic faith is difficult for people to understand? Have you encountered the challenge of having to face facts squarely in the eye without losing faith? What did God teach you in those circumstances?
When was the last time you received bad news? How did you respond? How should you have responded? What can you do to ensure that the next time you hear bad news, you will respond in faith?
Confession of Faith
Adapted from Romans 4:20–21; Mark 9:23; Matthew 9:29, 17:20; Romans 1:17; 1 Timothy 6:12; Proverbs 6:21–22; Psalms 40:8, 119:89, 119:160, 138:2; Hebrews 10:16.
I respect the promises of God, and I do not waver in unbelief. I am strong in faith. I give glory to God. I am fully assured that what you promised, you are able to perform. All things are possible to me because I believe. It is done to me according to my faith.
The righteous shall live by faith. I have faith the size of a mustard seed, and nothing is impossible to me. I fight the good fight of faith; I take hold of eternal life; I make the good confession.
I bind your Word on my heart; I tie it around my neck. When I walk about, it will guide me; when I sleep, it will watch over me; when I awake, it will speak to me. I delight to do your will; your Word is within my heart. For you made this covenant with me; you put your Word upon my heart and wrote it upon my mind.
Your Word is settled forever in heaven. You have magnified your Word according to your name. The sum of your Word is truth, and every one of your righteous ordinances is everlasting.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
“The first tool God has given us to strengthen our faith is the Bible . . . If our faith isn’t rooted in the Bible, it will wither like a plant pulled out of the soil.”
—Billy Graham, American Evangelist