By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
- Hebrews 11:8-10
“Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One Who is leading. It is a life of faith, not of intellect and reason, but a life of knowing Who makes us “go.” The root of faith is the knowledge of a Person, and one of the biggest snares is the idea that God is sure to lead us to success.
“The final stage in the life of faith is attainment of character. There are many passing transfigurations of character; when we pray we feel the blessing of God enwrapping us and for the time being we are changed, then we get back to the ordinary days and ways and the glory vanishes. The life of faith is not a life of mounting up with wings, but a life of walking and not fainting. It is not a question of sanctification; but of something infinitely further on than sanctification, of faith that has been tried and proved and has stood the test. Abraham is not a type of sanctification, but a type of the life of faith, a tried faith built on a real God. ‘Abraham believed God.’”
- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
God is faithful to fulfill His promises. Abraham may have only had one child with Sarah, but the promise was handed down to Isaac, and to Jacob. Finally, Jacob could see his grandchildren and imagine that the children of Israel (Jacob) could indeed become like the sands of the sea.
What struck me in the Scripture and in the quote from Chambers is that Abraham simply followed where God led him. The Scripture states that he did not know where he was going.
I used to have a great sense of direction. I don’t know if I have lost it over the years or if this sense is based on magnetic fields and things get a little off the further north you go.
Many years ago, my wife asked me, “Are you lost? Can I write it down in a book that you are finally lost?”
I replied, “I am not lost. I have no idea where we are. I have no idea precisely where we are going. But I have a feeling that if I keep going this way, I will eventually recognize something.” She grunted her distrust of my statement, but about a minute later, I turned right at a red light onto a familiar street. At this point, she groaned, knowing that she would hear me say something about how I was not lost, after all.
But, would you bank everything on such a ‘feeling’ that you were going in the right direction?
Abraham, Abram at the time, left family and moved everything that he possessed, which was a great deal of livestock. He moved a considerable distance. At his death, he owned one piece of real estate, the tomb of Sarah.
Most modern thinkers would look at the life of Abraham and think what a loser he was. He did not inherit the land that he was promised. It took nine generations from Abraham, using the genealogy in Matthew, to reach Nahshon. Since Nahshon’s wife, Rahab, gave birth to Salmon, it was probably Nahshon who inherited the land promised to Abraham, that is, Nahshon and all the people of Israel.
Yet, the writer of Hebrews praises Abraham for his faith. The promise did not have to be fulfilled within his lifetime for Abraham to act upon his faith, to go where he would be a stranger.
We are each asked by God to carry out His Great Commission on earth, each in our own way. Do we have the faith of Abraham to go even when we have no idea which way to turn?
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.