“In hope he [Abraham] believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, ‘So shall your offspring be’. 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 distrust 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. That is why his faith was ‘counted to him as righteousness’. But the words ‘counted to him’ were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in Him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. ” Romans 4:18-25 ESV
Part of what I see taking place in the Old Testament is God setting up circumstances in a way so that His people can’t take any credit whatsoever. We see this with Abraham and Sarah. Their age, and their inability to have children made them totally dependent upon God to fulfill His promise to nation build through them. All along that journey, into Egypt, and then some 400 years later, out of Egypt, and across the wilderness to the Promised Land, and then taking possession of the Promised Land was an exercise in God providing, guiding, and clearing the way for them.
Abraham set the example of trusting and believing in God’s promises that were made to Him, despite what the current observations might indicate. Wow, what a lesson for us today! Too often, we look only at the circumstances around us and say, “Oh, we’re too small, we’re too weak, and we don’t have enough money…”, but God has put a work before us and called us to it. He is no less able to fulfill His promises than He was in Abraham’s day.
Not only does this hold true for His provision for us in the work of the church, but in our own individual lives in a spiritual sense as well. If God has promised us His forgiveness, and we have concrete examples of the great measure of that forgiveness, how is it that we can think that God may not be able to forgive us? If you think your sin was too great, His grace is greater. If you think you’ve failed too many times, His mercies are new every morning!
Too often we put limits on God that are of our own making. Let’s expand our understanding of who God is, and that there are no limits on His power, on His grace, on His resources and His ability and desire to keep all His promises.
By His Grace Alone,
Pastor Bruce Jacobsen