People say that faith is foolish, that faith is blind, that faith is hiding our heads in the sand and ignoring the evidence. People say that faith in God is for the weak, that faith and religion is an opiate for the masses, meant to calm us down and get us through life. People say all kinds of things against faith because they say and truly think that faith is a foolish thing.
I agree. Kind of. I agree that faith can be foolish. It’s foolish for me to think that a paper airplane could carry me from Chicago to DFW. It’s blind to think that things will be better without any promise or guarantee about what tomorrow will bring. It can be hiding our heads in the sand and ignoring what we’re seeing with our eyes.
I agree with the accusations. Kind of. It all depends on what you’re trusting. It all depends on what you’re believing. It all depends where you place your faith.
This Sunday (7/2) the apostle Paul sets before us an example of faith in Abraham that I would hardly mock or ridicule. Abraham faced the reality of his life. Abraham faced the hopelessness of his situation. He faced the facts. But he placed his faith in his God who promised him, “I will keep my Word.” God even verified and ratified the promise in a solemn ceremony that sealed it with Abraham again. Look it up. It’s in Genesis 15, especially verses 5-6.
- God says: I will keep my word (Genesis 15:5-6)
This doesn’t mean that Abraham didn’t struggle. This doesn’t mean that Abraham didn’t doubt. He did. We wavered. He questioned. He wondered how and even if God was going to do it. But then God came and promised him again, “I will not let you down. In fact, I will remain faithful to you into future generations.” Look it up. It’s in Genesis 17, especially verses 4-8.
- God says: I will not let you down (Genesis 17:4-8)
But still Abraham struggled. He was facing the facts of his body. He was facing the facts of his age. He even began to laugh when God told him that a man 100 years old would have a child! How crazy is that! He wasn’t blind to the realities. Yet God came and reminded him, “I am able to do what I have promised.” God’s power and God’s promise were (and remain) greater than the realities that Abraham faced. Look it up. It’s in Genesis 18, especially verse 14.
- God says: I am able to do what I promised (Genesis 18:14)
I’m telling you all this because I want you to begin to know Abraham’s story. It’s the illustration that Paul uses in Romans 4 to teach us about faith. If you want to learn more about his story you can read the whole account of Abraham’s faith in Genesis 12-22. It will give you a depth of insight into Paul’s teaching about faith in Romans 4:18-25. See you Sunday.