Written and preached by David P. Nolte

GENESIS 12:1-5

A couple I only know of by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Hammer were missionaries to Thailand. There they faced innumerable obstacles and fierce opposition. There were few visible results of their efforts but they were of a firm resolve to serve Christ and stuck to the work. They lived by Paul's words to the Corinthians, "for we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NASB). They believed God more than they believed their experiences or senses. They believed that God had sent them to Thailand to share the love of Jesus Christ, so in faith they ventured to this field of service. They wanted to walk in faith and knew that to do so demanded absolute trust and obedience. Abraham is another example of one who walked by faith. What does it mean, and what does it require, for any of us to walk by faith? There are three essential elements. Eliminate any of them and you cannot walk by faith.

    1. In verses 1-3 the command and the promises attached to Abraham's faith:
      1. The command: "Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you;"
      2. The promises:
        1. "I will take you to a certain land, a definite place of My choosing."
        2. "I will bless you and you will become a great nation."
        3. "I will curse those who curse you."
      3. The faith: "So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him;" He believed God and acted on it.
    2. But why did that take faith? How is that believing God?  Notice the difficulties in obeying God's commandment:
      1. Loss of security: he was told to go blindly out of all he had known to a place he had never heard of by a way he had never gone. But he believed that the command of God was right and good.  And we are reminded that:
        1. " ... Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." Romans 4:3 (NASB).
        2. "By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;" Hebrews 11:8-9 (NASB).
        3. Are you willing to step out of your security, your comfort zone, to go where ever God sends you because you believe Him?
      2. His advanced age: he was 75 years old. Most of us who live that long will be retired by that age. We will be pretty settled somewhere. We will not be seeking a new career or a new adventure. God might call us to a new career or adventure, and it will take faith to pursue it!  Are you ready to believe that God can use you no matter how old, young, rich, poor or whatever you are?
    3. Though all that was humanly reasonable was against it, though a humanly prudent person would have argued otherwise, though it might seem safer and saner to stay put, Abraham believed God and that put him right in God's eyes.
    4. So how is it with you? Have you decided to just believe God against all other counsel or opinion or reasoning? We all have to make that decision; we will believe God or something else! There are certain strong challenges to faith:
      1. Circumstances: When dire, unpleasant, circumstances arise: our health fails, our finances are in a shambles, our hopes die, our dreams become a nightmare, our marriage is on the rocks, our job is down the drain, our kids disappoint us and life is generally the pits, will we still believe God or will we believe the circumstances?
      2. Unbelievers: when liberals and rationalists and cultists and atheists hurl their taunts and disbelief at us; when they assail the credibility and reliability of God's Word; when they challenge our faith, will we still believe God? Will our faith fail us? Will we still hold true. Will we believe God or the unbelievers?
      3. Our own understanding: Sometimes we have fixed ideas of what God can, should, and will do; when he steps out of that box and acts outside the confines we set for Him, will we believe God or our own understanding?
The Hammers believed God. They refused to despair regardless of how hard the way. Mrs. Hammer stated her desire as "to plow a furrow for God." They stuck to the work, they believed God and they trusted Him for daily provision, for any success they might achieve, and for protection. That's how Abraham believed God; and his faith had a result in life. Faith always does. Because He believed God, he trusted God.
    1. The two: belief and trust go together as the proverbial horse and carriage and love and marriage. Actually you don't truly believe God if you don't trust Him. How do we see that working out with Abraham?
      1. He trusted God to provide a good place for him and his family. He went out blindly, but he walked by faith, not sight. God knew the place and the way; Abraham trusted Him.  Do you trust God to provide for you?
      2. Abraham trusted God to make a mighty nation through him. Later, though he was asked to sacrifice his son Isaac on the altar, though it was through Isaac the promise was to be fulfilled, he trusted God. God did not allow Abraham to actually offer Isaac but Abraham believed that if he slew Isaac, God would resurrect him. "He considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead; from which he also received him back as a type." Hebrews 11:19 (NASB).  Do you trust God to do great things through you?
      3. Abraham trusted God to bless him. Though there were trials in his life and failures on his part, his confidence, his trust in God proved his faith.  Do you trust God to bless you?
    2. You see, Abraham walked by faith because he had confidence in God; he trusted God; he relied on God to do what God said He'd do. The only guarantee: God's Word; but that was enough for a man of faith.
    3. Here's what ought to be our motto: "God said it, I believe it, and that settles it!" We ought to trust God first, last and foremost; we ought to trust God, period.
      1. Trust Him for our daily needs: financial, material and physical needs..
      2. Trust Him for our strength to do what we must do.
      3. Trust Him for guidance when we are confused and bewildered.
      4. Trust Him for forgiveness of sin.
      5. Trust Him for eternal life.
    4. Everybody has faith; everybody trusts somebody or something:
      1. We trust doctors to treat us properly.
      2. We trust our spouses to be faithful to us.
      3. We trust mechanical things: automobiles, airplanes, elevators.
      4. We trust our friends.
      5. We ought to trust God.
The Hammers trusted God implicitly. In 1992, the "Prairie Overcomer," a missionary news letter, reported that she had been cruelly slain by a crazed heroin addict. In her last letter to a friend, she had quoted a poem that described her desire to believe, trust, and obey God no matter what the cost. So Abraham believed God, trusted God, and then, naturally, did what God commanded Him to do.
    1. Belief and trust are always accompanied by obedience. "By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going." Hebrews 11:8 (NASB)
    2. It is clear that we don't really believe or trust if we don't also obey. Disobedience says, "You don't know what is best for me; I know a better way; I'll go my own way; I won't go Your way; my judgment is better than Yours."
    3. Think of it like this. When it comes to your doctor, you may believe that he is competent and well educated; you may trust him to make a proper diagnosis and program of treatment; but until we act on his instructions that belief and trust are shallow and meaningless. The same holds true for God's commandments. Obedience is proof of faith. To quote Paul Harvey, "If you don't live it, you don't believe it!"
    4. So, how crucial is obedience? How important is submission?
      1. "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." John 3:36 (NASB).
      2. "And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him." Acts 5:32 (NASB).
      3. "Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?" Romans 6:16 (NASB).
      4. "And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation," Hebrews 5:9 (NASB).
Abraham believed, trusted and obeyed God.  Mrs. Hammer obeyed God and died for it! She lived and died by this poem she sent to her friend: "My hand is on the plow, my unfaltering hand; but all in front of me is untilled land. The wilderness and solitary place, the lonely desert with its interspace. The handles of my plow with tears are wet; the shares with rust are spoiled, and yet, and yet, out in the field, never let the reins be slack; my God! My God! Keep me from turning back!" To please God we must walk by that kind of faith: faith that never turns back! Biblical faith is always belief, trust and obedience. Will you walk by Faith? Will you believe God? Will you trust God? Will you obey God? Faith is the victory that overcomes the world; but to experience that faith; to know that victory, we must believe, trust and obey.
Story from unidentified source

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