Covered: Nehemiah 7-12
Not Covered: –
Scripture Memory: Faith – Hebrews 11:6; Romans 4:20-21
Colonel Hannibal Smith’s famous line from the television show The A-Team is – “I love it when a plan comes together.” Well, that’s exactly what we see this week in our Chapel Bible Plan! This week’s passage and memory verses line up perfectly for where we are in our Heroes message series (if you’ve missed any of this series catch up here). What excites me is not only does this week line up with the topic of faith and the memory passage from Hebrews 11; it even hits our character for the week – Abraham.
Hebrews 11 is known as the “Hall of Faith” since it lists the heroes of faith from the Old Testament and how they lived lives of faith. It consists of the likes of Noah, Abraham, Rahab, David, etc. As amazing and engaging as some of these stories are, they aren’t the main idea of the chapter. The bottom line the author of Hebrews wants us to understand is found in Hebrews 11:6.
6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (NIV)
Faith is the only way we can truly please God. We can do all sorts of good deeds – feeding the hungry, saving baby turtles, volunteering in the Kids Department at church, giving to others generously, etc. but none of that matters if we don’t have faith. Faith and faith alone is how we please God.
Which begs the question – what exactly is faith? There are lots of different definitions, explanations, and interpretations as to what faith is, LOTS. But I believe the best way to understand faith when we look at Scripture and the lives of those considered “heroes of the faith,” the best way to define/understand faith is this – faith trusts God’s promise, plan, and power.
We see this clearly illustrated in our second memory verse for this week – Romans 4:20-21.
20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. (NIV)
God promised Abraham that He would make his name great, make him into a great nation, and all nations would be blessed through him in Genesis 12:1-3. This was quite a big promise considering Abraham and his wife Sarah were childless at the time and were at the ripe ages of 80/70, respectively. Yet despite all of his questions and all the perceived barriers, Abraham believed God’s promise. There were bumps along the road, but for the most part, Abraham believed God, and twenty years later, he and Sarah had a son – Isaac.
The real showing of faith for Abraham came about a few years after Isaac was born when God asked Abraham to do something that just didn’t make any sense at all – sacrifice his one and only son. Not only had Abraham and Sarah waited YEARS to have a child, God shared with Abraham that the promise of blessing/nation would be fulfilled through Isaac. And now God is asking Abraham to kill Isaac? What exactly is God up to?
There’s no doubt Abraham was asking the same questions we are, but when we read the story in Genesis 22 he does exactly what God told him to do. HOW? He trusted God’s promise, plan, and power. Even though he had no clue what was going to happen, Abraham knew all of this rested on him trusting God. He had seen God be faithful to His word and His promises over and over, and he allowed that to push him to trust God even when it didn’t make sense and led him into the unknown.
Abraham didn’t have a step by step plan outline to show him what God was going to do, but he trusted that God not only had a plan but that it was the best/right plan and would be accomplished. Hebrews 11:17-19 tell us that Abraham was fully expecting for Isaac to die, but that he trusted in God’s power to raise him from the dead.
This is what faith looks like. Trusting that God is who He says He is. Trusting in His promise, His plan, and His power. And since Abraham trusted God, not only was Isaac saved, but also Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness.
Now the beautiful thing about this story of Abraham and faith is we are actually able to look at life through a different lens than Abraham. Abraham was trusting in God’s promise, plan, and power in expectation and hope. Abraham had seen God show up in different ways along his faith journey, but the ultimate promise of the blessing for all nations through him – the Messiah and Savior – was never fulfilled during his lifetime. He never saw it fulfilled.
But we have.
Jesus IS God’s promise, plan, and power. The promise God gave of a Savior in Genesis 3 is Jesus. God’s plan, from the very beginning, for redemption, is Jesus. God’s power to forgive us of our sin and make us right with Him is Jesus.
So what is faith? Trusting God’s promise, plan, and power. Faith is trusting in Jesus.
So this week:
- How can you live a life of faith?
- How can you trust Jesus, no matter what?
- What areas of your life seem rocky and unknown?
- How can you look at the empty tomb of Jesus and let it push you to trust God’s promise, plan, and power in those areas?
Written by: Andrew Bates
Photo Credit: Raechel Romero