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Vacation Bible School

June 18-22, 2012

Wednesday June 20, 2012


The Genesis account of Abraham’s life records the development of his faith/from the imperfect faith of Genesis 12-13, through the growing faith of Genesis 14-17, and on to the mature faith of Genesis 18-25.

At age 75 (Gen. 12:4) Abram was commanded to leave all and go out into the unknown, sustained only by the promises of God (12:1-3). In faith he obeyed, but with an imperfect obedience. Contrary to the command to leave his ”father’s household,” he took his nephew Lot with him, laying the foundation for considerable future trouble (chs 13, 19). When Abram arrived in Canaan (12:6), God confirmed the promise that this was the land that Abram's descendents would possess (12:7), but the imperfection of Abram's faith again appeared. Although assured by God that he was in the right place, Abram deserted Canaan for Egypt in a time of famine and, still uncertain whether the Lord could preserve him in trouble, tried to pass off Sarai as his sister, hoping to purchase his own safety at her expense (12:10-20). Yet Abram's imperfection of faith did not shake the promises of God.

In Genesis 14 you get a fascinating glimpse of Abram's growing faith. Clearly he is now more aware of himself as the man separated to God from the world. He first opposed the kings (Gen 14:13-16) and then refused the world’s wealth (Gen. 14:21-24). These are plainly the acts of a man confident in the protection and provision of God. The Lord was not slow to respond in both regards (Gen 15:1). But the richness of the divine response provoked Abram to question the point of it all, for he had no son to inherit what the Lord would give him. Then the word of the Lord (Gen 15:4) came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the Lord and he credit to him as righteousness. This leads to that high moment of faith when Abram, fully aware that every human aspect of the situation was against him (Romans 4:18-21--against all hope, Abraham in hope believed. and so became the father of many nations), rested wholly and absolutely on God’s word of promise; this is the faith that justifies (Gen 15:4-6). But though Abram had leaped onto a pinnacle of faith, he was still only learning to walk in the way of faith.

Genesis 18-25 Out of this experience of becoming the new man, Abraham, and having the promises confirmed and sealed, Abraham’s faith grew to maturity. Not only did the Lord change their names, but he also changed their faith, their trust in him, their minds, and the way that they define the word impossible. Abraham came to the maturity of faith that enables him to say (22:5), “We will go.... we will worship.... we will come back”—knowing that the worship in question involved raising the knife over Isaac. Quietly the underlining of the maturity of Abraham's faith proceeds: Sarah was laid to rest within the Promise Land by her husband, who was planning to be buried there himself, awaiting the fulfillment of the promise of possession. And finally, James 2:14-23, what good is it my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?

Abraham clearly demonstrated a man of courageous faith.

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