"Ye of little faith".
The title we often see Jesus calling the disciples in the New Testament. I have to be honest, reading the stories of how they doubted His wondrous works, or how they would see him feed 5,000 people with only five loaves of bread, and then later would be worrying about not having food (Matt. 6:8-9)- it makes me internally laugh.
Like, really? Are you guys not seeing what is going on?
Then I am automatically humbled when thinking about the many times my name has been "ye of little faith".
That moment of worrying I look back on and humbly realize, "oh, that's why God had that happen."
Again, I arrive at the conclusion that God is in control. All I know and have access to is what is in the past and what is happening right now.
But God is above time. He see's everything, knows everything, and establishes our steps before we know where to place our feet (Proverbs 16:9).
It is our lack of faith in Him that blurs our purpose and mission as followers of Christ; causing us to dwell more richly on the temporary things we see, and not the eternal things God is orchestrating behind the scenes (2 Cor. 4:18).
One man that stands out in the Bible for having great faith is Abraham. God had made a covenant with him, one that today is even being fulfilled before our eyes! The Lord promised to provide the following three things:
1. Land- That God would make for Abraham a great nation. (Gen. 13:14-15)
2. Seed- God promised a great prosperity of offspring (one being the Messiah). (Gen. 3:15, 15:5)
3. Blessing- These blessings are not just for Abraham, but are to be enjoyed by all the world. (Gen. 12:1-3)
What does God ask for in exchange?
To do what Adam and Eve didn't do - live by faith revealed in the actions of obedience.
Not only did Abraham have to wait twenty-five years for the covenant to be made after it was introduced to him, but Abraham's faith was to be stretched even further when God told him to offer up his only son as a burnt sacrifice to The Lord (Genesis 22). Take a brief pause and put yourself in Abraham's position- God had made a promise to you that through this son He has given to you while you were of old age, a nation would be made and a great prosperity of offspring would be born.
Seem's a bit contradictory, doesn't it? How would these promises begin to be fulfilled if his only son was to be sacrificed?
But Abraham had such great faith that God was going to fulfill the covenant in which He had made. Not only believing, but acting on the truth that God is not limited to human efforts to bring about what He promised. Abraham didn't rely solely on what he could see in that moment but rested his faith in who God was, knowing He had a purpose and a plan.
I love how John Piper puts it when he says, "He (Abraham) abandoned himself to the utmost trustworthiness of God to where he was ready to slay the heir of the promises."
"But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, 'Abraham, Abraham!' And he said, 'Here I am.' He said, 'Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.' And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, 'The LORD will provide'; as it is said to this day, 'On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.'” -Genesis 22:10-12
Abraham's faith showed through his obedience, and God counted it to him as righteousness (Gen. 15:6).
Although the dialogue is between God and Abraham, we see that God didn't just make this covenant for Abraham and his close descendants- but for the world.
"Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, 'In you shall all the nations be blessed.' So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith."
As followers of Christ, WE are the heirs.
The idea is that God established His eternal Covenant with the Offspring of Adam and Eve, which was Christ and we enter into this Covenant when we are placed "in Christ." The Covenant is between God and Christ and we are the beneficiaries, not the object of it.
"'And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.'” -Genesis 17:7-8
God established His covenant between Himself and the coming "offspring" promised in Genesis 3:15 who would crush the serpents head. The keyword used in Genesis 17:7-8 is everlasting covenant. Already we receive a foreshadowing of the New Covenant Jesus was going to establish with us when He came to be a substitutionary atonement in dying for our sins. Therefore whoever that person (offspring) is, they will have an agreement with God the Father that is everlasting.
"For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise." Galatians 3:27-28
There are many moments when we are put into a situation and our first instinct is to ask why. We become the "ye of little faith" and our pride causes us to doubt or question God's will for our lives. God answer's our "why" with "who"- He is God and He asks us to trust Him. Abraham had faith that God was to fulfill His covenant, and God used this small beginning of redemptive history to reach the world. He is at all times working for our good and for His glory.