I hope you are all having a terrific Tuesday!
As we seen yesterday, after God promised to make Abraham the father of a great nation, years passed without this promise coming to fruition. Abraham and Sarah endured a physical famine as well as infertility for many, many years. Now while Abraham and Sarah got discouraged, Abraham still had faith and poured out his discouragement to the Lord. It was then that God reestablished his promise.
Genesis 15:4-6 (NIV): Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring[d] be.”
6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
I purposely left off with Genesis 15:6 yesterday. Let us go back and take a look at it again.
Abraham believed the Lord and the Lord counted him righteous.
Abraham believed! Now, that took some real faith and trust in Lord considering his and Sarah’s age and the fact that Sarah had been barren all these years. Some of you may be thinking, “what’s the big deal? He stepped out in faith in Genesis 12.” Well, Moses wrote that Abraham went, he never said Abraham believed. I know many times I have stepped out in faith out of obedience rather than belief. I am not saying it is wrong to do something out of obedience or love for the Father. What I am saying is that somewhere along the way that faith will either turn into belief causing you to carry on or it will turn into disbelief and disappointment causing you to give up. Please notice it was not until Abraham believed that he received righteousness. It was in the belief phase that he received part of his dream.
As Lysa points out, after the leaving and famine times have come and gone the phase of real belief begins, (What Happens When Women Walk in Faith Kindle Edition, p. 42). As I said yesterday, the toughest part is getting through the famine without giving up on His plans for us. The good news is that we are now aware and we must consciously make the choices to hang in, knowing victory is around the corner.
I know some of you are asking, “how do you get to the belief phase? There is no real answer to that question and the only things I can share are things that seem to have worked for me.
1. Have an open and honest relationship with the Lord. Share your hurts and discouragements as well as praises and thanksgivings.
2. Think on the positives and don’t dwell on the negatives.
3. Read God’s word and memorize his promises. Repeat them to yourself when doubt creeps in.
4. Make up your mind to trust the Lord with the dream he has given you despite the circumstances that come your way.
5. Know your shepard’s voice. People often ask me how I know it is God telling me these things and all I can say is that I know. My spirit can tell the difference. This knowledge definitely got stronger when I was filled with the Holy Spirit, but we all can know his voice if we draw close to him. I also make sure that everything I hear lines up with scripture. God’s voice will never tell you to do something or believe something that cannot be backed up by scripture.
I am not going to lie, it took me awhile to truly believe in my calling. I wanted to believe what I was hearing, but it was almost too good to be true. Was God really going to use someone like me? Was this just wishful thinking or the real voice of God? I made the decision to step out in faith not because I necessarily believed God, but I wanted to test the waters. I remembered thinking, “let’s just see how this goes.” The more I did, the more I was blessed, and the more I believed. I faced many hardships and I am still facing many, but I am committed to seeing out this dream and I believe that is what is going to see me through the hard times coming up. I would also like to point out that just because we pass the famine phase, does not mean our trouble are over.
Genesis 16:1-4 (NIV): Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slavenamed Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years,Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife.4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
Abraham believed but somewhere along the way he felt he had to do something to help God. God wasn’t getting it done, so Abraham (by the way of Sarah) decided to do it his way. Yah, not the smartest move on his part. [For those of you who read my Proverbs 31 and Better Wife series, another instance of a woman overstepping and leading her man astray..just saying]
Notice God did not forsake Abraham here as some may think is justified. Why? I think it is because he had already considered him righteous because of Abraham’s belief. Abraham didn’t stop believing, he got lost on how it was to come about. Sounding familiar? Not only do we need to believe in the dream God places on our hearts, but we must allow him to lead us there. While God still honored Abraham and Sarah’s destinies, there were consequences for their actions and a price that had to be paid for their disobedience. Hagar and Ishmael added hurts, hardships, and complications that Abraham could have avoided had he followed God instead of Sarah.
Let us all learn from Abraham and make better choices today.
Until next time, stay safe and God bless,