Romans 4 speaks about the steps of the faith of our father Abraham. One thing that has become very clear to me is that faith is not a static condition. It’s not sitting on a church pew and saying, ‘I’ve got it.’ Faith is a walk in which one step follows another. Abraham is called the father of all of us who believe – if we walk in the steps of his faith.
Abraham’s faith was progressive. If you go from Genesis chapter 12 to Genesis chapter 22, you see the various progressions of Abraham’s faith. In chapter 22 his faith came to its grand climax. But what he did in chapter 22 he could never have done in chapter 12. His faith came to that climax because every time God said, ‘Step,’ he stepped. Every time God gave him a challenge, he accepted. So his faith was progressively built up.
The Epistle of James says, ‘By works, his faith was developed and made mature.’ Faith is received as a gift but it’s matured by walking in steps of obedience. However, Abraham was human like the rest of us. He too made his mistakes.
God had promised him a child of his own, but the promise tarried. Finally Sarah said, ‘If we’re ever going to have a child, we’d better do something about it.’ When we deal with God, some of the most disastrous words that we can ever utter are, ‘We’d better do something about it.’ Abraham took his wife’s advice and had a son by Sarah’s maid, Hagar, and they called him Ishmael. Later, Sarah herself gave birth to Isaac – the child whom God had really intended her to have all along. By the irony of history the descendants of Ishmael now stand as the great barrier to the descendants of Isaac returning to their promised inheritance.
History could not teach a plainer lesson: It is disastrous to grasp for a God-given inheritance by carnal means. When you decide you’d better do something to help God, God help you!
This Reflection is taken from: