The Beginning, the Character of God and Faith
Matthew 1:1-16 (NKJV)
Genesis 17:5 (NKJV)
Romans 9:6-8 (NKJV)
Galatians 3:29 (NKJV)
Acts 22:25 (NKJV)
Romans 5:2 (NKJV)
Galatians 3:7 (NKJV)
Hebrews 11:17-40 (NKJV)
Revelation 5:9-10 and Revelation 7:9-10 (NKJV)
James 4:2, 7, 8, and 10 (NKJV)
The importance of Abraham’s seed is apparent throughout scripture. We learn in Matthew 1:1-16 that the seed of Abraham was passed down from his son Isaac, to Jacob, to Judah...continuing to Jesse the father of David...continuing to Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary. That is the Hebrew lineage to Jesus.
But...the seed planted in Mary was by the Holy Spirit.
In Genesis 17:5 God made a covenant promising Abraham that he would be the father of many nations. While Abraham had other sons, the seed that would fulfill the promise was Isaac, born of Abraham and Sarah. While that is the seed of the Hebrew nation which continued through David to Joseph, the seed God promised was through faith.
In Romans 9:6-8 we learn, “But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.”
In Romans, Paul made it clear that the covenant promise went beyond Israel. It’s not that Israel couldn’t be included, but that they had a choice by faith. All who believe receive the promise by faith.
In Galatians 3:29 we read, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
For reasons that make perfect sense, the discussion about the importance of Abraham’s seed seemed to take a few twists and turns in scripture. I think that’s why Paul brought it up in Galatians 3:29. Paul, previously known as Saul was born a Jew and he grew up in Tarsus. Tarsus was a major trade hub located in what is now Turkey. According to Acts 22:25 he was a Roman Citizen which granted him certain rights and privileges.
Paul was Hebrew.
Paul was a Roman Citizen.
But...neither of those granted Paul “access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2).
From Galatians 3:7 we know the children of Abraham have faith. A person’s nationality is not an issue because by believing we become heirs to the promise.
In Hebrews 11:17-40 there are 11 examples of the faith of the patriarchs from Abraham and the son’s of Abraham who did not see the result of their faith while they were on this earth. But as it says in Hebrews 11:39-40, “And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.”
God had a plan...an eternal plan. It may have looked like it took twists and turns, but did it really?
In my mind, the important thing to note is that not one of the people listed in any of the scriptures saw what the plan was. No one saw the big picture.
In other words, no one saw this coming.
John the disciple on the island of Patmos came as close as anyone.
According to Revelation 5:9-10:
“And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”
John saw the vision of the multitudes from every nation and tribe, but he never saw it.
In Revelation 7:9-10, John saw and then wrote, “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
Throughout scripture from Genesis to Revelation, the writers believed pieces and parts of God’s plan unfolding, but none of them saw as much as we see today.
They didn’t have a handy pocket Bible.
Computers weren’t invented.
Computer programs that have tools for us weren’t even fathomable.
Yet, even having all those advantages we still need faith today. What we need isn’t a lightweight “oh, sure I believe” kind of faith. We need the kind of faith that will help us sort through the “busy” and “noise” of our world. We are faced with hard questions and even harder answers.
We need faith that can move the mountains in our lives, and amidst the ‘clamor and clang’ of our lives, it’s difficult to hear and see the way.
As I write this I think of Abraham and the promise of the seed. What I know is that the faith wasn’t something Abraham created in his mind. It was much greater than anything he could imagine. God gave him the faith because God is faithful to His children. We do not need to conjure up or create the faith we need. Just like God gave it to Abraham, God will give it to us.
In James 4 there are phrases like, “you have not because you ask not” (2c), “submit to God” (7), “draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (8), and “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (10). All of those phrases give us our answer. We need to ASK, submit our requests, draw near to God, and let God lift us up,
We do not HAVE faith in and of ourselves. God created faith; and God is faithful.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Turn to God
Ask God to give you the faith you need. ASK.
In God, Deborah