“And he said, ‘Lord, God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it’?”
Like gold being transformed into 24-karat status, so is faith in our daily lives.
Did you find it hard to believe that Abraham, the “father of faith,” would ask the question in today’s Manna right on the heels of his “believing in the Lord” and having that “counted as righteousness unto him” (v.6)?
You see, we want the “Heroes of Faith” in the Bible to be bigger-than-life with no warts. We want to see them “stopping the mouths of lions, quenching the violence of fire, escaping the edge of the sword, out of weakness made strong, waxing valiant in fight, turning to flight the enemies of the aliens, receiving their dead raised to life again, etc.” (Heb. 11:33-35a).
And, we have difficulty seeing those who were “tortured. . .enduring cruel mockings and scourgings. . .wandering around in sheepskins and goatskins. . .being destitute. . .afflicted. . . and living in dens and caves of the earth” (Heb. 11:35b-38) as also being victorious.
Somehow it just doesn’t compute.
Especially in this day of “health, wealth and prosperity” gospels.
But, oh, dear Pilgrim, all of the saints of old were human just like us. They had their “frailties of flesh” and “feebleness of faith” just like we do. So, we shouldn’t be surprised that Abraham was also a “work in progress” in his faith-development, although he “staggered notat the promise of God, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God (Grk. ‘diakrino’—‘to withdraw from, separate thoroughly, oppose, hesitate, contend with, waver, doubt, etc.’) ” (Rom. 4:20).
Assuredly, he asked the question, “How will I know that I shall inherit it?”
Perfect faith wouldn’t ask that question—especially after God had already told him He was going to bless him (Gen. 12:1-3; 15:5) and be “His Shield and exceeding great reward” (Gen. 15:1). But, Abraham’s faith wasn’t perfect. And, neither is ours.
Abraham was simply asking for more “light,” even as Mary did that day when Gabriel told her she was going to bear a son even though she was still a virgin (Lk. 1:34). God knew Abraham, like Mary, would say “Be it unto me according to your Word” (Lk. 1:38) and obey Him even when he couldn’t see the next step ahead (Gen. 15:9-18; 17:1-27; 22:1-18). He knew God was/is faithful—and that’s all that matters (I Cor. 10:13; Heb. 11:8-19).
What areas in your life are you having difficulty “keeping the Faith” right now, Pilgrim? What things are weighing you down and robbing you of His joy? What pressures are squeezing you right that make you feel like Paul, who said “We were pressed out of measure and beyond strength insomuch that we even despaired of life itself” (II Cor. 1:8)? Stop even now and give thanks for His unfailing Presence and Promises (II Cor. 1:9-10; 4:7-10; Heb. 6:17-20). Then, like Abraham, “call upon the Name of the Lord” (Gen. 12:7-8; 13:18) and thank Him for giving you what you need when you need it (I Thess. 5:18; Phil. 4:4-9, 11, 13, 19).
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated July 13, 2009