Room for the exercise of faith
‘And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land …’ Genesis 12:7
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Romans 4:13–25
God’s promises still leave room for the exercise of faith. So Abraham found it. The land which he saw was for his seed, which was cause of rejoicing, but attended with two abatements.
(i) Though it was given to his seed, he himself had no possession, but was a sojourner in tents all his days. Yet he was not disappointed as to his own best interests; he was taught to consider this earthly inheritance as a type of a better [one], that is, an heavenly (Hebrews 11:10, 13–14). So the promises run to believers: all things are theirs; they shall inherit the earth. In the meanwhile many of them are destitute and in want of all things. Here sense is ready to complain, but faith takes up the best meaning. All things are mine so far as the Lord sees good, and I shall have his blessing with them, but my great inheritance is on high, therefore none of these things move me.
(ii) His chief [abatement] was that the promise was made to his seed, when as yet he had no child and little prospect of any, for his wife was barren and he himself advancing in years. This difficulty grew harder every day as he and his wife grew older, and though his faith surmounted it, yet it was not without conflicts, as we may gather from 15:2. In this instance the faith of Abraham is especially commended to our imitation (Romans 4:18–22). Great things believers expect in their walk with God: peace, joy, strength and sweet communion. Nor shall they be disappointed if they believe. But when they are acquainted with the evil of their own hearts and the temptations belonging to their warfare, they are in much the same situation as Abraham, who could never have had a comfortable hope of a child, if he had given way to the reasonings of flesh and blood. He waited twenty-five years and when at last it seemed impossible, then his desire was fulfilled.
FOR MEDITATION: Two considerations supported the Word and the power of God: he had promised, and he was able to perform. Apply this to yourself, poor soul. Are you saying, Can these dry bones live? [Ezekiel 37:3] Can grace and comfort ever dwell in this heart? Yes. The Lord has spoken, and therefore you may rejoice, for he who has promised is able also to perform.
SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 24 [1/4], GENESIS 12:7