The enemy of faith is fear. Fear occurs when we take our eyes off God to look at the circumstances and people surrounding us. When we focus on our difficulties, they get bigger and God gets smaller. When we focus on God, we realize that He is bigger than our problems.
Abram left his home and battled four kings, but still God said, “Do not be afraid.” In the middle of those tremendous victories and blessings, fear still gnawed at Abram. God had provided many things, but he had no child, in spite of God’s promise that He would be the father of a nation.
Faith is not a one-time reaction; it is a moment-to-moment journey. Abram lived this out through the worst hurt in his life. He would have traded everything for a child, but he was helpless. It’s far easier to be courageous on the battlefield than the daily grind of life. Fear can be a catalyst in the big moments, but in the face of repeated defeat and continual discouragement, it can become a cancer.
In chapter 15, Abram focused on God and responded in faith. He didn’t ignore the facts. He simply understood the reality that they represented. At the age of 85, with no child in all those years, he was beyond hope. But God pointed to the future and His promise. Abram believed “the God who . . . calls things that are not as though they were”. He trusted God’s reality rather than what he saw. (Romans 4:17-25) This is faith and it is the way God restores our broken relationship with Him.
As the years passed and Abram remained childless, old fears arose. Abram’s focus moved from God’s promise to his circumstances. When he focused on the facts, he lost sight of God. Instead of waiting on God and trusting Him, he and Sarai succumbed to fear and decided to help God fulfill His promise. The results were disastrous.
When you try to make it work, you always make it worse. Instead of giving in to fear and devising your own plan, trust God who sees you and knows your pain. Trust Him to provide, in spite of all evidence to the contrary. Don’t give in to fear. Instead, go forward in faith.
1. What additional light does Nehemiah 9:7-8 shed on God’s faithfulness to Abram?
2. What additional light does Hebrews 11:11-12 shed on Abram’s faith?
3. Read Romans 4:3, Galatians 3:6, and James 2:23-24 to discover the implications of Genesis 15:6 for you.
4. What does God’s revelation of the Hebrews 400 years in Egypt tell you about his knowledge and rule of human history?