Faith cannot force God to do something that he does not want to do. Faith means belief and trust in God. We trust that God will carry out his promises. We believe that he is able to do those things. So when we have faith, we receive the benefit of Godís promises.
The opposite of faith is unbelief. When people allow unbelief to rule their lives, they cannot receive the benefit of Godís promises. The author gave an example in Hebrews 3:7-19. The people in that passage could not enter the country that God promised to their nation because of their unbelief. God still carried out his promise Ė but they received no benefit from it. He gave that country to their children instead.
But Abraham had faith, not unbelief. God had promised to make a great nation from that one manís family, and Abraham believed it. Abraham became so old that he was just waiting to die. It seemed impossible for God to carry out that promise Ė but still Abraham believed.
That was how God established the nation called Israel. He did not begin it with a strong group of people. He began with one man who considered himself almost dead. But that man had faith in what God had promised to do. And so God could work in him and through him.
God gave strength to Abraham, so that he could have a son. And many families came from that first family, until the people became a great nation. They were like the sand or the stars, because nobody could count them. But long before that happened, God had promised it to Abraham (Genesis 15:5; Genesis 22:17). It was Godís plan. And he did it because of Abrahamís faith.
Next part: The life of faith (Hebrews 11:13)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.