Faith of Abraham

(From a recorded sermon of Bro. Julius Adewumi, Night Vigil, 7/8/95)

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen." (Heb.11:1)

I want to talk about the faith of Abraham today. Talking about these elders which were listed in this chapter, let's ask ourselves these questions: what did they do differently? How did they behave, and how were they able to do something wonderfully which made God list them as men of faith? They all had good report.

Faith is the expectation that what God had said shall take place; we are just waiting to see it manifest.

"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place, which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed. And he went out not knowing whither he went.

By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country; dwelling in a tabernacle with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise." (Heb.11:8).

Let's look in the book of Genesis for further aspects of this faith of Abraham. Why do we call this one "faith"? What did Abraham do that was special? The Lord gave me three points I want to show in this sermon about this faith of Abraham. These points are for us to meditate on. What can we learn from this record of Abraham? The first point I was made aware of is the following:

1) God's calling on someone's life will sometimes come when it will make sense. When it will make sense to you, that is when God will call you often times. In Genesis chapter 7, let's see how God called Abraham. God told Abraham to leave his country and his father's house and come to a place where he will show him. For example, some of us left our countries and migrated to America by the direct instruction from the Lord. Others may have moved to this country, even in the early days when America was founded, by their own personal economic or adventurous reasons. God had been directly causing men to migrate in various parts of the world for centuries, as in Exodus during the time of Moses, and the one we are discussing about Abraham; while other migrations were not instigated directly by God.

In Gen.11:31, here is the first point that dawned on me. "Terah took Abraham his son, and Lot, the son of Haran, his son's son, and Sarai, his daugther-in-law, his son Abraham's wife; they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees to go into the land of Canaan. They came into Haran and dwelt there." Now Terah died in Haran. The first thing you should think about is: "did God talk to Abraham and his daddy? Was it actually a family revelation?" Could it have been a family idea from Terah that "let all our family just migrate to Canaan"? Or was it actually a revelation given to Abraham? No! it was not a family revelation. The next verse (Gen.12:1) said it clearly: "The Lord has said unto Abraham, get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, and come into a land that I will show thee."

God talked to Abraham alone. Now Abraham could have gone to his daddy and said to him, "You know, I have an inkling from my spirit that I should move to Canaan". And then maybe his daddy just said, "Yah, it's a good idea, let's all just move to Canaan." Maybe business was no more jumping over there in Ur; Remember they were cattle rearers. Maybe there were no more grasses for the cattle. Maybe things were no more as they once were economically. So Terah could have said "Yah, it's a good idea; let us all just move to Canaan." That may be the answer to the question that "why was Abraham able to move easily like he did". Most likely, the instruction came to Abraham when the economic situation was nomore favourable where he was.

Realize that this type of calling on Abraham is "personal" revelation from God. Usually no prophecy is of any private interpretation. But when God spoke to Abraham about moving to Canaan, it was a very "personal" revelation, not easy to be shared with anyman. If Abraham told Terah his father about such personal prophecy, and Terah said they all could even move to Canaan, it would be easier on Abraham. However, half way in the journey they came to Haran where they stayed for a while till Terah died. Then the word came back to Abraham to move; therefore he moved finally to Canaan. Lot still went with him.

For you younger people who may have wondered, how does God talk to people? How can we know the Lord's plan for our life? This may be a lesson for you. Sometime God will allow you to come to a low point in your life before he comes on the scene. If God wants you to move from position "A" to "B"; for example if God wants you to move from Africa to America; if you are enjoying Africa, you most likely will not want to move. It won't come naturally. God may allow you to become "fed-up" and frustrated with things around you. When everything is not smooth anymore, then God may say to you "okay, move". (Remember, this is not the only method for God to speak to someone.) When I was in Nigeria, after I left college, I was one of the people who would not like to leave my country for anywhere. I was set in my mind to evangelize the country as much as possible. When I was hired, my company wanted to send me straight to overseas to go and learn some new technology which was being purchased; but I found a way to avoid the trip and I changed my area of technical-interest for that purpose. Why? Because I had my heart set to evangelize the country, preaching from village to village every evening. A trip out of the country would distrupt my plans. I was able to do as much evangelism as I could do for three years in a row until I was tired. After I had preached in every town and village reachable within the driving distance, I became "bored". Every body already knew me as the preacher and they have heard my doctrine. No new person to preach to! They have heard the gospel many times over, and have made up their mind for or against it. Like apostle Paul said, "no more new places to reach". I was bored. Then the Lord spoke to me that it is time to move to America. Sometime the Lord will allow things to be like that around you before he gives you his next instruction to move to another location.

As a word of prophecy in line with what I'm saying, remember this: before the rapture occurs, christians will hate this planet. They will literally be fed up with living on earth. The bible has revealed that God will allow "persecution" to occur, or something like that . Christians who are still having everything working out fine, they will not have it good anymore as properties are seized and persecution is mounted against the true believers.

"And It was given unto him (the beast) to make war with the saints and to overcome them". (Rev.13:7a).

It is during such persecution that the Lord will say "come up hither!" Then they will be interested to get out of here.

Another example is found in the story of Elijah the prophet. When persecution was mounted against him, and Jezebel the queen sent out a warrant for his arrest: "Wanted - dead or alive". Elijah ran and came to a point he preferred to die and get out of here. (1Kgs.19:4). Someone that was heaven-bound like Elijah was, and was no more interested in the earth can change position, and will be happy to go if God says "come up hither". But if your business is still jumping, and all is going well with promises of better days ahead in your job or business, you will not be heartily excited if God tells you to move from your place to another place. A Christian brother came recently from Nigeria to America, and I asked him "how is everything back in Nigeria" concerning all the news about economic woes we heard. He said, "for us, everything is fine!" That means, business was thriving for him. For a person like him, he cannot leave his country; there is no reason for him to leave. If the Lord needs him somewhere else, he won't find it easy to simply pack and go. That is why the wisdom of God will allow Christians to be persecuted before the rapture can take place. Especially in this country, America, where everything seems to be easy, and some Christians are finding it even easier -- some are now stepping into politics, in trying to shape the government the way they will like it. They want to change the politics of America. But you know, it won't go that way. When the persecution comes, believers will run helter-skelter. Then they can go up when God says "come up hither".

Another example: Remember apostle Paul in Ephesus (Acts.19, 20:1). Paul was in Ephesus for a long time. Everything was great and revival had been going on for months. He had evangelized almost every town in Asia. Suddenly persecution arose when the silversmiths ganged up against the spreading of the gospel, and caused a riot. After the rowdiness settled, Paul decided, it must be time to move on.

"After the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia." (Acts 20:1). He had been there for almost two years. But after the persecution occurred, Paul said, "it must be time to move on". God perhaps will allow things to become uncomfortable so that we can move. God will speak to us in such time when it will make sense.

God must have allowed some form of change in economic atmosphere around Abraham in Ur of the Chaldees which helped him to be able to move, and his father too, when God told him to come to Canaan.

2). The second point is the following: Revelation is to be progressive. Don't expect to know everything up front. You have to take the first step when God tells you to move, and further revelation will follow. We are saying this in order for us to analyze what is this faith of Abraham. We have heard that Abraham had faith. But what was this faith which he had? If he could follow the leading of the Lord, not really knowing fully how the place he was going will be, then that was faith. God spoke to him, to leave his parents and follow him to a place which He would be given to inherit. He believed. He did not get the full revelation of the promise of God upfront. He simply moved as instructed, and more revelation was given to him later.

"I will make of thee a great nation; and I will bless thee and make thy name great." ( Gen.12:1-2.) "In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." That was the summary of the promise. The detail was to come later. And Abraham moved with that first revelation. Revelation is expected to be progressive. God would reveal to him again how the thing would occur. In Gen.15, more was added. It was a deal between him and God. God was simply saying "You follow me and I'm going to do this for you." God was cutting a deal with Abraham. Abraham followed, and further detail was revealed. When God was promising Abraham, He already had his wife Sarah in mind. It was not to Abraham and somebody else.

"Fear not Abraham, I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward." And Abraham said unto the Lord: "What will thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliasar of Damascus".

In short, Abraham was saying in effect "I have followed you, what am I going to get from this deal?"

God replied that "this is not going to be your heir; but one that will come out of your bossom shall be your heir." Abraham believed it. God sealed up the promise in blood of the sacrifice. God revealed to him further that his seed will actually be enslaved in another place, but they will come back in the fourth generation. "In the fourth generation, they shall come hither again for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full". In Gen. 17, you will see the continuation of the revelation. Revelation is progressive.

When things seemed to be delayed Sarah thought: "maybe I am the problem". She gave Hagar her maidservant to Abraham. He went along with it. Between Gen. 15 and Gen 17, the baby from Hagar was worked out, yet it was not what God really promised. God came back in chapter 17 to confirm that it was through Sarah the promised seed was to be.

3). The third point is this: Some revelations are too personal. They are so personal that it will be even unlawful sometimes to say it out. Even if you say it to some friends or neighbors, they will say "How can you think of yourself so highly?"

Imagine the call of Abraham. God said "leave your parents and your native land, and come to a land which I will give to you and to your seed". He couldn't tell that revelation to anyone, especially because there were other people living in the land. It will be unwise to tell anybody the promise God gave to him. Imagine Abraham saying: "you know, God promised me that I'm going to own this place?" They wouldn't believe it. If they believe, they may be jealous and may want to resist it. The Canaanites were living in the land already. Those are personal prophecies which you cannot tell anybody. You can see another example of this in the story of Joseph the son of Jacob in Egypt. He had dreams and visions, God told him he was going to be an important ruler someday. Why should he tell anybody the dream? But because he was still a young lad, he told his daddy and his brothers, and they hated him for it. That is what I mean by saying some revelations will be too personal and will still be from God. (A brother once said the Lord brought him to America to make money and sponsor the gospel; later he said another thing. He was not really sure.) Individual has to get clear revelation from the Lord for yourself.

Joseph might not have understood the dreams and visions when he was young. Consider when he was an adult but now in Egypt as a slave or in prison. He could look back at those dreams and have a clearer understanding that the only way he could become a ruler and dominate the world was if something catapulted him out of jail and brought him into leadership in Egypt, because Egypt was more or less the super-power in those days. So, by that time, he had an understanding of how the dreams could fulfill themselves. He now has to wait for the fulfilment of those dreams while in jail in Pharaoh's backyard. But he couldnot tell anybody the promise of God to him. Suppose he decided to boast in jail before the fellow prisoners saying, "do you know that one day I'm going to become the Prime minister of Egypt?" They would laugh at him saying "an hebrew, Prime Minister of Egypt? Ah, Ah,Ah, Yes, in jail!" But he already had further dreams and revelations from the Lord over the years which would have made him to know how it would happen, to fulfill the visions. He had to become great through Pharaoh! This is what I mean when I say revelation is to be progressive as you continue to walk with the Lord.

When God told Abraham to come over to Canaan to be made a great person, Abraham alone knew; and only God knew. Of course the devil will fight it indirectly or directly. There was a time when Abimelech the king of Gerar, from among the Philistines, came to Abraham. They must have found out from their own oracle that this Abraham which was living near them was dangerous. They must have found it in their oracle that this man Abraham will be the one to dispossess them from the land. But Abraham was nice and friendly to them and they were friendly to him. So they came to Abraham to make a covenant with him saying: We know God is with you. Swear unto us that you will not do evil against us, neither your son, neither your son's son. They sensed spiritually through their oracle what God will do in the latter years. Even though those are idolatrous oracles, God will often times allow devils to show to those idol worshippers some of the plan of God. They saw something about Abraham which made them to come to Abraham to ask for oath between him and them. Abraham took the oath with them because they asked for peace up to the third generation.

"It came to pass that Abimelech and Phicol, the chief captain of his host came unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest. Wherefore, swear unto me here by God, that thou wilt not deal falsely with me nor with my son, nor with my son's son. But according to the kindness which we have shown unto thee, thou shalt do unto me and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned."(Gen.21:22)

They didnot know how far God will go, so they asked for peace to the third generation. But Abraham had already received from God the detail of God's plan that his seed would go away from there to a land where they would be enslaved, and that they would come back in the fourth generation "because the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full". So when Abimelech asked for peace till the third generation, Abraham would have thought: "Abimelech, his son, and his son's son? Huuum! that is three generations." He said he would take the oath.

What I was pointing out is that this revelation which God had given to Abraham was personal. There was no way he could tell anybody about the revelation. The only time he revealed it to anybody was when he wanted to send his servant to go and get a wife for Isaac. When his servant asked whether it would be okay to take Isaac back to Mesopotamia if the woman refused to come down to Canaan with him. Abraham said in effect "how dare you suggest such a thing?"

"And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest?

And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again.

The Lord God of heaven, which took me from my father's house and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me and that sware unto me saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land: he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence." (Gen.24:5-7).

Abimelech and the Philistines of that generation might have received it from their oracle that somehow Abraham's seed will dispossess them. That was why they came to make an oath with him. The revelation from God may be personal many times so that you cannot tell anybody. However if it is God doing it, it will come to pass. Whether men believe it or not, it will come to pass.

In summary, God will sometimes allow the atmosphere to be no more comfortable before he calls his own to change place. Secondly, when God reveals, you may not know the detail at the beginning. Revelation is progressive. As you take the first steps to follow the Lord, the vision will become clearer, just like God told Abraham more detail about the covenant in Genesis 16 where he was told to circumcise his seed. But one has to hear and take the first steps with the Lord for you to be classified like Abraham: Abraham believed and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Thirdly, revelations from God may be too personal to tell others at times.

Avoid pitfalls:

Now watch out for wrong suggestions when you are waiting for the promise of God to be fulfilled in your life. When God gave the promise to Abraham, God had Abraham and Sarah in mind. However as the time prolonged, which one of them do you suppose would break down first? It was the weaker vessel indeed. Sarah was the one who suggested that Abraham should take Hagar for wife to bear seed saying God had withheld her from bearing seed. Watch out for those wrong suggestions from the wives. God did not intend for the wife to lead.

Remember also, the devil will easily find a way to give his suggestion through the woman, especially when the man is at the lowest point emotionally. Abraham could have been reminded of his childlessness a day before, by some circumstances around him, the thought of which would have made his spirit be downcasted. The devil will sneak in to suggest an error when you are depressed. Don't live in emotional depression, especially when God's promise is what you are awaiting. (This is important to many who are praying for marital partners. If you are waiting on God to lead you or show you the right person for your life, have patience.) Abraham easily went along with the suggestion, perhaps because he was also tired of waiting. They wouldn't mind helping God out. In the end, what he got from the suggestion, he had to cast out.

Remember a similar suggestion the devil was able to pass to Job through Job's wife. But Job wouldn't charge God foolishly. (Job 2:9-10). All the evil which happened to Job involved Job's wife also. When Job lost his children, the wife lost her children. When Job lost all her cattle, the wife lost her cattle! When Job was smitten with sickness, the woman's husband was smitten with the sickness. They were in the trouble together. Who do you think would break down first? The weaker vessel indeed. Therefore, you ladies need our prayers and our help. But it will be easier if the wives will remember that when you are tempted to quarrel or rail at your husband, for whatever reason, think again: "has the devil sneaked in to make you to err by this argument?" Solomon wrote: "leave off contention before it be meddled with."

Whatever is the revelation from God to you, lets pray that it all come to pass in your life. It is possible for people to miss opportunity which the Lord wants to give.

Concerning the life of all of us at this endtime who are called into this last move of God, if we are the believers who will walk with God to the point of being taken away in the rapture, then, each one of us must have direct revelation from God. It will be no strange thing therefore if the hand of God has been upon you from the day you were born. I say this because, many times we read the biography of some great men of God, and they testified to how signs and wonders of God were manifested around them when they were born, or how God's hand had been upon them while they were growing up before they became ministers of the gospel. We sometimes marvel at such things as if those guys were more special to God than us. However, realizing the call of God upon our life in this end-time, to those of us who have heeded his call, if we only look back at our lifes and if our parents will remember, the hand of God was also around us as we were growing up from the day we were born. Especially if you are one of those who will go away in the rapture!

God is not doing this thing in a corner! Whether you know it or not, from the time we stepped into this world, God's mark was upon us, and the devil could see it. That will explain those strange attacks upon our lifes which our parents had to wrestle with, though they might not have known God; yet God was there to deliver us. Count it not strange therefore, if any of us who are believers in Christ relate a biography of the mighty hand of God in our lifes as we grow up. It is expected!

Similarly, some folks will look at you with disdain if you stand up in the congregation and relate that you have seen an angel. Why not? It's expected, if we are the redeemed of the Lord! We are expected to see angels of God, because we will soon be living among them after the rapture.

"For ye are come unto mount sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. And to an inumerable company of Angels. To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect." (Heb.12:22-23).

Yea, we all should have a story to tell of the hand of the Lord in our lifes. Our prayer is that the Lord should help us to stand firm in the calling wherewith we are called, the vocation to which we are called, so that we do not fail God like Samson did. "Without vision, purposes are disappointed."

I pray for all the readers that they will have the vision of the call of God in their lifes and fulfill their calling without disappointing the Lord, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Bro. Julius Adewumi, Gospel Distribution Ministry,

{ If you are blessed by this literature, write and let us know. As the Lord has said, "to him that hear shall more be given."}