Hebrews 11:1, 8
What does it mean to have faith?
- To have faith is to leave.
Genesis 12:1-4 – “Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.”
Abraham lived in his home country of Mesopotamia for 60 years. The culture had engaged in idol worship such as the God of the Moon, had a history of discrimination through social status and occupation, had no conviction of going to Heaven, and was rooted in superstition and astrology. God tells Abram many times in Genesis 12:1-4 to leave.
Many times, points repeated in the Bible are meant to emphasize something important. God tells Abram to leave his country, his kindred, his father’s house, and leave his lifestyle behind. Similarly, God asks us to do the same. We are constantly influenced by culture, media, and social norms, thus, despite our beliefs, our upbringing and background are not conscious decisions to be a member of our respective cultures or country. To follow God is to leave our past and our previous lifestyle and habits behind.
- To have faith is to restart.
Acts 7:2-4 – “And Stephen said: “Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’ Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living.”
God first appeared to Abraham at the age of 60 in the city of Ur and told him to leave. Abraham leaves the city of Ur with his family but spends the next 15 years in the city of Haran before eventually settling in the promised land in Canaan.
Why did Abraham stay in Haran instead of leaving directly for Canaan?
- Abraham lived in Haran because he did not want to completely leave the place where he is comfortable even after taking a step to follow God
- Abraham stayed and only left the city of Haran when his father, Terah, passed.
We can take the allegorical interpretation of the 2nd possibility and apply it to our lives. In Hebrew, “Terah” translates to “delayed.” While Abraham initially followed God’s command to leave Haran with his family, Abraham was unable to fully commit. Abraham was “delayed,” both in his willingness to follow God but also in bearing fruit in his walk by continuing to stay in the place where he was most comfortable. Similarly, many of us may also be like Abraham as he lived in Haran; we initially follow God in faith but are unwilling to fully commit and follow through to the promised land in Canaan.
- To have faith is to be certain of the things we cannot see.
Abraham left without knowing where he was going. How could he not be anxious?
Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Hebrews 11:8 – “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.”
If we were to only go when we were certain, we can infer and make decisions based on our previous experiences. However, if we are certain of things we cannot see, we cannot use our past experiences and thus, we have desperation, want, and need for God in our lives. Like children who are happy and excited with their parents despite going to unfamiliar places, we can have the same conviction and peace despite not knowing where to go, how to get there, or the timeline as long as we have the WHO: God is with us.
Psalm 37:5 – “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”
Psalm 37:7 – “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!”
Psalm 37: 23-24 – “The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.”
Psalm 37:39-40a – “The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them”
- Can you recite the three points of the sermon?
- To have faith is
- To have faith is
- To have faith is
- What did you learn from the message?
- How do you want to practically apply the message to your life?
- What is Derah that delays your walk with Christ? (Examples: laziness, personality, sinful habits, money, family, desire to be comfortable, etc.)
- Particularly, in what areas in your life do you think you need to have more faith (to be certain of the things you cannot see)?
- What are practical ways that you can be more faithful to God?