** Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. ** Romans 4:18
We have talked a little about Job and how his trials left him feeling hopeless because his life and motivation was in mini-hopes: his children and his possessions and his own self-righteousness.
Today we will talk about Abraham’s hope and his living for True Hope.
Abraham lived in a thriving city and lived close to his family. He had the opportunity to live prosperously and comfortably if he had just stayed safe at home. But the Lord spoke clearly to him that He had something specific for him to do. Abraham accepted the challenge and stepped out in faith to follow the Lord wherever He would lead him.
The promises and challenges that the Lord gave Abraham were a bit far-fetched, humanly speaking. Like the one that said ** unto a land that I will shew thee: ** Genesis 12:1. Abraham was sent out to follow daily instructions from the Lord as to where he would find this new land. He had no idea where He was going or how long it would take to get there. He left behind his familiar city, his extended family, and his immediate income opportunities to seek a new place to live. He was not a warrior, or a merchantman. He was not necessarily equipped to meet the challenges that he would face. He was just an uncle and a husband with a heart of faith. Seeking the Promised Land was a walk of courage and True Hope.
Abraham was a man ** who against hope believed in hope **. Although the Lord gave him a pie in the sky task, Abraham believed what the Lord had told him and stepped away from his old life of mini-hopes, to see what the Lord had for him in this special promise of True Hope.
Abraham’s story sounds like a missionary story. But hasn’t the Lord given all of us Abraham’s same task? Hasn’t He told all of us to ” go and preach the gospel ” ? Aren’t all of us called to live by faith? Aren’t we all called to obey God’s Words and believe the True Hope promises that He has given us?
The Lord gave another promise to Abraham…
‘ I am going to make you a father of many nations. ‘ Abraham had no children at all. But somehow the Lord was going to make him a head of nations.
The Lord already told him that He was going to give him a better place to live, and, now, he was going to make him a father of many to fill this new land with his descendants! Abraham must have been thrilled to hear this promise that was already a desire of his and his wife’s heart. I imagine that from experience he also understood that it would not be fulfilled right away and that he was going to have to walk patiently in the fulfillment of this new Hope.
Isn’t that also what the Lord asks of all of us? To trust Him and walk patiently in the fulfillment of His promises to us about eternity? Doesn’t He give us promises that look far-fetched when we first hear about them? Like the one that He tells us that He is building us a brand new city where we will live in perfect peace and light and joy? Does that even seem possible to us after living so many years in a world of violence and corruption and wars? It should seem possible if we truly hope in God’s promises, but do we really believe them and live like we believe them? Or are we trying to build that city for ourselves right here by having the perfect home, and staying away from those corrupt people so they don’t contaminate or disrupt our perfect little life today? Is our hope True Hope in the future or are we taking shortcuts by building our mini-hope paradise here?
Against hope (mini-hope), Abraham believed, trusted and had True Hope in the promises the Lord gave him.
Which isn’t to say that he didn’t make some mistakes along the way.
Neither Abraham’s nor our life are about living perfectly (like Job’s self-righteous living). Our life is about living day by day filled with True Hope in the promises the Lord has given us for eternity and walking them out daily by faith. Promises like:
** I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. ** We can believe this verse and face whatever hard task is before us.
** And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. ** Matthew 28-33
Aren’t these the same promises that Abraham believed? Didn’t the Lord abundantly care for all of Abraham’s daily needs while Abraham just kept walking step-by-step through the Promised Land and patiently waited for the birth of his son? If Abraham can follow the big promises and callings and trust the Lord for all the little details, can’t we?
** But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. ** Romans 8:25
** For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.** Romans 15:4
We can examine our hearts and priorities by learning from those who have gone before us. Their stories are written to help us with our own stories. Our mini-hopes can change into True Hope by following their example.
Mini-hopes or True Hope. The choice is up to us.