Abraham Believed God
Abraham believed God. Sounds so simple. And of course it is. While at the same time it is not! I am intrigued that Paul says that Abraham believed God, not that He believed in God.
It would be throughly appropriate to say that he believed in God. This is exactly what Moses records in Genesis 15:6 “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” Abraham believed in the word (the promise) that God has given him. And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” (15:4)
But in Romans 4, Paul says Abraham believed God. What might that add to our understanding?
First, it tells us that Abraham had a relationship with God. He was not merely a mystery god, one who might be in a place, or rocks, or trees, or the sun. He was a personal God.
Second, Abraham had learned to trust this God. “as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. In hope he believed” (Romans 4:17-18)
Third, the initial believing God produced a lifestyle of living by faith. “No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” (Romans 4:20)
What about me?
The strength of my faith in God is directly proportional to my relationship with Him. And that has to be nurtured daily through time with Him in His word. There is no substitute!
The strength of my faith in God will grow as I learn to trust in His promises. In hope Abraham believed God for a humanly untenable promise. Abraham who at that time had no biological son, would be the father of multiple millions. Abraham understood that this would not be accomplished in his lifetime. But it was impossible without the first child. Abraham had faith in the sovereign power of God, and so his hope was rooted in divine power and promise.
This one event in Romans 4 is merely one time when Abraham believed God. But, it was the reflection of a lifestyle. He believed God and left his original home. He believed God and was willing to offer up Issac. He did so because he knew that God could raise him up from the dead. He gave Lot the first choice of land, because as Hebrews 11 says, he was looking for residency in a different city. One that God Himself would build.
May God help us believe Him!