By Kenny Bruce
Pastor Emeritus, Leawood East Baptist Church, Memphis
Confidence in God means that we focus on God’s plans and promises, not on our plans and circumstances. We see Abraham’s confidence in God expressed through faith and worship.
I. GOD CALLS US TO FOLLOW HIM (Ch. 12:1-3) God invited Abraham to join Him in a journey to a land God would show Him. Abraham did not seek God; God sought him. He initiated the encounter with Moses at the burning bush and with Paul on the road to Damascus. Likewise, God calls us to assignments that we cannot accomplish apart from Him. God speaks to us primarily through His Word.
Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ.” In the movie Show Me the Father, Stephen Kendrick was on an airplane reading his Bible when God revealed to him through John 10:16 that he should adopt a child. He and his wife adopted a girl from China who was born on February 14, 2011, the very day Stephen read that passage. God initiated the call and Stephen responded.
II. WE OBEY BY FAITH (Ch. 12:4-6) Even though Abraham did not understand where God was taking him, he obeyed because he had confidence in God’s promises. God promised that He would make Abraham a great nation and a blessing to all the families of the earth (vv. 2-3).
Without confidence in God’s promises, we probably won’t obey God by faith when where He is leading us does not make sense. Obedience is costly because it requires us to make changes. Henry Blackaby wrote, “You can’t continue business as usual or stay where you are and go with God at the same time.” To make adjustments, our confidence must be in 1 Thessalonians 5:24: “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” Our obedience often leads us into storms. Luke 6:46-49 gives us confidence to persevere by promising us that the life built on God’s Word will withstand the storms.
III. OUR FAITH LEADS US TO WORSHIP (Genesis 12:7-8) Abraham built an altar in Shechem, and later between Bethel and Ai. Both his confidence in the Lord’s leadership and the experience of His presence led him to worship. True worship is surrendering ourselves completely to God as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). We are living sacrifices when we praise and thank God without feeling like it, when we help others though we are worn out, when we glorify God in spite of pain, and when we love God when He seems distant. We are to worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24).
“Spirit” refers to our inner man; therefore, we worship by loving God with all of our hearts, minds and souls. The promises of God and His presence give us the confidence to walk by faith. Examples in the Bible of those who lived by faith, like Abraham, give us the courage to respond to God’s call with faith. “…Whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23c), and “…without faith it is impossible to please Him…” (Hebrews 11:6a). Our faith honors God, and God honors our faith! B&R