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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Byers

Abraham's Discovery

Updated: Oct 13, 2021

Last week I stayed in a 17th century villa in the enchanting countryside of Tuscany. This photo is of a bridge near where I stayed. As I walked outside and gazed at the night sky, the stars in their brilliance, I thought again of Abraham’s “discovery.”

Rom. 4:1 (NIV) Says: “What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? …4:16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace… 4:19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.”

Abraham was led into his discovery by the Spirit of grace; he lived in that discovery by obedience and faith. Because of God’s word to him in Gen. 15:5, he watched the stars in their courses and remembered God’s promise and was sustained until the time Isaac came. He persevered and hoped and refused to be disappointed (Rom. 5:5).

Abraham, our father in the faith, was able to objectively contemplate the reality of his situation, that he and Sarah were well past the age to have a child. Yet, contemplating this reality, he held to a greater reality: that God had promised! Therefore, Abraham refused to waver. To hold both these things in tension – the impossibility of conception while trusting the promise – was no small undertaking. Only God’s poured-out grace held Abraham’s faith. Amazingly, not only did Abraham not grow weak in faith, he grew stronger. The longer he waited while years turned into decades, the more faith increased.

I wonder how many nights Abraham stepped outside his tent and gazed up at the brilliant night sky scattered with stars and dust lanes and thought of that promise? He had anticipated his estate would go to another man, but in one conversation with God, those expectations were changed (Gen. 15:2). His descendants were to be so many that they would be uncountable! Like Abraham, our ability to see is limited, we live only in what we can naturally understand unless his grace and promises intervene.

So what had Abraham discovered? He found the certainty that his God could and would give life to the dead and call into being what did not even yet exist. Abraham saw what was dead and non-existent but was not deterred. God has spoken, Abraham had taken in the promise without guile and believed God, resting in the promise. There was no wavering in Abraham, just increasing, fully assured. With the passing of decades, he “hoped against hope” and did not become double-minded. Hebrews 11 writes of Abraham and Sarah (11:8-12) receiving a son, Isaac, because they ”considered him faithful who had made the promise.”

So what difficulty are you facing, and in the light of that, what promise is God holding out to you? We can either waver in unbelief, or be fully persuaded. His Spirit calls to us to stand firm in our faith, considering the faithfulness of our God. What have you discovered? Are you resting “fully assured” in his promises for you, no matter the length of time or difficulty in the fulfillment? What word is he establishing in you (Ps. 119:38)? As with Abraham (Acts 7:17) the time will draw near for its fulfillment and it will surely come to pass!

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