20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. (ESV)
God gave Abraham a specific promise that he would never really get to see; a promise that would come to fulfillment well beyond Abraham’s lifetime. Nothing now. Nothing much for you today, Abe.
Just a vision that his legacy would be great and his name would be the start of something legendary. All these things came to pass, yes, yet none of it benefited or affected Abraham’s life in that living time frame.
In fact, it just made things a bit more difficult for him. Chasing this promise, Abraham moved his family far from the comforts and life they knew. He began a journey that was more fraught with difficulty than great ease.
In the daily living, most of us tend to avoid conflict. We actively sidestep difficulty and seek a life which will improve our own situations and desires. Abraham did not. He knew there was something greater for him. He was in a friendship, a connected relationship with God that was enough in and of itself to warrant any risk he might be asked to take.
It is this faith-based relationship with God that Paul writes about in Romans 4; a relationship not just for Abraham, but also for us.
23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord...
Abraham’s faith is the kind of faith we can have too. We too can choose to lay ourselves aside and follow after God. To believe Him at his word and to see what He does with all that follows after. There may be some blessings in this life, Abraham had some, but that is not the point Paul makes here. God showed Abraham the big picture and Abraham followed after it, reward or no.
So much of our faith is based on the now. We want God to do something for us that we can see and benefit from in our lifetime. We say “I choose to believe God so my life can be better today.” Not so for Abraham. He believed for a future that he would never see. One that was beyond him, but that he knew would be obtained because of a divine promise. For him, being connected to God, and hope in His word, was sufficient for his faith.
How about you and me? Are we looking for what God wants in us? Or are we looking for something from God that we want for the now? Is a relationship with God sufficient enough, or must he provide something that you or I can see as a benefit in our lifetime? Is following Jesus dependent upon what we think He should do for us, or are we willing to follow him, believing that a life lived in faith might benefit something far greater than what can be seen with our own eyes?