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April 30, 2024

Our Faith is Growing

Some people take offense when I mention that Abraham and Sarah wavered in their faith off and on during their twenty-five-year wait for Isaac. Perhaps they assume I am contradicting Romans 4:17-21 and Hebrews 11:8-12. However, I am not contradicting these verses, and I will explain why. Here are the 2 passages.

“As it is written, (‘A Father of many nations, have I made you’) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. In hope against hope, he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” Without becoming weak in faith, he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.” (Romans 4:17-21 NASB)

By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith, he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise, for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith, even Sarah herself received the ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful, who had promised. Therefore, there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.” (Hebrews 11:8-12 NASB)

It is obvious from these two passages that both Abraham and Sarah WERE walking in unwavering faith when Isaac was conceived. And we are not speaking of a temporary “gift of faith,” either; Abraham “grew strong” (Romans 4:20) in faith, which means this wasn’t the “gift of faith” operating. And yet, up until three months before Isaac’s conception, they were NOT walking in this unwavering faith, which is easily seen in the Old Testament. In Genesis 17 and 18, when they were 99 and 90 years old, the Lord appeared again, telling them that Isaac would be born. Here are their responses:

“Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said in his heart, ‘Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?’ And Abraham said to God, ‘Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!’” (Genesis 17:17-18 NASB)

“He said, ‘I will surely return to you at this time next year, and behold, Sarah, your wife will have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing. Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?’ And the Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, saying, “Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?” Is anything too difficult for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.’ Sarah denied it, however, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. And He said, ‘No, but you did laugh.’” (Genesis 18:10-15 NASB)

It is clear from these passages that Abraham and Sarah were NOT fully convinced and unwavering in their faith when the Lord spoke to them on these two occasions, twelve months before Isaac’s birth. Yet, according to the New Testament, they WERE walking in unwavering faith three months later when he was conceived. This means they were transformed from unbelief to an amazing, unwavering faith in a short, three-month period of time.

That should encourage you. I want you to know that it doesn’t take years to develop a strong enough faith to receive a miracle from God. Yes, we do have to believe and not doubt (Mark 9:23; 11:23). But your faith can grow into an unwavering faith, just as Abraham and Sarah’s faith did, in a relatively short amount of time.

Jesus compared faith to a mustard seed, a tiny seed that grows into a tree (Matthew 17:20). He did NOT say we only needed faith the size of a mustard seed to move mountains, as some translations wrongly word the verse. He said “like” or “as” a mustard seed, which starts small but grows, just as the parable of the sower describes (Matthew 13, Mark 4, Luke 8). In this parable, Jesus said God’s words are seeds that grow in us until they reach full fruition, or in other words, bring forth fruit. This is what Romans 10:17 means when it says, “Faith comes by hearing the word of God.”

This does not happen simply by hearing or reading a Scripture once, just as a seed does not grow to fruitfulness simply from being planted. The point of Christ's parable was that the seed must be tended to: watered, weeds pulled, harmful bugs kept away, etc. He was teaching us that if we take care of the seed of His Word, it will grow into fullness and bring forth its intended harvest. One of the Old Testament words for this process of tending the seed is “meditate.” Joshua was told to meditate in/on God‘s Word (Joshua 1:8). The word means to think about, ponder, mutter, and speak to one’s self. Tending the seed of God’s word is more than simply planting it; it is thinking about it, pondering it, saying it - OVER AND OVER.

Did Abraham and Sarah do this? Yes. God, in a manner of speaking, forced them to. When this three-month faith-growing process in them started, He introduced Himself to them by a new name: Almighty God (Genesis 17:1). He then gave them new names: Abram’s was changed to Abraham, Sarai’s to Sarah. What did these names mean?

In Genesis 17:4, Abram was told by Almighty God - the God who is all-powerful, who can do anything - that he would be the “Father of a multitude of nations,” and his name was changed accordingly to Abraham. Sarai was told, “She shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her” (Verse 16, NASB). Her new name, Sarah, means “princess,” a title referring to her being a “mother of nations.” These words were “mediated” on - spoken, thought about, etc. - dozens and dozens of times as they spoke these two names. “Almighty God said You are a mother of nations, Sarah; I, Abraham, am a father of nations.” As they declared God’s power and their destiny - over and over - their faith grew, and their bodies changed. Finally, they were walking in complete faith, and God could release the miracle of Isaac.

You can do this. What has God promised in His Word that you are currently in need of? What has He spoken in your heart and confirmed through His word and others? Healing? The saving of a prodigal? How about the saving of a nation? Whatever it is, become radical in thinking about and declaring God’s Word. Say what He says, the literal meaning of confession. Give His words the opportunity to do what they were meant to do - reproduce in you!

Pray with me:

Father, Your words are timeless seeds. They have within them the ability to produce/reproduce what they say. Your words create, cleanse, deliver, heal, raise the dead, transform, instruct, mature us, and even generate new creations in Christ Jesus - we are born again of the incorruptible seed of your word. We must “eat” them; Jeremiah said, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them, and they were the joy and rejoicing of my heart” Jeremiah 15:16. Your words are embodied by Christ, the Living Word, the Bread of Life.

I pray that You open the eyes of many with a revelation of how faith grows. Connect the dots. Show them how Your words produce powerful, mountain-moving faith. And show them that their faith can grow in a relatively short period of time for any area in which they have need. Our nature is that of invisible spirits, with the ability to operate in the realm of invisible faith, believing in what we cannot see. We can do what You said we can do: produce mountain-moving faith through “farming” Your Word. Bring this revelation. I pray this for them in Jesus' name.

Our decree:

We declare that our faith is growing and will bring forth 100-fold fruit.

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