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Seeking with Abraham Part 3

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If you’ve looked around my website, you’ve seen that the topic of Seeking the Lord led to a book by that title. What’s it all about? Here is an another excerpt from chapter 1 to give you an idea.

Righteousness Needed

The Lord saw Abraham’s trust and credited him with righteousness. That was a huge blessing, but what does that mean? Why did Abraham need righteousness? Wasn’t he already a saint?

There is none who does good, no, not one. (Psalm 14:3b)
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

All of us, including Abraham, are naturally sinners and unrighteous. (Abraham even sinned by trying to “help” God keep His promise in Genesis 16.) This is a wretched condition that we can’t change on our own. You might say, “I was never that bad!” However, the truth is, you were never that good and could not be good enough on your own. The Bible says God’s love comes to us

not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior. (Titus 3:5–6)

Only God can make a sinner into a saint and turn an unrighteous person into a righteous one. He does that through Jesus, who has paid the penalty for our sins (1 Peter 2:24). Today, now that Jesus has come, we believe in what He’s done, we are saved, and we are made righteous. Abraham lived before Jesus, but his faith and trust in God allowed the Lord to credit him with righteousness in advance. Thus, Abraham (and all the faithful people in the Old Testament) were made righteous looking forward to when Jesus would come, while we are saved looking back.

This episode of Abraham’s faith is so noteworthy that it was recorded again in Romans 4:20–22. Finally, it was rewarded and realized.

He’s Here!

And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him—whom Sarah bore to him—Isaac. (Genesis 21:1–3)

What a day for Abraham! What a miracle for a 100-year-old man (Genesis 21:4)! We may wonder why God waited so long to fulfill His promise to Abraham and why sometimes it seems like God has not shown up for us. It might just be that He wants us to realize some things must be miracles and cannot be accomplished by human effort. When big blessings come, they should bring glory to God, not to us. We might be tempted to think Abraham, having received such a huge blessing, must have lived happily ever after. But the story doesn’t end yet; there is more to come…

Think About It
(Each chapter ends with questions for discussion or reflection)

  1. Do you think it was easy for Abraham to leave his home and start a new life? How might you respond if God said, “Pack up and move”?
  2. One big lesson we learn from Abraham is that he obeyed God. How did his obedience to leave home show his faith? What does your obedience to God say about your faith?
  3. To wait for a child, Abraham needed faith in an unseen promise. Is it possible to believe God for unseen promises today?
  4. Are there any promises you have yet to believe? And how strong is your belief?
  5. When might it be okay to ask God for evidence of the unseen (or a sign) as Abraham did when he said, “What will you give me?” When might it be wrong? (Hint: if God has given a command, like “do not commit adultery,” don’t ask for a sign just because he or she “really loves me.”)
  6. Do you think you could have faith like Abraham? Why or why not?
  7. What might help you to have this type of faith? (Hint: who do you trust more, a stranger or a close friend? If you are seeking God and get to know Him, it is easier to trust and have faith in His promises.)
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