The youth had gone on a weekend retreat to talk about faith as a way of life, not just a cognitive belief construct. Faith is only faith when enacted and after a day of examples, questions and searching, the camp leader asked, “Do you have faith in God?” The youth excitedly declared YES! After a pregnant pause, he asked, “Do you have faith in each other?” Again, they declared YES! He then took them to a platform about four-feet in the air and asked them if they had faith that the others would catch them if they fell from that height into their arms. A few stated that they had faith in their friends, but not enough to fall backward from that height into the arms of the others.
Finally, the leader stood on the platform and stated that he had enough faith to fall backward and that they would catch him. They counted down from three and then the leader fell into the arms of a group of teenagers. Through their intertwined arms, he landed softly and no one single person strained under his weight. Immediately youth started asking if they could fall into the arms of their friends. Once they saw faith in action, they knew they could do it as well!
I believe this is the heart of Abraham’s story—he is the leader that shows us faith in action. The writer(s) of Genesis ensured that his many acts of faith were reshared, to inspire us to live in faith. In fact, one of the core promises (covenant) of God is given to Abram. It begins, “Don’t be afraid, Abram. I am your protector. Your reward will be very great” (Gen 15:1). Read Genesis 15:2-6.
This promise to Abram is a promise of a people who will flourish. Just as the heavens are littered with stars, so this earth will be filled with his offspring. Of course, at this moment, Abram doesn’t have children. His great longing is to be a father! After hearing this promise, the sixth verse captures Abram’s response, “He believed the Lord…” This is the first time that word is used in the scriptures! And believe could be replaced with ‘trust’. Abram trusted the promise!