He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed — the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not. Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him,So shall your offspring be.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.Romans 4:17b-21
Paul tells us here what faith is. First, he says the key is the object of faith. Abraham, Paul says, believed God. God is the object. The quality of your faith depends upon the object in which that faith has placed its trust. The amount of faith you have has nothing to do with it. That is why Jesus told us that even if we have a little tiny faith, like a grain of mustard seed, it will work. The object of your faith is the important thing. It is not a question of how little or how big your faith is; it is a question of how big your God is! There are two things about this God that helped Abraham tremendously: First, he is the God who gives life to the dead — the God who makes dead things live, who takes things that once were alive, vibrant, and full of life, but have died and become hopeless, and brings them to life again; and second, he is the God who
calls things that are not, as though they were. He calls into existence the things that do not exist. He is a creative God.
Notice also the obstacles to faith. Whenever you have faith or are called to exercise faith, there are obstacles. Abraham teaches us this. There are horrendous obstacles. First, there were hopeless circumstances. What were the hopeless circumstances Abraham faced? Abraham looked at the circumstances and saw his hundred-year-old body and the barrenness of Sarah's womb. She was ninety years old and had never had a baby. They had been trying for years and years, and no baby had come. These were the hopeless circumstances. Now, here is the beauty of Abraham's faith. Paul says that he faced the facts. I love that. Many of us think that faith is evading the facts — escapism, some kind of dreamy idealism that never looks at facts, a kind of unrealistic adventuring in which you hope everything is going to work out. It is never that!
But it also says in Verse 20,
Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God... That is, the promise itself was the second obstacle to faith because it was too good to be true! It was beyond belief that God would make him heir of all the world and give him a standing before God that he didn't deserve. It was too good to be true, so it was an obstacle to faith. Isn't that interesting?
Father, thank you for this example of Abraham. What a tremendous example of faith he is. By the example of faith, he has taught me how to trust against the circumstances that surround me, when I have a promise to oppose against it, the promise and a God who says he will do something and who cannot fail.
When our faith is weak and subject to attack, what are two facts about God which will reassure and stabilize our trust in Him? Do we need more faith, or is our God 'too small'?