The Relationship between Faith and Obedience

We first meet a man named Abram in Genesis 11, where we are told in verses 31& 32::

31 And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they went out with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there. 32 So the days of Terah were two hundred and five years, and Terah died in Haran.

We are not told why Terah left Ur, nor why he took Abram, Sarai and Lot with him. We are also not told why they stopped in Haran, and didn’t continue on to Canaan.

Chapter 12 begins with the Lord speaking directly to Abram, who at this point is 75 years old. Verses 1-8 tell us:

Now the Lord had said to Abram:“Get out of your country, From your family
And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.  Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh.[a] And the Canaanites were then in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. So Abram journeyed, going on still toward the South.[b
]

Abram was obedient to the Lord. We do not know how the Lord chose to communicate to Abram, before verse 7 of Chapter 12, We also do not know what form He took when He appeared to Abram in the same verse; for unlike Moses, whose first encounter with God is documented, in Exodus 3:2 “And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed” Scripture tells us nothing of Abram’s first encounter with the Lord.

Abram obeyed God, even though he had no experiential knowledge that following God was the right thing to do. This is what faith is really all about. God made some promises to Abram that would not be fulfilled in Abram’s lifetime. Hebrews 11:8-10 tells us that. . 8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

But God also made some promises to Abram that were fulfilled in Abram’s lifetime, which showed Abram that being obedient through faith would bring the blessing that the Lord spoke of. For the next 24 years, Abram lived his life, didn’t always look to the Lord for answers, and sometimes got himself into trouble with God and others. He is a good example of how many Christians live their lives, because most of us do the same thing.

While the Lord interacted with Abram during this time, we are now going to look at a promise that the Lord made, that was partially fulfilled in Abram’s lifetime. . Looking at Chapter 17 of Genesis, we find that God changes Abram’s name to Abraham. Verses 5 and 6 tell us 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you”. The Lord also changed Sarai’s name to Sarah. Verses 15and 16 state:” 15 Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.”

A year later, God fulfilled His promise to Abraham and Sarah as we see in Chapter 21, verses 1-3: “ 1And 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.”

In Chapter 22, God decides to test Abraham. Verses 1-3 tells us: “1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” Abraham and Isaac continued alone to Mount Moriah. Verse 9 picks up the story:

Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood.

10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” 12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

Abraham trusted God. He knew he would be returning from the mountain with Isaac. He didn’t know how God was going to accomplish this, but he had faith in God, for the Lord had promised Abraham that Isaac was the son of promise.

What does this teach us? By being obedient to the Lord and trusting Him with our lives and the decisions we need to make, He always has the best ready for us. It may not be what we want, but it is always exactly what we need. Having faith in what the Lord would have us do, means that we will be obedient to His will. He states in 1st Samuel 15:22  22 So Samuel said“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.
Additionally, Psalms 25:10 states: All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies”. We can learn from Abraham that obedience and faith are the best way to have a relationship with God. Even though Abraham made many mistakes in his relationship with God, he believed in Him. Genesis Chapter 15, verse 6 says: “And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” I hope the someday, the same thing can be said about me.

Works Cited

Bible Gateway, New King James Version, Holy Bible. https://www.biblegateway.com, accessed 6/13-6/19/17