On Tuesday, I told the story of how God moved my mountain — literally! — as my husband and I attempted to move 7 cu meters of gardening soil from our driveway to our new garden beds, one shovelful at a time, and all before the rains came.
The garden beds are finished now. They are completely ready to plant, just waiting for it to get late enough in the season to be past the risk of frost; which, in this cold Canadian climate, is usually after the 3rd weekend in May.
What does all of this have to do with faith?
Just this: Even though the garden beds don’t have any plants in them at all, I know that I can look forward to a harvest of beautiful, organic, vine-ripened vegetables in the late summer and fall. Why? Because I have faith that the weather will eventually warm up enough to plant and that the will take root in the good soil and will produce their fruits in season. I have faith that what I cannot see will come.
The very first verse of Hebrews 11 says this: “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NLT) Thus, though I don’t need to see the large, red tomatoes or the crisp green peppers, my faith because the reality and the assurance that it will happen.
Let’s take a look at Hebrews 11:
“It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going…” (Heb. 11: 8 NLT)
Here we see Abraham blinding leaving his home, even though he had no idea where he was going, to wander as, “foreigners and nomads on Earth.” (Hebrews 11: 13d NLT). He didn’t even know if he would see the promise fulfilled. And in the end, the Bible records that he, “…did not receive what was promised…” (Heb. 11:13b NLT). In fact, he, “…died still believing what God had promised…” (vs. 13a NLT). Why? Because he, “…saw it all from a distance and welcomed it.” (vs. 13c NLT).
Abraham wasn’t the only one to die without seeing the promise fulfilled:
“It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau. It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff. It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left.” (Hebrews 11:20-22 NLT)
Even until the 4th generation, the promise was still not fulfilled! Isaac, Jacob and Joseph ALL “died still believing what God had promised…” (vs. 13a NLT).
Did God go back on His promise?
Not at all. We all know the story. Generations later, God rescued Abraham’s offspring from slavery and brought them the land He had promised to Abraham and his descendants so many years earlier.
What made Abraham do leave his home? What kept Isaac and Jacob strong in their faith? What pushed Joseph to have confidence that Israel would leave?
It was because they were, “…confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.” (Heb. 11:10 NLT). It was because they, “saw [the promise fulfilled] in the distance and welcomed it.” (Vs 13d NLT). They were able to continue to believe because they kept their eyes on the promise and not on their circumstances!
And it is this same faith that makes me know beyond a doubt that my new garden beds will produce vegetables in the late summer and early fall…
What was the reward of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph’s faith? Yes, their offspring would go on to inherit the Promised Land; but there was a much more immediate reward: “That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” (vs. 16b NLT); “Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.” (Heb. 11:2 NLT); It was through their faith that they received the “righteousness that comes by faith” (Heb. 11:7b NLT)! The best reward of all was that great “well-done!” from their Heavenly Father!
What promise has God given you that you do not yet see fulfilled? Whatever it is, do not doubt. Just because I don’t see vegetables growing in my garden doesn’t mean they won’t be there. Just because Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph never saw the fulfillment of the promise didn’t mean it wouldn’t happen. And just because you don’t yet see the fulfillment of God’s promise(s) to you also does not mean that it won’t happen. Whatever it is God has promised you, keep your eyes upon Jesus and believe that He is the ultimate promise-keeper, that He, “is able to do whatever he promises.” (Romans 4:21 NLT)
Remember that keeping His promises, even when it doesn’t look like it’s happening, is God’s part in the bargain; but we have a part to play as well: Our job is to – have faith! For our faith becomes the “reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NLT)
Join us on Thursday for “A New Perspective on Faith”, Part 3!
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Moderator, The Illustrator (sermonillustrator.org), The Nugget (scripturalnuggets.org), with Answers2Prayer ministries (answers2prayer.org)
(To access the entire “A New Perspective on Faith” devotional series, please click here.)