The Bible is full of people who accomplished much for God because of their faith. Hebrews 11 tells of people who defeated their enemies, saw their dead raised to life, and received the promises of God “by faith.” One of those people is Abraham. For those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, He is called “the father of us all.” He set an excellent example for us to follow. God’s Word tells us to imitate him and others in their example of living by faith.
…that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Hebrews 6:12, NKJV).
What specifically did Abraham do that qualified him to be our example? Let’s look at a few of his characteristics:
He Believed God
Abraham lived in a land full of pagans. But when God came to him and told him that he was going to be the “father of many nations,” Abraham believed him (Genesis 15:1-6). God’s promise did not physically seem possible, but Abraham took God at His Word. Because Abraham believed, God declared him righteous—having a right relationship with Him. This was so important that the Apostle Paul quoted Genesis 15:6 in the New Testament book of Galatians.
…just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” (Galatians 5:6).
Like Abraham, we should believe God. If we say we believe in the person of God, we should believe every word that comes out of His mouth because God and His Word are inseparable (John 1:1). We should also have enough confidence in His integrity that we count His Word as truth (John 17:17). Any other word we hear should be thrown out as a lie (2 Corinthians 10:5).
He Didn’t Consider His Body
Abraham didn’t have any physical reason to believe that he would be the father of many nations. Abraham and Sarah’s bodies didn’t show signs of the promise of God. They were “dead,” incapable of having children (Hebrews 11:12). But instead of believing their symptoms, he chose to believe God’s promise.
…[Abraham] who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb (Romans 4:18-19).
God doesn’t make promises based on physical facts. He makes promises based on spiritual truth. God founds His promises on what He’s already done in the spiritual realm—what He determines to be true. His Word is truth (John 17:17). If we are to receive that truth in our lives, we must not consider our bodies or our situations but consider what God’s promised.
He Spoke Like God
Abraham’s name was not always Abraham. Initially, it was Abram, meaning “exalted father.” But God changed his name to Abraham, which means “father of a multitude.” From then on, Abraham declared that he was what God said. This name matched God’s promise that Abraham would be the “father of many nations.”
“As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations” (Genesis 17:4-5).
Abraham’s deadness didn’t matter to God. He still changed Abraham’s name to what He promised. He called “those things which do not exist as though they did.” We should also say nothing less than what God says about us—regardless of our circumstances or how we feel. His life-giving Words in our mouths prove we believe. The result is life and a fulfillment of God’s promise in our lives (Proverbs 18:21, Mark 11:22-25).
He Gave Glory to God
Abraham did what few choose to do. He strengthened his faith by giving glory to God. He didn’t glorify his seemingly hopeless situation. Instead, he chose to magnify God above the impossibilities. This strengthened His faith in the God who made the promise.
…[Abraham] strengthened in faith, giving glory to God… (Romans 4:20b).
When we focus on our impossibilities, our faith—or confidence—grows in them. But when we take our focus off our challenges and place them on God’s power and integrity, our faith increases in the One who makes all things possible (Matthew 19:26). Strong faith in God and not our problems enable us to receive all He promises.
He Did Not Waver
Unfortunately, Abraham tried to take matters into his own hands by having a child with his wife’s maid (Genesis 16). But he obviously adjusted his faith because the book of Romans tells us that he didn’t waver—or question in doubt—what God had promised.
He [Abraham] did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief… (Romans 4:20a).
We will never receive from God if we constantly doubt and change our minds concerning God’s Word. Any wavering makes us like a ship on the waves, tossed about without direction (James 1:6-7). But if we don’t get off our course, refusing to be distracted by unbelief, we will receive God’s promises. He is faithful to keep them (Hebrew 10:23)!
He Acted on His Faith
Abraham believed God’s Word enough that he obeyed God’s commands. He didn’t just say he believed; He acted on what he said he believed. It wasn’t always easy. God told him to leave his homeland and to sacrifice his son. But he obeyed anyway, confident in God’s promise that God would raise Isaac from the dead to make it happen (Hebrews 11:17-19, James 2:21-24).
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 (Hebrews 11:8).
God clearly says that faith without works is dead (James 2:20). No miracle can take place if some acting doesn’t back our believing. Like Abraham, we should be willing to trust enough to obey. God will never let us down.
He Was Fully Convinced
Abraham wasn’t just convinced of God’s promise. He was fully convinced. He trusted God’s Word and His ability to accomplish what He said. He knew God was powerful enough to make it happen.
…and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform (Romans 4:21).
God’s not just a holy God of integrity. He is a powerful God, and nothing is too hard for Him (Jeremiah 32:27). All things are possible when someone believes in the unfailing power of an unfailing God (Matthew 19:26, Mark 9:23).
He Received the Promise
Abraham didn’t stop believing, and as a result, he received a great reward—everything God promised (Hebrews 10:35). His reward went beyond having a son to producing a family that was too big to count!
Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore (Hebrews 11:12).
Abraham’s body and dream were dead—until God resurrected them through His power. The same God who also raised Jesus from the dead is fully capable of fulfilling every promise He’s made to us. Our job is not to make it happen but to have unfailing faith in the One Who has the power to do it. No difficulty, problem, or delayed dream is too great for a faithful God Who keeps His promises!
He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24).