Faith. A simple word, but with many wonders associated to it. A small word, but it has great implications. A sort of tangible intangible. An intangible, because you can not hold faith in your hand. Tangible, because it is definite, not vague or elusive. And, though you cannot hold faith in your hand, you can hold the results of faith in your hand.
There are many kinds of faith. You can have faith in a person, whether you are close to that person or not. You can have confidence that the sun will rise in the morning. You can trust that the bank will not lose your lifes savings. Though there are many kinds of faith, the most important kind of faith a person can have, is faith in God, and in the promises He made through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Our faith in God, though the most important faith that we can have, is not our own, it is a gift of God, (see Epheisians 2:8). Gods gift of faith is bestowed upon us as great or as little as we our selves will accept it. If we chose to live a life of rebellion, then our faith will be nonexistent of at best it will be weak. If we chose to live a life that is in obedience, then our faith will be strong.
The Bible contains many examples of faith, and various attributes concerning the characteristics of faith. Let us examine a few of the examples of faith and see if we can discern some of the various aspects of faith, and then apply them to our own lives.
Abraham was a man with great faith. His faith was counted to him as righteousness, (see Genesis 15:6). Abraham had faith with vision. God promised that He would make Abram a great nation, that his offspring would be as numerous as the sand on the seashore, and as the stars in the heavens, and Abraham believed. Though Abraham was an old man and his wife was old beyond child bearing years, he believed God. His trust in God was such that with the vision that comes from faith, he saw his descendants a great nation.
At times Abraham faltered and his faith weakened. But he always came back into obedience to God, his faith again became strong, and he completely trusted. The history of Abraham can be found in Genesis 11:26-25:10. The following is taken from Genesis chapter 22, and is in an condensed form.
God tested Abraham. God told Abraham to take his son Isaac and sacrifice him as a burnt offering. Abraham obeyed God, with the faith to have vision of becoming the father of a great nation through his son Isaac. Completely trusting in God, completely believing that God Himself would provide the lamb for the sacrifice,(Jesus would at a later time become that lamb of sacrifice.). Abraham followed in obedience to the point of putting Isaac on the alter, and reached out his hand to take the knife to slay his son, when the angel of the Lord called out from heaven to stop him.
We are seeing a great amount of faith here. A faith which brings vision. God made a covenant with Abraham, and Abraham believed His promise. Though he could not see the promise with his earthly eyes, he held Gods promise in his heart. He believed, he trusted, with the vision which comes by faith he saw the promise fulfilled in his son Isaac.
David was a man who also had great faith. Davids love for God was so great and his faith so strong, that God gave testimony saying David was a man after His own heart, (see Acts 13:22).
David had a faith that was courageous. But he, just like every other man, also faltered and his faith weakened. But when he did falter, when his faith weakened, he would repent and come back into obedience to God. Davids faith would again become strong and courageous. The history of David can be found in, I Samuel 16:1 - I Kings 2:11; and I Chronicles 11:1-29:30.
Even before David became a man, while he was still but a young lad, we have an example of his courageousness in faith. We see this example in I Samuel chapter 17.
vs. 26; And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, "What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?"
vss 34-37; And David said unto Saul, "Thy servant kept his fathers sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by the beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God." David said moreover, "The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said unto David, "Go, and the Lord be with thee."
vss 45-47 Then said David to the Philistine, "Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lords, and he will give you into our hands."
Here we have seen another example of great faith. David had tremendous courage in whatever circumstance he was faced with, because of his faith in God. Whether it be a ferocious beast in the wilderness, a giant and mighty warrior, kings, or opposing armies, David came through it with strong courageous faith in God.
Samson is yet another example of a man who had great faith in God. Samsons faith in God instilled in him great strength. Again, just as Abraham and David, Samson faltered and his faith weakened. But, he also came back into obedience and faith in God.
Before Samson was conceived, the angel of the Lord told his mother that he would be a Nazirite, (That is, set apart for God.), and that he would began the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines. Samson judged Israel for twenty years. He fell in love with a woman named Delilah, he fell out of obedience to God, by letting her shave his head. Samson suffered at the hands of his enemies, but through his torments he came back to God in faith and obedience. The history of Samson can be found in Judges 13:1-16:31.
We see the example of Samsons faith in Judges 16:23-30; Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, "Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand." And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, "Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us." And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, "Call for Samson, that he may make us sport." And they called for Samson out of the prison house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars. And Samson said unto the lad that led him by the hand, "Suffer me that I may feel the pillars where upon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them." Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport. And Samson called unto the Lord, and said, "O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strength me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes." And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and the other with his left. And Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines." And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.
So far, we have seen three different kinds of faith. A faith with strength, a courageous faith, and a faith with vision. Let us use these examples to try to understand the faith that God wants all of us to have. Let us look at the images in the vision that God gave to Ezekiel the priest.
Ezekiel 1:5-10 (NIV); And in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was that of a man, but each of them had four faces, and four wings. Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides they had the hands of a man. All four of them had faces and wings, and their wings touched one another. Each one went straight ahead; they did not turn as they moved. Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a man, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle.
This is a description of the faith that God wants all of us to have. The faith we can all have as a gift from God, if we would just become obedient, open our hearts, and receive His gift.
If you are walking or running towards God, Satan will not attack you. If you have ever chased a calf through the woods, you would understand the sure footedness of feet like a calf. If you are walking towards God, your legs will be strong and not become tired, strong like bronze. Isaiah 40:30-31 (NIV); Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
In appearance their form was that of a man, but each of them had four faces. The face of a man and the form of a man, symbolizing the image of a man with Gods gift of perfect faith. The face of a lion symbolizing courageous faith. The face of an ox symbolizing man having strength in faith. The face of an eagle symbolizing man having vision in faith.
Replace the face of the lion with David, the face of the ox with Samson, the face of the eagle with Abraham, and the face of the man with your own. See yourself in this image, and then you will see yourself having the faith that God wants you to have.
When your faith has become as strong as an ox, as courageous as a lion, and with the vision of an eagle, then you are ready to spread your wings and fly. Isaiah 40:31 (NIV); But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.
When you are soaring on your wings like eagles, looking up on the things of heaven, you will be gliding effortlessly in Gods glory. But if you take your eyes off the things above and look down towards the things of the world, then you will falter and start to fall. No matter how hard you beat your wings, no matter how hard you try to work to keep from falling, as long as you are looking down towards the things of the world, you will continue to fall. As you are falling remember Peter when he steeped out of boat to walk on the water to Jesus.
Matthew 14:29-31; And he said, "Come". And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, "Lord, save me." And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"
As you are falling, then you also stretch out your hand from under your wings and cry out, Jesus save me. And He will stretch forth His hand and lift you up. Jesus will renew your faith once again, and you will soar effortlessly in Gods glory, gliding through the heavens singing praises to God.
All of this faith can be yours, if you become obedient to God, open your heart, and receive His gift of faith to you.
However, do not do as I have done and sometimes continue to do, bur do as I say. The devil will throw a grain of sand in my path, I will come out screaming and fighting with a stick in one hand and a rock in the other, and the devil will beat me to the ground. Over and over again I have let this happen. Most of the time I dont even get all the way back up to my feet before I let him knock me back down again. I know that the devil must laugh hysterically at this kind of dumber than a rock attitude. Especially since I know how simple and easy it is to have victory in my life. So, do not be a dummy like I have been, but follow this advice. Walk in faith to God, resisting the devil, trusting in Jesus, and you will have no need to fear getting a beating from the devil.
If you are walking in faith, resisting the devil, and the devil tries to place a mountain in your path, just follow the instruction of Jesus in Gods Word.
Mark 11:22-23; And Jesus answering saith unto them, "HAVE FAITH IN GOD. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith."
What more can I say? Open your heart to God, become obedient and receive His gift of faith. Pray in the name of Jesus for your faith to be increased. Pray until your faith has become as courageous as a lion, as strong as an ox, and with the vision of an eagle. Pray so that you can spread your wings and soar like an eagle to the foot of the throne of God to worship Him. Then glide through the heavens, singing praises to God the Father, and to the Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Praise God! Halleleuigh! Amen.
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