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When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”Genesis 17:1-2
I walk by faith. Each step by faith. To live by faith I put my trust in you. So goes the children’s song. So was the command of God to Abraham: “Walk before me faithfully and be blameless.” So went the life of Abraham. So goes life for one who believes in Jesus. After all, Jesus’ inaugeral sermon was “The time has come. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel.”
So what does it mean to walk by faith? If we take seriously the life of Abraham we will learn much. First of all, it involves a lot of waiting. Abraham and Sarah have waited for a long time for the birth of a son God had promised. They will wait 13 more years. Walking faithfully involves waiting. Waiting, hoping, and trusting are braided together in a life of walking with God in faithfulness.
If we are waiting we are anticipating something. Something specific. In this case it is the fulfillment of the specific promise of God to Abraham: “You will have a son.” He is not waiting for merely a good feeling. He is not waiting for a spiritual sense of peace. He is waiting for a son. A promised son. And he will continue to wait.
Faith also looks beyond human obstacles to God’s plans. Abraham and Sarah are both well past the age of child bearing. It may or may not qualify for Sarah to become pregnant. You might even wonder how they would even manage to conceive. Abraham and Sarah do not let these stand in the way of God’s promises taking flesh in the birth of the son who will be born to them. Faith looks for real fulfillments of real promises no matter what path that takes. No matter how difficult the fulfillment of the promise appears.
Faith also follows where God leads. Here the words of God may confuse us. God tells Abraham to walk before him faithfully and be blameless. That doesn’t sound like following God. But to walk before God is to be aware of his presence as we go from day to day. That will surely shape the decisions we make, and the way we live.
Abraham will wait a long time. But the son will be born. He will also face a grave challenge to his faith when he takes Isaac to the mountain God would show him. Such is the walk of faith.
We have been given a promise by God. It is centered in Jesus who fulfilled all the promises of God about the coming Savior. God calls us to wait, hope, and trust in him. He calls us to walk faithfully before him. That will take time. But he is faithful and true. And he will be with you the whole way.