Abraham is our ‘faith father’ when it comes to the journey of faith. This morning, we looked at how he models faith for us and shows us how to be those who are “willing to live in the risky faith-embrace of God’s action for them” (Rom 4:12, The Message)

We are first introduced to Abraham (then called ‘Abram’, ‘exalted father’) in Genesis 11 and in Genesis 12:1-5 we hear God’s call to him and his response to that in setting out from Harran on a journey which would occupy him for the next one hundred years! He set out on a journey of faith, not really knowing what to expect, not really knowing where he was going, simply knowing that God was speaking to him and believing that that was enough. Hebrews 11:8 says ‘By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going’. We don’t always have all the answers as we set out to walk by faith, but the key question is not whether we can understand what God is saying to us but whether we will obey. Understanding often comes later on in the process: what precedes it is obedience.

Abram’s initial response to God in setting out on this journey of faith is the beginning of his adventures. Our initial response to God in setting out on the journey of the faith is also the beginning of our salvation adventures. The journey starts when we realise we cannot save ourselves and have to receive God’s gift of righteousness by faith (see Romans 1-3). That has to be a personal response to God and will always seem risky! But just as we start the journey by faith, so we must continue by faith: ‘we live by faith, not by sight.’ (2 Cor 5:7) Paul had strong words for the Galatian church which started off well enough by faith but then believed they had to continue by works! (Gal 3:3) Abraham journeyed to many different places throughout his life, and at each place, he received further revelation from God and that deepened his relationship with God. Time and time again in the story we read how that happens and Abram responds in worship and with sacrifices. Wherever he went, it seems he ‘built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the Lord.’ (Gen 12:8)

Abraham shows us how to start our journey of faith: by hearing God, obeying God, embracing what God says and does for us, no matter what it may look like to the natural eye.

He shows us how to continue to walk in faith, having that deepening relationship with God and continuing to respond to each revelation God gives him with worship and sacrifice and obedience – even when what God is saying doesn’t seem to make sense, as will happen many times over this hundred year journey!

And he shows us how to end the journey, still looking ahead to all that God has for him, eyes on the eternal city built by God (Hebrews 11:9-16):

“Oh, the glorious day when we arrive
And Heaven’s gates are opened wide
All our fear and pain will fade away
When we see You
Face to face,
Our Great and Awesome King .
You will reign in brilliant light
Forever glorified
In Your city
And we, Your daughters and Your sons ,
Will see the kingdom come
In Your city.” (‘In Your City’, Phil Wickham)

‘In Your City’, Phil Wickham