The Creation of Faith
God creates situations where we might gain more faith and so be able to safely incorporate more of His grace into our lives so that His goodness might reach more people. Faith is crucial to this process, not just the initial faith needed but the pursuing faith.
God could easily have given Abraham a son or many of them. He only gave Abram a promise of many descendants. He had no children. Surely anyone around that heard of Gods promise to aging Abram would laugh and mock him. This was the challenge of his faith that was embedded in his name Abram, meaning exalted father.
If people asked the reason Abram lived in Canaan, he would tell them that this was where God would give him a multitude of descendants. Surely we can hear the difficulty he went through. Perhaps to make the difficulty a bit worse, we read of the promises below.
We should note that this promise of a child or many children was not immediately fulfilled. It wasn't fulfilled in the next year. Basically, Abraham had to trust God to fulfill this aspect long after he was dead. The same was true about the land. He just didn't see it. He was a nomad. He owned nothing.
Abraham would face a stressful time. We will read more of this in the next lesson when we look at Abraham's failures. The lesson is most clear. God emphasized this promise to increase the tension in Abrahams's life. God was testing or proving Abraham's faith. He does this in all of our lives.
God uses these kind of methods to make us more fruitful. God is totally concerned with the increase of our faith. If our faith doesn't increase, then He cannot further bless us.
The Fulfillment by Looking Ahead
We can see God's faithfulness to His promises to Abraham when we note his many descendants. Abraham was the father of the Muslims through Ishmael. He is the father of the Jews through Jacob (which means Israel). As a spiritual father, Abraham becomes the father of faith. Only of those who have faith like him are able to be part of that special family through Jesus Christ.
People have often tried to make peace in the Middle East without really understanding the great friction that is at the heart of the problem. Islam is perhaps right in understanding that there will not be peace as long as Israel shall exist. On the other side, Israel will be with us to the end. This is essentially a spiritual problem rooted right back in Abraham's creation of a son through his own efforts.
True peace will come from Christ Jesus, not from these countries. Jesus is the Prince of Peace and all who believe in Christ will have this peace. The real land is not the physical Canaan, polluted with blood but heaven - the land of promise. Like Abraham, then, let us look "for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God" (Hebrews 11:10). There is a better country.
How has the Lord worked in your life? Can you see events that the Lord has used to increase your faith? What are they? Once you better understand God's method for increasing your faith, you can more readily accept the difficulties God places in your lives.
See more on the Waiting on God.
Genesis Introduction: Introduction to Genesis | Outline and Genealogies | Genesis' Chronologies (5 & 11) | Unified Themes of Genesis