Welcome back to A Message for the Messenger’s Online Bible Conference! Today I have with us another special speaker, talking on the subject of faith also. Please welcome Tye Beavers! (Tye Beavers has done another guest post here.)
“I think there are quite a few words we use too casually. The one I would like to focus on today is ‘faith’. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as ‘confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see’. Faith is the act of believing without seeing. I catch myself feeling that my faith would be stronger if I could see God’s plan or path for me. By definition, that would involve no faith! If faith requires not seeing the path ahead, stronger faith would require more belief or more confidence in a path even more unknown.
Hebrews 11 goes on to describe the men (and women) of great faith from the Old Testament. Don’t worry; I’m not going to cover them all, but I’d like to talk about two.
Noah’s faith has always amazed me. We don’t know how long he and his family spent working on the ark, but it wasn’t a weekend project. In Genesis 6, the Lord gave detailed directions on sizing, and Noah made it happen. The length of the ark was about 450 feet, and the width was about 75 feet. We are talking about a wooden boat longer than a football field! Some people believe that it hadn’t even rained prior to the flood. Even if it had, they had never had something so monumental as a world-wide flood before. Here is Noah, building a massive wooden structure, so he and his family can ‘survive’ this coming ‘flood’. Can you imagine the ridicule he and his family must have endured?
From my human mind, it seems like there are a thousand ways God could have destroyed mankind (disease, fire from heaven, or simply striking them dead). Why did He have to choose something so dramatic, so big? Why did it have to involve so much work for His servant Noah? It wasn’t so God could know how much faith Noah had, as I believe God has foreknowledge of everything that will occur. I believe the answer lies in building Noah’s faith. If we see the path clearly in front of us, then it’s too easy to trust in ourselves. If our future is in doubt, and we don’t know how we will handle issues that come up, it helps us see God as our Helper and our God. We understand how weak and powerless we are, and how strong He is.
I would like to cover another man’s life from Hebrews 11. Verse 22 refers to Joseph’s faith that God would keep His promise and move the Israelites back to their own land. Joseph was a young man who was rebuked by his father for a dream the Lord sent. He was sold into slavery by his brothers and shipped to Egypt. He was lied about by Potiphar’s wife, and imprisoned by Potiphar. We don’t know how long he was in prison, but after he was sent to prison, the king’s cupbearer and his baker were sent to prison as well. When they each had a dream, Joseph gave them the interpretations, but not before acknowledging the Lord. The cupbearer’s dream told that he would be restored to his position, and Joseph asked that he speak on his behalf. The cupbearer quickly forgot Joseph for 2 more years. It wasn’t until the king needed him that he was let out to interpret the king’s dream. Again, Joseph said he couldn’t interpret dreams, but God could.
Here is a man who has honored God, and tried to please him, and he was rebuked by his father, sold by his brothers, imprisoned by his master, and forgotten by his cellmates! If anyone had an excuse to believe God had forgotten him, or doubt his faith, Joseph was your man. In the midst of all his trouble, he kept his faith in the Lord, and he ended up a ruler in Egypt. At the end of his life, he told his family to carry his bones back to Israel when they went. He knew God had promised to give that land to Abraham and his children, and he knew his God was faithful. Even though all of his family was in Egypt, God had promised his grandfather, and he knew God kept His promises. He knew his descendants would go back to Israel, and claim the land God had promised them.
It is easy to think we have faith when we see the next step, but that’s not faith at all. Faith is not knowing what God has next for us, but following His plan anyway.”
** All Scriptures were taken from the NIV.