Rom.4:19 “He (Abraham) did not weaken in his faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead … or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. Vs 20 ” … he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God.” Vs 21 “fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” Vs 22 “That is why his faith was counted to him as righteousness.”
Abraham had not received the fulfillment of the promise of God, yet he was glorifying God. As a result of this, he grew strong in his faith. Abraham knew the promise God made to him, and he glorified God before the promise was fulfilled. He based his faith on who God is (“fully convinced that God was able”), not on the circumstances of his own life (“he was as good as dead”). Abraham was counted as righteous by God because of this kind of faith.
How often do I reverse the order of Abraham’s actions? With me is it usually: Step 1 – Something good happens in my life! Step 2 – I’ll credit God for it happening! Step 3 – I glorify God for his goodness. (And maybe even “step 4”, where I glorify myself for being such a “good Christian” who credits God for the good things in my life & doesn’t take credit myself. … But I’ll leave that thought for another time.) “To God be the glory!” is a common refrain to God’s goodness in life. But this is in response to “good things happening”. And it’s almost become “cliche” in Christian circles … Like saying “God bless you” after a sneeze. How sad, could I really let glorifying God become cliche, trite, … a superficial response? With Abraham he first glorified God! And then his faith grew strong! And later God’s promise (to be a father of generations and nations) was fulfilled. Those words … “he grew strong in his faith AS HE GAVE GLORY TO GOD” ring in my ears and heart. It’s so much easier to “grow in faith” as God gives to me! But then, is that faith? Or is that merely thankfulness? Abraham was righteous because of FAITH, not because he said “Thank You”. Perhaps my favorite definition of “faith” is: Believing God is who He says He is and will do what He says He’ll do. This is precisely the faith Abraham shows. And it’s in seeing this faith that the words of Jesus makes sense, “A wicked generation demands a sign”. How many future generations of Abraham would demand signs & miracles … including my own generation? But Abraham glorified God BEFORE the sign of a fulfilled promise. To glorify God the way Abraham did is not as a response to God, but as a “pre”-sponse to God. What does that look like for me? … God seems silent. I will glorify God. God seems absent. I will glorify God. I can’t see God “showing up” in my days. I will glorify God. When my life isn’t “all good” or even terrible. I will glorify God. I will glorify God because of who He is, not because of my circumstances. And my faith will grow stronger. And I will be counted as righteous.
Father God, thank you for the gift of faith. Holy Spirit encourage me and empower me to exercise this gift of faith even when I don’t see the evidence or promise of God revealed. Jesus I pray that I would live to glorify God in my everyday actions just as you did. In Jesus name, Amen!