Faith With Feet

Have you ever noticed in the Bible how often faith is coupled with obedience? More times than not you will find that when we read something about believing, we find instructions to do something close by. We even sing the hymn, “Trust and Obey”.

The reason for this is that it is relatively easy to follow instructions where every step is clearly defined and we have a good picture of the outcome. But have you ever noticed that in life, God rarely reveals all the steps at once? Usually, He gives us just enough light to see the next step and we don’t know what lies beyond until we take that step.

God told Abraham to climb the mountain, build an altar and sacrifice his son, Isaac. He actually gave him about three steps in one. He had earlier given Abraham a glimpse of the future concerning Isaac. To Abraham, it might have seemed impossible that Isaac could die on that altar and still father a great nation, but he believed God and acted on that faith.

I cannot imagine the warring emotions in Abraham’s heart as they climbed Mt. Moriah. Isaac thinks that he and his father are about to have a great worship experience together as they had doubtless done before. Abraham is filled with feelings of dread and yet at the same time, hope.

Notice how God responds to Abraham’s faith.

Isaac says, “Father, we have the wood and the fire for the offering, but where is the sacrifice?”

Abraham replies, “God will provide himself a lamb”.

The Hebrew word for “lamb” is seh, literally the least member of the flock. At this point, Abraham would have settled for anything, even a scrawny runt of a lamb, to avoid sacrificing Isaac. This is a great picture of mere religion. Settling for the meager best that we can produce to avoid paying for our sins ourselves.

And yet when they got to the top of the mountain, they found something special. As Abraham prepared to plunge the knife into Isaac’s heart, the angel of the Lord stopped him. As he turned around, he saw not a lamb, but a ram caught in the thicket. The word used here for “ram” is ayil which means “the chief member of the flock”. This is the animal upon whom the rest of the flock depends for leadership and protection. God did not send the “least” to take our place, He sent the very best in His Son, Jesus.

It is one thing to profess a belief in God, even the demons do that. It is another to act upon that belief, to put feet on our faith, and move in a way that demonstrates our trust in God. We will find that when we obey God in faith, He will respond in ways that are “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think”.

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10 responses to “Faith With Feet

  1. Are you saying that there is a difference in merely a faith and a faith that results in obedience? i.e. works?

    That a faith absent obedience is no different than the faith that cannot save which the demons possess?

    Hmm…

    Perplexing. That sounds troubling at least. Sounds to me as if you were attempting to posit some kind of faith that was more difficult than simple mental assent.

    Hmm…

    😉

  2. Hey, you are getting my point. I don’t know if I would describe this faith as more difficult, but it certainly is of a deeper quality.

  3. my faith stinks….His faith…now that’s another matter….I think I’d rather live by His faith….fortunately since He gave Himself we have that opportunity. Way better than mental assent. 🙂

  4. Fabulous and very challenging! I so agree. 🙂

  5. Great message preacher. Among so many other things the joy of our salvation is tied directly to our faithfulness. “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way”. 😉

  6. Maybe this is from an old discussion. However, the epistle of James is written to born-again believers who had exercised saving faith.

    The idea that the faith that lacks works is a false kind of faith is pure eisegesis, despite its overwhelming popularity.

    We are saved by faith without works.

    Yes, we need to do works out of service to our Lord. But to make works an essential part of saving faith is to bring in works-righteousness in through the backdoor.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

  7. Matthew, thanks for your comment. I am not advocating a works-based salvation. The point of my post is to get us to see that when we act in faith, God responds to our faith in ways that are beyond our imagination.

    I do believe that saving faith is of such a quality that it will be able to produce such works. But the works are secondary to the faith.

    Faith is the root, works are the fruit.

  8. Gordon,

    That was a really good post. Sorry I haven’t commented for a while. As summer comes it’s left me less and less time to surf/post.

    Regarding Abraham and Isaac, I have heard that Abraham had faith that if he sacrificed Isaac, God would resurrect Isaac from the dead to fulfill the promise (similar to Christ.)

    Also, I had never heard the lamb/ram explanation. It makes a lot of sense to me.

    It reminds me of the story of Cain and Abel.

    “In the course of time Cain brought an offering to the LORD from the fruit of the soil, while Abel, for his part, brought one of the best firstlings of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not.” (Genesis 4: 3-5)

    Abel sacrificed one of the best firstlings (ayil) while Cain sacrificed “stuff” what I will assume was more “seh” than “ayil”.

    One of the first posts I wrote was about Abraham and his “obedience of faith.”

    Here’s the post if you’re interested.

    http://santilland.blogspot.com/2006/01/i-am-catholic-who-believes-in.html

    Thanks again for the great post.

    Dennis

  9. this is very encouraging. some food for the soul. God bless you, gordon.

  10. This story is summarized when God says:

    “now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me”

    Abraham feared God … I wish that I feared Him more … maybe my feet would be a bit more active :)–>

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