Due to unbelief…

What defines our faith in God?

Is it just the matter of professing our belief for God and Jesus? Could one might be considered more faithful by the fact that he/she attends more church services (or related activities) than the other church-goer? Can faith be measured by what we do or how we act towards our friends/families or even our enemies?

My answer to these questions or any that may be related to this topic is…

I don’t know…but we will sure find out in the end who truly had faith or not…that was the result of the physical Israelites…

When the physical Israelites were held captive in Egypt, the chosen people cried out to God to save them from slavery and oppression.

[23] During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. [24] And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. [25] God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.
(Exodus 2:23-25 ESV)

Hearing their plea (and to fulfill the promise God made with Abraham), God chooses and sends Moses to lead God’s people out of Egypt to save them from their misery.

[30] Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. [31] Israel saw the great power that the LORD used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses.
(Exodus 14:30-31 ESV)

After receiving salvation, the people profess their faith in God and make an oath to keep God’s commands (Ex 19~) to enter the promised land (the land of Canaan).

However, even though God’s people professed their faith in God and promised that they would keep all of God’s commands, their true faith was revealed in the end.

[16] For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? [17] And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? [18] And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? [19] So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
(Hebrews 3:16-19 ESV)

These people who “believed” were not able to enter the land of Canaan and because they failed to do so their true faith in God was revealed as those with unbelief. If they’d truly believed in God, they would’ve kept God’s commands and entered the promise land (rest).

[10:1] For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, [2] and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, [3] and all ate the same spiritual food, [4] and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. [5] Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
[6] Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. [7] Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” [8] We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. [9] We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, [10] nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. [11] Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. [12] Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.
(1 Corinthians 10:1-12 ESV)

Paul writes how the things that happened to the Israelites (1 Cor 10:1-10) were written down for us as an example and warning. And he warns those who think are standing firm to be careful not to fall. Because our true faith is revealed when we do or do not keep God’s commands and promise.

So, going back to the initial question…

What defines our faith? Can we just confidently say that we believe in Jesus therefore we are set for salvation? Where is our faith coming from? Is it wholly grounded in the Word?

Though these passages may not be the most encouraging or heart warming, I hope that they will be a motivation and challenge for all of us – to honestly step back and to take look at our faith walk to check whether we are in the faith or not (2 Cor 13). Like Ephesians 4 says, I pray that we may unite our knowledge of God’s word with faith so that we may attain the whole measure of Christ and have our faith truly be acknowledge by God!

So shall your offspring be.

Last week, we saw through Scripture that God’s plans always come to fulfillment.

No matter how old or weak Abraham might have been, God promised Abraham and Sarah that they would have an offspring, Isaac; and it was so. And in Genesis 17, God prophesies to establish an everlasting covenant with Isaac as well as with Isaac’s offspring (later Jacob and the physical Israelites) and promises that they will enter the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession.

However, as we read through Genesis, after God makes this covenant with Abraham, God commands Abraham to offer his only son Isaac as a burnt offering…

Wait, pause right here…didn’t God promise that Abraham would be the father of a multitude of nations? How would this covenant be fulfilled when Isaac would be offered as a sacrifice? God surely promised that he would establish a covenant with no other than Isaac (Genesis 17).

Obviously, we know the outcome of this story…

[10] Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. [11] But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” [12] He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”
(Genesis 22:10-12 ESV)

And Apostle Paul elaborates on this…

[17] By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, [18] of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” [19] He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.
(Hebrews 11:17-19 ESV)

What’s amazing about this story is that Abraham believed God’s promised would be fulfilled no matter what. Abraham believed that though Isaac may be sacrificed, God was able to bring him back to life in order to fulfill his promise. Now, that’s faith. But we have to understand that Abraham did not just merely believe in God’s promises/prophecies, he understood them and acted upon them, which credited him as righteousness.

[21] Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? [22] You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;
(James 2:21-22 ESV)

Because Abraham acted upon his faith, God saw him righteous. Just like this, in order for us to be righteous before God as well, let us fully understand God’s promises/prophecies through the Word so that we may have faith and put it into action!

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Fully convinced

We’ve heard it many times before: the story of Isaac’s birth. And sometimes, we take these Old Testament stories as mere history that have no relevance to us. And when this happens, we tend to overlook how great God is and how God’s promise/plan always come to fulfillment.

[4] “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. [5] No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. [6] I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. [7] And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. [8] And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”

(Genesis 17:4-8 ESV)

God promises Abraham that he and Sarah will have a child, named Isaac. Upon receiving this promise, Abraham laughs and questions how a child could be born to a man who is a hundred years old and a woman, ninety (Genesis 17). To this, God replies again that they will bear a child named Isaac and an everlasting covenant will be made through him (Genesis 21). Like the Scripture testifies, God had fulfilled what he has promised and through Abraham’s son Isaac, Abraham is made the father of nation of the physical Israelites. And Apostle Paul again explains more about this part of Scripture…

[17] as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. [18] In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” [19] He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. [20] No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, [21] fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.

(Romans 4:17-21 ESV)

Apostle Paul describes how Abraham, though he was weak in body, was able to become the father of many nations through his offspring Isaac because he grew strong in faith in God. Verses 20-21 describe how Abraham did not waver concerning God’s promise in unbelief but was fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.

So, what is my point here and how does this story relate to us as believers? Simply said, God’s promise/plan will always be fulfilled and come to a reality. Throughout the Bible, God promises us life and blessings if we fully obey God and follow all his commands (Deuteronomy 28:1-14). However, if we, as believers, do not obey God and follow all his commands, God promises death and curses (Deuteronomy 28:15-68). (Look at the result of the physical Israelites: they were not able to receive God’s blessing and life due to disobedience-the first generation died in the desert). I am sure none of us would want death and curses. So, let us continue to seek to understand the meaning of God’s words, be the ones who build that knowledge with faith and obedience, and receive the blessing that God had promised within the Scriptures!

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God is Alive!

God swore that the things he has planned and purposed will be and will stand. 

[24] The LORD of hosts has sworn:
“As I have planned,
so shall it be,
and as I have purposed,
so shall it stand,
(Isaiah 14:24 ESV)

Throughout the Bible, we can witness how God made promises and accomplished them accordingly; a prophecy was made and it was certainly fulfilled. From the history of the Old Testament, we see how God worked through his chosen prophets to fulfill all that God had planned. And from these evidences alone, we are sure that God is a God of the living and not of the dead.

Take a look at the time of Abraham, God makes a covenant (promise) with Abraham (at this time, Abram) that Abraham’s descendants will be enslaved and mistreated for four hundred years in a country not their own. God promised that he would punish the nation where Abraham’s offspring would serve as slaves and flee from.

[13] Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. [14] But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.
(Genesis 15:13-14 ESV)

Looking at this prophecy alone, no one can understand the meaning until this prophecy comes to fulfillment. Thankfully, just like God had promised in Isaiah 14, God will accomplishes the promises that he had made; prophecy will be fulfilled and come to reality.

[40] The time that the people of Israel lived in Egypt was 430 years. [41] At the end of 430 years, on that very day, all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. [42] It was a night of watching by the LORD, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; so this same night is a night of watching kept to the LORD by all the people of Israel throughout their generations.
(Exodus 12:40-42 ESV)

As we are all aware, the promise that was made between God and Abraham was fulfilled in the time of Exodus. Through Moses, the physical Israelites, and the pagan nation of Egypt, we witness God’s plan had been accomplished accordingly.

From today’s prophecy and fulfillment, how can we deny the truth that God works and is alive? God worked and is still working today in order to wholly complete the prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled! I hope that we all rely on the word to find the answers and from the knowledge of the word, we may build our faith!

P.S. Apologies to our readers for the MIA! But we are back! We will be posting regularly so continue to check us out! And don’t forget to leave comments, ask questions, and share your thoughts! Thanks!