For the past week or so I have been spending time in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. I’ve been asking myself “What is true of God, which led men and women of God to walk by radically obedient faith?” Here are a few truths from the first 19 verses.
- God is the One who approves of faith (v. 2).
- God made the world out of nothing. Nothing means nothing (v. 3).
- God is pleased, right now, with the walk of faith (v. 5).
- God is. This is reality. Everything disconnected from this reality is fantasy (v. 6).
- God grants righteousness on the basis of faith (v. 7).
- God is faithful to lead those who belong to Him, though we may not know the specifics of where we are going (v. 8).
- God is the God of promises and the God of inheritance (vv. 9-10).
- God is faithful [Sarah ‘considered’ this true!] (v. 11).
- God is the keeper of promises. He kept his promise to Abraham, though Abraham was “as good as dead” (v. 12).
“All these died in faith.” What does this mean? It means they died in a state of faith—a state of active belief—looking to the future fulfillment of the promises of God. They lived as strangers on earth having welcomed the promises from a distance.
Then, specifically, as I was thinking about Abraham’s test of faith and love (as he willingly offering up Isaac), it occurred to me that the obedience of his faith is a beautiful illustration of Proverbs 3:5-6 in action. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Abraham was tested to see whom he loved the most. As he was “offering up his only begotten son,” he chose to trust in the Lord rather than leaning on his own understanding and the evidence of his trust was radical obedience to God’s Word.
In order to walk by faithful obedience and the obedience of faith, Abraham had to get past the obstacle of his own limited thinking. Who was Isaac? He was the son of promise. He was the seed of promise. He was the only conceivable answer to Abraham’s human understanding of how God’s promise to him could be properly fulfilled. Therefore, Abraham had to choose to not lean on his own understanding, but to trust in the word of the Lord. That was the only pathway to obedience.
And so, brothers and sisters, it is the same for us. To walk in the obedience of faith we must choose to submit the limitations of our own powers of reasoning to the clear commands of the Word of God. As we do so, God is faithful to make our paths straight.