"The knowledge of what the Scripture means when urging upon us the necessity of cultivating faith, is more important than any other knowledge that can be obtained."
Faith is the expecting the word of God to do the thing which that word speaks, and the depending upon the word only to accomplish the thing which that word speaks.
Abraham is the father of all them which be of faith. The record of Abraham, then, gives instruction in faith—what it is, and what it does for him who has it.
What shall we say, then, that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the faith, has found? What saith the Scripture?
When Abram was more than eighty years old, and Sarai his wife was old, and he had no child, God "brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be."
And Abram "believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness." Gen. 15:5, 6. Abram accepted the word of God, and expected by the word what the word said. And in that he was right.
Sarai, however, did not put her expectation upon the word of God only. She resorted to a device of her own to bring forth seed. She said to him, "The Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her." Gen. 16:2.
Abram, for the moment, swerved from the perfect integrity of faith. Instead of holding fast his expectation and dependence upon the word of God only, he "harkened to the voice of Sarai."
Accordingly, a child was born, but the whole matter proved to be so unsatisfactory to Sarai that she repudiated her own arrangement. And God showed his repudiation of it by totally ignoring the fact that any child had been born. He changed Abram's name to Abraham, and continued to talk about making him the father of nations through the seed promised, and of making his covenant with Abraham and the seed that was promised. He also changed Sarai's name to Sarah, because she should "be a mother of nations" through the promised seed.
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