Faith Enough to Follow

Bible Book: Genesis  12 : 4
Subject: Faith

Learning to live in an attitude of faith toward God is the foundation stone of the Christian life (Heb. 11:6a). However, faith is not merely a word in our religious vocabulary. Faith is the only way the child of God can experience intimate communion and fellowship with God (2 Cor. 5:7). In fact, God is the very object of the Christian’s faith. Any claim of faith that rest upon mere feelings, formulas, or emotional frenzy is fraudulent at best. Faith as the Bible teaches it, relies wholly upon the character of God’s person and the certainty of His promises (Rom. 4:16-22).
Biblical faith is not a lesson learned by a few crash courses on the topic. Rather, it is a lesson learned via the rocky roads of one’s life, the emotional ups and downs of one’s daily journey, and the appointments and disappointments of one’s earthly experience. Faith in God is a lesson the Christian is obliged to learn; and yet, obviously, never learns in its entirety.
The patriarch Abraham grew up in the markedly pagan society of Ur of the Chaldees, a place in Mesopotamia, “…situated near to the Persian Gulf.” The Bible tells us that God appeared to Abraham sometime “…shortly after the destruction of Babel and dispersion of the nations.” It is also interesting to note that, “This is the first recorded ‘appearing’ of God after the banishment of our parents from Eden.” However, the point I wish to make clear here is that Abraham, or Abram, as he was referred to then, was himself, a pagan. There was nothing about his background or birth that made him special to God. He was an idolater, plain and simple. Yet, God, by his divine grace and pleasure, chose to reveal Himself to Abraham. From the moment God revealed Himself to Abraham, he began the journey of revelation and faith with God, for, “…Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6). God’s dealings with the lost sinner are always according to grace, not merit.

In this message, I will attempt to reveal some of the significant attributes of a life motivated and made meaningful by a biblical faith in God. Only a life of faith pleases God. That should be motivation enough.

Theme: As we look at Abraham’s life, we notice…

A. He Obeyed, not Knowing the Particulars.

Gen. 12:1 “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee.”

NOTE: [1] Can you imagine doing what Abraham did? How would you have responded to God’s command to simply pickup and move away from your family and friends, and from all that you’d known and held dear your whole life? Not only that, but how would you feel about not knowing where you were going. God simply told Abram that He would show him the land. God did not tell him the name of the land to which he was to travel or give him a map to follow. One writer notes:

The story of Abram’s believing begins, of course, with God. The initiative was all His. Unregenerate man is so wedded to his idols that the initiative must begin with God…The Word of God must come in power to break the hold of unregenerate belief.

[2] Abraham simply chose to take God at His word. You see; real faith is that within the believer’s heart that confidently lays hold of God, and chooses to obey and trust Him, even when He cannot be seen, felt, or understood. True faith does not require an explanation in order to trust God’s character and promises. Again, Chambers notes the following:

Experience [obvious proof that God can be trusted] is never the ground of our trust; it is only the gateway to the One in whom we trust. The work of faith is not an explanation but a determination to obey God and to make a concession [yielding] of our faith in His character. As soon as we do what God says, we discern what He means.
The natural man insists on explanations, because whatever he can explain, he can command. In the spiritual domain nothing is explained until we obey, and then it is not so much an explanation as an instant discernment. ‘If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know…” (see John 7:17).

[3] Far too many Christians talk of wanting to follow God, but actually mean that they want to follow God on their own terms. They want to call the shots and construct the scenery of their lives, rather than simply submitting to God, no strings attached. This whole idea is antithetical to the life of faith.

B. He Obeyed, Needing only God’s Promises.

Gen. 12:2 “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.
3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
4a So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him…”

NOTE: [1] Beginning in verse two, Abraham receives the statement of faith. God promises to make of Abraham and his seed “…a great nation…” (v. 2a), to bless Abram and make his name great, and make him a blessing to others. God also promised Abram His protection and defense in that He would bless those that blessed Abram, and curse those who cursed him (v. 3a). God went on to say that all the peoples of the earth would receive blessing through Abraham (v. 3b). Someone has aptly noted that, “Faith is just believing what God said He would do.” That is essentially what Paul said in Romans 4:21, when he stated, “And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” However, faith does not stop here.
[2] Abram not only received and believed the statement of faith, but he acted upon his confidence in God’s promises and took the step of faith—“So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him…” (Gen. 12:4a). Chambers says:

If we are going to obey God, there must be a concession made on our part; we deliberately have to trust the character of God in the face of all obstacles.

[3] It is noteworthy here that the actual step of faith began when Abraham, his father, and family left Ur of the Chaldees. However, this was only partial obedience, since God told Abraham to “…give up both natural and national ties. There was to be a complete break with the past.” This partial obedience on the part of Abraham caused some problems. It is significant I think, that Abraham’s father’s name, Terah, means “‘…delay’…Terah’s accompanying Abram resulted in a delay of at least five years in Haran, which word means ‘parched.’” Someone has defined faith with the following acrostic:



Gen. 12:5a “And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan…”

A. One Learned Faith toward God.

Heb. 11:11 “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him (God) faithful who had promised.”

NOTE: [1] Though Abram and Sarah faltered in their faith, via the Hagar and Ishmael fiasco (Gen. 16), by trying to help God fulfill His promise, both of them eventually came to understand that God’s word could be trusted.
[2] Sarah, who once laughed in unbelief at the assertion of the pre-incarnate Christ that she would bear a son (Gen. 18:9-15), finally came to know with certainty that nothing was too hard for God (Gen. 18:14a).

B. One Lacked Faith toward God.

Gen. 13:10a “And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where…
11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
12 And Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.”

NOTE: [1] Not everyone who is introduced to the life of faith will accept it as their lifestyle. Many are so plugged into intellectualism that the life of faith seems too illogical to them. On the other hand, some are so plugged into materialism that the life of faith seems too costly for them.
[2] Notice the plane upon which Lot lived his life. In verse 10, we are told, “Lot…beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered…” Lot lived his life based on what he could see and figure out. When Abraham offered Lot first choice, he figured, “I’ve got to get what I can, while I can, and can all I get.” He figured, “I’ve got to look out for ole Number One.” Faithlessness always says, “I’ve go to look out for me first.”
[3] Notice the contrast between the choices of Lot and those of Abraham. “Abraham dwelled in the land of Canaan” (Gen. 13:12a), the land of promise, while “Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom” (Gen. 13:b), the land of corruption.

Gen. 13:13 “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.”

Rom. 14:23b “…for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”


A. Abraham Walked with God.

Gen. 12:5c “…and into the land of Canaan they came.
6a And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh…”

NOTE: Abraham was still in the early stages of his faith walk. God had not yet told him the meaning of His promises, or where he was going, but he was still following God, one step at a time. God told him to go, and go he did, until he finds himself in the land of Canaan.

B. Abraham Waited on God.

Gen. 12:6b “…And the Canaanite was then in the land.
7 And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him.”

NOTE: [1] Most of us cannot get any real light or direction from the Lord for one of two reasons: (a) We will not submit ourselves to Him and be obedient, or, (b) We won’t wait on God. Someone has noticed, “If Satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.” Abraham eventually learned to obey God, and to wait on Him.
[2] Abraham finally receives enlightenment as to what God had been up to in his life. In essence, God said, “Abraham, you’re here. I’m going to give you and your children the very land you’re standing on—the land of Canaan.”
[3] At this point, Abraham builds an altar and worships God, and thanks Him for His promises, insight, and understanding. The child of God must never demand to understand how things are going to turn out, or where they are going to wind up, and how they’re going to get there, before they choose to trust God. If we as Christians are walking by faith, God is in charge, not us. Again, Chambers hits the proverbial nail on the head, when he says:

The natural man insists on explanations, because whatever he can explain, he can command. In the spiritual domain nothing is explained until we obey, and then it is not so much an explanation as an instant discernment. “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know…” (see John 7:17).

C. Abraham Worshipped God.

Gen. 12:8 “And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord.”

NOTE: Bro. Chambers has said, “The measure of the worth of our public activity for God is the private, profound communion we have with Him.”




Check out the author’s recently released book, entitled, Meditations of the Heart: Thoughts on the Christian Life, at:


Copyright © July 1990 by Rev. Donnie L. Martin. All rights reserved.