2. Abraham’s Faith

Hebrews chapter 11 is one of many passages in the New Testament that is very important, because in this chapter there are verses that often become the basis for defining Christian’s faith. In fact, understanding about faith is the epicenter of a Christian life. Misunderstanding about faith would be fatal. Many people interpret faith in these verses as confidence to gain something. So, if one dares to believe that he will get something, then what is believed would be realized or attained. Actually it is the same like positive thinking, whereas it is not faith. From Hebrews 11: 8-18 we could see the struggle of Abraham to keep his faith. This struggle was important because Abraham became the example of our faith. He is the father of believers, meaning that believers should have the type and quality of faith like Abraham. Faith is about being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.1 In this verse it is expressed that there is something that is hoped for and faith is the proof. Now what is such thing? Christians usually fill it with various matters. As if God’s people can “have faith” (trust strongly to get it) whatever that is regarded as necessities (a house, a car, a success in career and a soul mate, healing, etc.), then they will get it miraculously.  This is an incorrect thought, even a misleading one. With that kind of mindset, a Christian will never be spiritual, and will never pursue above all the Kingdom of God. His mind was fixed on earthly affairs.

Looking at faith leaders in the Old Testament, they were those who lived in righteousness and obedience to God’s will in certain measure. They did not step up to the ambitions and desires of their own, but they lived only to do what God commanded to be done. They were the people who served God. Throughout the course of their life, they dedicated their whole lives to God. Certainly “everything” that became the object of faith was not something contrary to God’s will. Basically the object of their faith was the Lord Himself; that was how to do His will. Everything that became the object of their faith certainly was everything that was according to God’s will and plan. For this, let us look at the life of Abraham to obtain what was the object of Abraham’s faith.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place he would later receive as an inheritance, and he went out without understanding where he was going.2 In this verse we can see the obedience of Abraham in doing what God commanded without any suspicion at all. This was an unconditional faith. It was to believe without an argument. To understand how extraordinary Abraham’s faith was, we must bring ourselves in the position of Abraham when he got the call to go out from his nation.3 He had to leave his establishment, leaving the city of Ur or often was also called Ur of the Chaldeans, a modern city around the Euphrates river in his days. Compared with present day, it is parallel to the metropolis. The most common explanation, Ur was also called Uri, Tel el-modern, 14 Km west of Nasirieh near the Euphrates river in Iraq. From the findings in 1922-1934 under the leadership of Wooley, there were data that indicated the country was already in advanced stage in its days. The city’s history and economy was very apparent from thousands of relics with carved writing and the existence of many buildings. They had a god named Nannar. There was also a ruined tower (ziggurat), the temple was founded by Ur-Nam, founder of the third dynasty of Sumer that once gloriously dominated the area. Abraham left Ur-Chaldeans without looking back, because until the end of his life he never returned to his ancestral homeland on earth. His departure from Ur-Chaldeans to receive the land promised by God Yahweh was his journey as a pilgrim. Since he left the country he became a sojourner; a nomadic nation that did not have permanent dwelling. They just built tents, not permanent dwellings as their homes in Ur of the Chaldeans.4

1) Hebrews 11: 1; 2) Hebrews 11: 8; 3) Genesis 12: 1-3; 4) Hebrews 11: 9

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