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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: F.E. Marsh :: Readings 351-400 (Seven - The Cries)

F.E. Marsh :: 384. “Steps of Faith”

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GENESIS 12:1-9

  1. The Beginning of Faith. “The Lord had said” (Gen. 12:1). Faith has no existence apart from revelation. Nature is a revelation of God’s handiwork. Christ is God manifest in the flesh. The Written Word is the unfolding of Christ the Living Word; and by that Word, heard as the voice of God, faith is begotten in the soul, for faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
  2. The Call of Faith. “Get thee out,” &c. (Gen. 12:1). Abram is called to separate himself from his country and kindred. It was no light task, but faith is always obedient (Hebrews 11:8). The same principle applies to the believer in Christ. Christ says we must be willing to leave all to follow Him, and no earthly relation must hinder. See the three “Cannots” in Luke 14:26-33.
  3. The Promise of Faith. See the four “I wills” in Gen. 12:1-2, and 3. When the Lord says, “I will,” it means that He gives the power to perform. His “I will” is the name to the cheque that is honoured at Heaven’s bank. The “Thou shalt” of the Law only brought consternation and condemnation, but the “I will” of grace always brings consecration and consolation to faith.
  4. The Blessing of Faith. “Be thou a blessing” (Gen. 12:2, R.V.). Faith having received the promise of God, and thus being blessed by God, is now responsible to be a blessing. Notice the Revised Version gives the more correct reading. Every blessing and privilege of grace brings a corresponding responsibility. Having received, we are to give (John 6:11). Having heard, we are to tell (John 4:29; 1 John 1:3). Having found, we are to find (John 1:45).
  5. The Obedience of Faith. “Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken” (Gen. 12:4). It was enough for Abram that he had God’s command to leave his kin and country; so to faith it is sufficient that the Lord speaks for it to act. From reason’s standpoint it was a foolish thing for Abram to leave home not knowing where he was going (Heb. 11:8), but it was enough for him that God had said, “I will shew thee” (Gen. 12:1). Surely it is better to walk with God in the dark than go by ourselves in the light? Faith says, “Yes,” and acts accordingly.
  6. The Concern of Faith. “Abram took,” &c. (Gen. 12:5). Abram did not leave his family behind him, but took them with him. Faith is ever concerned about the welfare of others. It is never content to be blessed alone. “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee” (Mark 5:19) is the Lord’s word to faith-faith never hesitates to respond, for the evidence of faith in Christ is seen in its concern for the welfare of others, as illustrated in the case of the saints at Thessalonica, who, having “turned to God,” were “ensamples” to others, and who, having “received the Word,” “sounded the word out” to their neighbours (1 Thess. 1:6-9).
  7. The Enemy of Faith. “The Canaanite was then in the land” (Gen. 12:6). The Canaanite would probably dispute Abram’s right to be in the land; and there are those who question the believer’s walk of faith. Self says, “I would not.” Unbelief says, “I cannot.” Reason says, “I will not.” The world says, “It pays not.” Satan says, “Do not.” But faith says, “Why not?” By faith, God is my Father, Christ is my Saviour, the Holy Spirit is my Comforter, Holiness is my walk, Truth is my regulator, Saints are my companions, and Heaven is my home.
  8. The Revelation of Faith. “The Lord appeared unto Abram” (Gen. 12:7). This was for Abram’s encouragement and strength. Trapp well says, “The sight of those wicked Canaanites might discourage him and unsettle his faith.” But then the sight of God relieved him; and the promise, “Unto thy seed will I give this land,” could not but put spirit into him, and make his good old heart to dance in his bosom. When the poor soul sinks sometimes at the sight of those Canaanites, and despairs almost of a conquest, God lets in a beam of His own light, and comforts it with some cordial promise, which is as Boaz was to Naomi, “A restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age” (Ruth 4:15).
  9. The Worship of Faith. “There builded he an altar” (Gen. 12:7). The altar speaks of four things, namely, confession, atonement, communion, and worship. Three of the four things are related to worship. Confession of sin is the prelude to worship, for there can be no worship if there is sin on the conscience. Atonement is the basis of worship, for we can only worship God through the sacrifice of Christ (Heb. 10:19, 22; Eph. 2:18). Communion is essential to worship, for we can only worship the Lord as we have all things in common with Him; and worship itself is the heart boiling over with gratitude to Him for His love and mercy to us (Psalm 103:1-2).
  10. The Dwelling of Faith. “His tent” (Gen. 12:8). The tent is the symbol of pilgrim life (Heb. 11:9), and a confession that Abram was looking for an abiding city (Heb. 11:10). In like manner the believer in Christ is a stranger and pilgrim (1 Peter 2:11). As a “stranger” he has no home in the world; that is, the world cannot satisfy him; and as a “pilgrim” he is passing through the world, that is, his aim and object are to please God in having no fellowship with the evil things in the world (1 John 2:16), as Bunyan’s pilgrims-Christian and Faithful-would not have anything to do with Vanity Fair, its goods or its occupants, and were persecuted in consequence.
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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