"BEING STRONG IN THE FAITH"
I. HE CONSIDERED NOT HIS OWN BODY NOW DEAD WHEN HE WAS ABOUT 100 YEARS OLD.
A. One of the first things we consider are the difficulties, or improbabilities.
1. We are prone to categorize things as easy, average, difficult, impossible.
2. We often then carry our categories over to God.
a. If it is easy for us, then surely it is easy for God.
b. If it is difficult for us, then it must be difficult for God.
c. If it is impossible for us, then it must be impossible for God.
3. Yet Jesus said, "With God all things are possible."
4. To the prophet Jeremiah God said, "I am God is there anything too hard for Me?"
B. Difficulty must always be measured by the capacity of the agent doing the work.
1. If God is the agent doing the work any talk of difficulty is absurd.
2. Difficult is not a word in God's vocabulary.
C. When I am facing a tough problem the first thing I do is try to figure out how God might work things out.
1. If I only win the Readers Digest sweepstakes then my worries will be over. After all, I am one of the finalists.
2. O God help them to draw my number.
3. You see what has happened? I have figured out a way for God help me and my prayer is no longer a direct prayer, but a direction prayer.
a. One of the major problems with direction prayers is that God often does not follow our directions.
b. When He doesn't follow our directions then we are prone to say that He doesn't answer prayer.
c. God said My ways are not your ways. I have found out that His ways are often far more simple than mine, and I wonder why I didn't think of that.
4. Another problem of trying to figure out how God might help me is when I can't think of any possible way out. If I can't figure it out, how can God possible figure it out?
D. Nor yet the deadness of Sarah's womb.
1. We seem to have a double problem here.
a. Abraham is impotent. "His body now dead."
b. Sarah has gone through the change of life. "The deadness of Sarah's womb."
2. Abraham did not consider these things.
II. HE STAGGERED NOT AT THE PROMISES OF GOD THROUGH UNBELIEF.
A. How many times we are guilty of staggering at the promises of God.
1. Let me give you a test. The Bible promises, "But My God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus our Lord?"
2. How many times have you staggered at that promise.
3. All things are working together for good for those who love God. Ever stagger at that one?
B. The Old Testament gives us an interesting story of a man that staggered at the promises of God.
1. II Kings 6
records the siege of the city of Samaria by Ben- Hadad the king of Syria.
2. The famine became so bad in the city that the jawbone of a donkey was selling for 80 pieces of silver.
3. As King Jehoram was walking on the wall a woman cried unto him for help. He answered, "What ails you?" She responded this woman said to me let us eat your son today, and tomorrow we will eat my son. So we boiled my son and ate him, now she has hid her son, make her produce him so that we might eat him.
4. The King said, "God do so to me and more, if the head of Elisha is still on him by the end of the day."
5. So the king sent a man to get Elisha's head.
6. As Elisha was talking to the elders in his house suddenly he said, "Look what that son of a murderer is doing now, he is sending a man to get my head. When he knocks on the door hold him fast at the door for behold the feet of his master is right behind."
7. So there was a rap at the door and the friends of the prophet pinned the messenger with the door and the king came up with his prime minister.
8. Elisha then told them, by this time tomorrow they will be selling a measure of fine flour in the gates of Samaria for 65 cents. The man on whom the king leaned scoffed and said, "If God should open windows in heaven could such a thing be?"
a. You see, he was wondering how God might bring His promise to pass.
b. All he could imagine is that God would begin to open chutes in heaven and rain flour down upon the city.
9. The prophet answered, "You will see it but you won't eat it."
C. That night there were four leprous men outside the walls of city who because of their disease could not enter the city but had been surviving on the garbage that was thrown over the wall. But lately no garbage is coming over, the people are selling it for premium prices.
1. One of them looking at the others from his hollow eyes said, "Why do we sit here until we die? No sense of going into the city for they are dying there, let us venture over to the camp of the Syrians, if they help us we will live, if they kill us, we are going to die anyhow."
2. So at twilight they headed out for the Syrian camp.
3. Four leprous men weakened by great hunger helping each other in the twilight darkness heading for the camp of the Syrian army.
4. God caused the sound of their coming to be interpreted by the Syrian guards as the sound of chariots, and they surmised that the king of Samaria had hired the Egyptians to help who had arrived with their army and chariots.
5. They began to panic and run through the camp crying, the Egyptians are coming.
6. The whole army fled in disarray.
7. By the time the four leprous men had arrived at the first tent, the camp was vacated and they found the table all set with plenty of food.
8. They began to gorge themselves on the food and they went to the next tent and found food aplenty there also.
9. They decided that they had best return to the city of Samaria and let them know the good news that there was more than enough food for everyone.
10. When the word came to the king, he said, "It's a trap. The Syrians know how hungry we are and have withdrawn into the bushes waiting for us to open the gates and come pouring out, then they will pounce on us, don't let anyone go out."
11. One of the king's men asked for permission to ride out to see if he could discover any of the Syrian army and in the morning he returned with the message that the Syrians had indeed fled, he went all the way to the Jordan river and only found their coats and sandals that they had shed so that they could run faster.
12. The king put the man upon whom he leaned in charge of the gate to see that the people went out in an orderly fashion, however the people in their desire to plunder the Syrian camp, trampled him to death. So he saw it but he did not eat. The tragic price of unbelief, and staggering at the promises of God.
III. BEING STRONG IN THE FAITH HE GAVE GLORY TO GOD.
A. This means that he was praising God before there was any evidence.
B. Let us step into a time machine and set the dials for approximately 1900 B.C.
1. We step off in Hebron and decide to walk to Beersheba.
2. Just outside of Hebron we see an expansive tent and many flocks grazing on the hillside.
3. An old man sitting under an oak invites us to rest a bit in the shade and be refreshed before we continue our journey.
4. As he talks with us he stops every once in a while to give spontaneous praise.
5. We finally ask him why he seems to joyous and he informs us that his wife is going to have a baby boy.
6. We ask his age and he tells us that he is 100 years old and his wife is in her nineties.
7. We ask how many children they have and he tells us that they haven't been able to have any children up till now.
8. We then ask, "How long has she been pregnant?" and he tells us, "Oh she is not pregnant yet."
9. As we continue our journey to Beersheba we say, "Leave him be poor old man, at least he is happy."
IV. BEING FULLY PERSUADED THAT WHAT GOD HAD PROMISED, HE WAS ABLE TO PERFORM.
A. The question is can God do it?
1. Is He able to supply your need?
2. Is He able to solve your problem?
B. You answer, "Of course." Great you already are on the way to the faith of Abraham. You already have one of the keys to faith.