Jesus said in Matthew 17:30: “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” A mustard seed is really tiny—Jesus is not talking about much faith. The amazing thing about faith is that we are all gifted with a measure, enough to start with; but the more we exercise it, the larger it grows. Every time we step out in faith (like Abraham, having no idea where God was leading him, but in faith following anyway), God shows Himself strong on our behalf, and our faith in Him grows. We have to step out though—out of our comfort zone, out of the need to control everything ourselves, out of the compulsion to direct the outcome from our limited ant brain perspective.
Abraham, or Abram as he was originally called, was one of the most significant Old Testament characters. He was a man of great faith who trusted and believed God, and did what He asked, even if it might appear crazy to other men. God called Abraham his friend, and even though he was human and imperfect, God counted him as righteous because of his faith—not because of his works, or goodness, or adherence to law, but for his faith and trust in God. Even though Abraham was very old and his wife, Sarah, was barren and unable to give him children, God told Abraham he would become the father of many nations—that He would give him a son.
We know the story, how Abraham’s wife, Sarah, got impatient awaiting God’s promise of a son, and gave Abraham her maid, Hagar, to lie with. He did and she conceived and gave birth to Ish’mael. (The descendants of Ish’mael and the other sons of Abraham through Keturah—his wife after Sarah died—were given the eastern country and are referred to as the children or people of the east. They are the progenitors of the Arabs. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, traced the starting of his lineage back to Ish’mael through his first born son, Nabaioth. Genesis 25:12-18). This turns into a mess, with Hagar looking down with contempt at her mistress, Sarah (that contempt still exists today between Israel and her Arab neighbors). When Sarah does get pregnant, when she is 90 and Abraham is 99, and gives birth to Isaac, she tells Abraham to cast Hagar and Ish’mael out. This was displeasing to Abraham, but he was given a special promise by God that the descendants of Ish’mael would become a great nation. Genesis 17:20 “As for Ish’mael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him and make him fruitful and multiply him exceedingly; he shall be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.” Genesis 15:4-6: “And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, ‘This man shall not be your heir (Ish’mael); your own son shall be your heir.’ Then He brought him outside and said, ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And he believed the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” It was not through Abraham’s seed—the nation of Israel (as if “seed” was plural)—but through Jesus (Abraham’s “seed” singular) that God’s covenant promise with Abraham comes upon many nations (all who trust in Jesus). “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to promise.” Galatians 3:28-29.
God made His covenant with Abraham through Isaac. “And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac” (Genesis 21:1-3). Isaac later begat Jacob, the father of the twelve tribes of Israel; and Yeshua Jesus, came into the world through the nation of Israel, fulfilling the covenant which God had made with Abraham.
Genesis 22:1-13 “After these things God tested Abraham, and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here am I.’ He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Mori’ah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.’ So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; and he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off. Then Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the ass; I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.’ And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, ‘My father!’ And he aid, ‘Here am I, my son.’ He said, ‘Behold, the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’ Abraham said, ‘God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.’ So they went both of them together. When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. Then Abraham put forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here am I.’ He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.’ And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.”
God is faithful, and those who walk in faith with God are never disappointed. We should never fight against or try to avoid situations God places in our path for the purpose of growing our faith muscle.