What practical evidences do we find in Abraham's life illustrating that he was a man of great faith? Gen. 12:1-5; 18:20-33; 22:1-14.
"It was no light test that was thus brought upon Abraham, no small sacrifice that was required of him. There were strong ties to bind him to his country, his kindred, and his home. But he did not hesitate to obey the call....
"Many are still tested as was Abraham. They do not hear the voice of God speaking directly from the heavens, but He calls them by the teachings of His word and the events of His providence.... Who is ready at the call of Providence to renounce cherished plans and familiar associations? Who will accept new duties and enter untried fields, doing God's work with firm and willing heart, for Christ's sake counting his losses gain?"-Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 126, 127.
Paul says that Abraham was "not weak in faith" and "staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief" (Rom. 4:19, 20). But Genesis shows that Abraham, in a moment of weakness, laughed at the idea of having a son by Sarah, because she was well past the childbearing years. How are we to harmonize these scriptures? First, Abraham's faith was habitually strong and progressive, in spite of several lapses. Abraham's ultimate experience was not one of defeat, but of victory in Christ. This reveals God's great love for His children. He does not judge us by our formative struggles and past failures, but by our ultimate decisions in response to His work of grace.
What was the "secret" of Abraham's faith? Gal. 3:6,8; Heb. 11:8-10.
Genesis 15 gives an expanded account of God's covenant with Abraham. "The plan of redemption was here opened to him, in the death of Christ, the great sacrifice, and His coming in glory. Abraham saw also the earth restored to its Eden beauty, to be given him for an everlasting possession, as the final and complete fulfillment of the promise."-Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 137.
What can you learn from Abraham's life that will help to strengthen your faith? How does our faith grow? Is it God's gift or our achievement? If our faith grows as we exercise it, does that imply that greater faith is our achievement?