It is said about Abraham that he was one who against hope believed in hope. The promises from above concerning him becoming a father to many nations were confirmed in many fashions. But time passed and nothing happened so there must have come a time when Abraham faced such an inner turmoil and desperation that he lost all hope. The son of the flesh was thus the product of Abraham taking matters in his own hands when he saw no way out. However, that he against hope believed in hope tells us that he somehow persisted in hope despite losing all hope. This is a most curious paradox, but it gives hope to all of us who now and then lose hope despite what we have heard in our spirits.
What is hope? A definition might be that hope is tied to something we hope God will do in the future based on a promise he has given us personally, or it might be based on something we find in the scriptures which applies to our personal situation. Hope also gives substance and definition to our desires which we believe are channeled through us from above owing to the fact we are one spirit with our Father. We are also partakers of the triune fellowship which conversations give rise to hope concerning matters we face in the temporal.
To against hope believe in hope also means that along the road Abraham’s abilities to fulfill the promise had become null and void. His dead body and the deadness of Sarah’s womb were all outer circumstances that gave no hope of seeing the promise fulfilled. Absolutely nothing in the temporal confirmed or supported his hope. Against those bleak odds Abraham continued to hope in the son of promise, because he trusted in Someone larger than what the temporal offered.
We all know how Abraham fell on his face laughing when the promise was confirmed in his days of old age (Gen 17). Abraham even said: “”Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” He birthed the son of the flesh while he still could trust his own abilities to perform, and when God came to confirm the son of promise Abraham even tried to persuade God to be satisfied with his own efforts in fulfilling the promise. In spite of Abraham’s evident wavering he is given this testimony: “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.”
The magnificent thing is that the precious blood of Jesus covered Abraham’s lapses into unbelief and flesh actions. God only saw Abraham’s faith, that is, His own faith in Abraham so that the righteous of faith could be imputed to him. Abraham learned through his sufferings the art of receiving so that he could receive even God’s own faith and thus stand firm in faith trusting the One who gave the promise.
The recounting of events as given in the Old Testament concerning Abraham’s life covers the temporal side of the story, that is, how his life presented itself humanly speaking. However, from God’s perspective some of those events do not convey the truth about Abraham as God saw Him, because God only saw a son in whom He was well pleased as confirmed by the Spirit’s testimony regarding Abraham: “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.”
Perhaps more importantly, God, who is beyond time, saw the evolvement of faith in Abraham and delighted in Abraham’s progress until his faith reached its pinnacle when Abraham about to sacrifice the son of promise uttered the famous words: “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” It is the matured faith that is God’s testimony concerning Abraham, the rest is the history about Abraham’s journey towards this climax. “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin (Zech 4:10).
This note is dedicated all of us who have given up or almost given up all hope due to life’s many hard blows. It is the Spirit who gently and gingerly blows on the embers of hope in our spirits till the flame again warms our souls.