In the last post, we considered Abraham, one of the faith heroes in the Hebrews chapter 11 hall of faith. Each member took action directed toward certain God-given objects of faith. Noah is a member too:
By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. (Heb. 11:7)
Noah, lived in a desert where weather watching was among the dullest of hobbies. “Tomorrow there will be blue skies with the chance of an occasional cloud. Temperatures will be 108º F, half a degree cooler than today.” He responded to a revelation from God about an unprecedented deluge. Muscle-aching boat building under a baking sun invited mockery, but Noah persevered. He paid a price to obey God; only much later did he reap any benefit and receive his reward of righteousness.
The objects that I exercise my faith toward are a mixed bag. A few are part of God’s revealed will (the maturing of His bride, a reproducing church in every people group on earth). Some at least will benefit other people (health for a friend). I’m ashamed to say that many are short-lived, rather selfish, and even trivial (provision, resolution of problems at work, a parking space so I can get to my meeting on time). I don’t see items like those in the lives of the Old Testament characters filling Hebrews chapter 11.
But should I be ashamed? Is there really a problem with the difference between our own faith and that of Old Testament faith heroes?
Scanning through the Gospels, I’m encouraged because I find some of the same objects of faith that are on my list. Jesus initiated miracles that turned water to wine and an individual meal to a feast. He had Peter pull a coin from a fish’s mouth to pay their tax bill. People brought friends and family members to Jesus for healing or deliverance. Fishermen wondered where the next catch would come from.
Not once did Jesus grumble about doing a miracle; in fact, He lavished them on fickle crowds. Jesus’ miracles of faith were part of His double message; they demonstrated what He taught—the kingdom of God at hand. Faith is the currency of the kingdom; the means by which we participate in God’s will. The small miracles are often the easiest to relate to because they touch the parts of life that preoccupy us. “Trivial” miracles like the cash-dispensing fish teach us several things about faith:
- God cares about our everyday lives and gets involved in the details.
- There is nothing too small for God; He acts in the big and the little of life.
- Asking God for small things does not exhaust Him; He still has unlimited resources to pour out.
- Seeing God act in the small miracles helps us grow in faith for the greater objects.
The Old Testament faith heroes are not meant to shame us but to show us what mature faith can be like. For all we know these men and women still exercised faith for small miracles, but the point is, their faith extended to objects of kingdom significance, often beyond their lives.
So, don’t be ashamed of exercising faith in the everyday; but remember the context of that faith. God loves opportunities to demonstrate His kingdom in the process of coming. Our faith should grow each time we see Him act. As our faith increases, let’s set our sights on greater kingdom objectives—the nations coming to the Lord, the church preparing herself as His bride. And see what He will do!
Please share this devotional with others who might be blessed.