Faith and Gods Timeline: Acts 7:2-5
“2) And he said, “Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3) and said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives, and come into the land that I will show you.’ 4) Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God had him move to this country in which you are now living. 5) But He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, and yet, even when he had no child, He promised that He would give it to him as a possession, and to his descendants after him.” Acts‬ ‭7‬:‭2‬-‭5‬
Stephen began his exposition by talking about the God of glory appearing to Abraham. At that time, Abrahams ancestry was tied to the land of Mesopotamia. It had become a wicked land and full of idolatry and pagan religious practices. Nevertheless, according to the flesh that’s where Abraham’s earthly inheritance was located. It was the land of his forefathers. If he wanted to cash in on his inheritance, he had to stay in Mesopotamia and lay claim to what belonged to him according to the flesh.
But God called him to leave the land of his birth and follow Him. God gave him a promise that he would inherit a new land and have many offspring. But according to verse 5, there were two problems. First, he had no inheritance in this new land. He did not even own a foot of ground. Second, he had no children. Sarah was barren. The whole promise of a new land and a new way of life following the God of glory looked impossible.
Nevertheless, this was the starting point of the Judea-Christian tradition and the ultimate birth of the Messiah. It was anchored in faith and the promise of God. That’s all Abraham had for a foundation. He left everything to follow God! He set his eyes on the promise.
Abraham was far from perfect, but his walk with God was real and sincere. He lived with God as His inheritance. God became His portion in this life. This is true of every man and woman who answers the call to walk with God. (See Lamentations 3:22-25)
Let me make an observation from the life of Abraham. If you want God to be your portion in this life, you need to leave your Mesopotamia behind; whatever that represents to you. You need to turn your back on sin and the pleasures of this world. A life of faith and following after God is very different from life in the flesh and embracing this world. You cannot have both at the same time.
But a life of faith includes delayed gratification. The full blessings of walking with God are not immediate. You will be living to establish a legacy for generations to come. Abraham never owned the land of promise. He lived as an alien in a foreign land. He even walked with God for many years before Isaac was born. His anchor was faith in the promise of God. He was establishing a legacy of faith for future generations.
The basic principle of faith started by Abraham is still the same for us today. We must leave our Mesopotamia and follow God and His promises. Faith in Jesus Christ must be personal, packed with obedience, somewhat radical and set the direction for our life.
But let’s be honest. There are discouraging times for all of us just as there were for Abraham. The promises look so far off and impossible. Some days it looks like evil is winning. Welcome to a life of faith!
Wait a minute. Let’s hit the pause button and survey the timeline. Abraham left Mesopotamia based on a promise. God became his only portion in this life… and then one day…Issac was be born, 400 years in Egypt happened, the Exodus unfolded under Moses, the Law a was given, the Promised land was entered, the Messiah was born, the crucifixion happened, Jesus was raised from the dead, He ascended into heaven, the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost, the Gentiles embraced the good news, the Gospel is being preached to all nations, anti-Christ is trying to take over… but… Jesus has a different plan!
Do you realize what you just read? That’s a summary of Stephen’s message. His was making the point that the timeline of history follows the Promises of God! He wanted them to see where they were on the timeline of God’s promises lest they missed what God was doing.
The same is true for us today. We are right at the end of the earthly timeline! Peter argued in 2 Peter 3:9 that the Lord is not slow about His promises. Faith is finding our place on the timeline of God and embracing it wholeheartedly. From that perspective, these are exciting and amazing days!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global