People Who Live By Faith

Let’s watch this video again

There is a common theme in Bible about people of who live faith. Habakkuk’s story is the same. People of faith live like Abraham, are aware of the reality of their circumstances but are fixed on hope.

Paul describes how “in hope [Abraham] believed against hope” (Romans 4: 18). In the face of Sarah’s barrenness and old age, Abraham still had hope. He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God Read Romans 4: 19-20 Abraham stakes his life on the hope line, but he never takes his eye off the reality line.

Abraham does have his moments though. He tries to get out of the desert by suggesting to God that his steward Eliezer become his adopted son (see Genesis 15). Sarah tries to close the hope–reality gap by asking Abraham to sleep with her servant Hagar (see Genesis 16). Finally, when God tells Abraham that Sarah will have a child in a year, Sarah laughs behind the tent flap (see Genesis 18). She closes the gap by giving up on hope. A year later when Isaac is born, she realizes that God has transformed her cynicism into joy. She mocks her cynicism by giving her son a name that means “laughter” (see Genesis 21). Ref Paul E. Miller, ”A Praying Life”, pages 162-165

I love the way the psalmists wrestle and fight and struggle to maintain their hope in God. Psalm 57 — a psalm penned by David in the midst of a season where his circumstances and God’s promises appear to be in complete and total opposition.

At this point, David has already been anointed as the future king of Israel (1 Samuel 16:1-13) and has faithfully served King Saul. Sadly, though, Saul “rewards” David for his service and obedience with persecution and death threats. David is left to run for his life and then hide out in a cave.

Scripture also reveals David wasn’t hiding alone. This anointed but not-yet-appointed king was leading a pretty discouraging group of men. First Samuel 22:1-2 describes these 400 men as in distress, in debt and discontented. Not exactly the perspective-shifting people you hope to have with you during one of the darkest seasons of your life.

I wouldn’t judge David for one second if he had cried out to God in total frustration saying, “I don’t understand any of this. I’m leading a bunch of crazy people. We are hiding in a cave. And I’m feeling utterly defeated and completely hopeless!”

But the words he wrote in Psalm 57 are neither exclusively a Psalm of Lament nor a Psalm of Thanksgiving. David doesn’t deny the darkness of his situation (Psalm 57:1, 4, 6). But he also refuses to allow his soul to get stuck in a place of despair. Instead, David chooses to declare praises about the true nature and character of God. He reminds his soul of who God is — a God who fulfills His purposes (Psalm 57:2), a God who saves (Psalm 57:3), a God known for His faithfulness and steadfast love (Psalm 57:2, 10).

Even though David’s soul is “bowed down” by his circumstances (Psalm 57:6), he allows what he knows to be true about God to steady him. This enables David to declare in Psalm 57:7 — “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody!”

I love knowing the story behind this psalm. In a cave that surely felt like a death sentence to all he hoped and dreamed, David lifted his eyes to God. And when his eyes were lifted, his heart was able to be shifted. Yes, David had already been anointed to eventually become king. But it was in the womb of the earth where God met him and birthed in him a heart ready to lead.

”Jesus promises us that if we ask, seek, and knock, the Father will give us good in return, even if the good isn’t apparent for forty years.”

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