Expectation is something we all need to have if we want to see Godís promises fulfilled.
It is really another way of saying hope. When many think of hope they think along the lines of I hope I inherit a million dollars, or I hope I get that job that I applied for, or I hope it doesnít rain tonight. This is worldly hope and not at all the kind of hope that the Bible talks about. Bible hope is confident expectation. You can never receive the promises of God without it. You can never have faith for Godís promises if you donít first have a confident expectation knowing God is faithful and will fulfill His promise.
Hope is always future tense. In other words it looks at things to come, things that havenít happened yet in the natural, but at the same time is fully persuaded that they will come to pass. Faith is always present tense and sees things now in the present. It counts those things that are not as though they are. Faith and hope always work together. If you can not look ahead and see Godís promises coming to pass then how can you bring those future things into the present by faith? You have to see the future before you can receive it by faith.
Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Many Christians get hope and faith confused. I often hear Christians make comments like I sure hope God heard my prayer. That is not true Bible hope, it is not confidence at all in God or His Word. Godís Word has much to say about this and we should not be ignorant but understand what Godís will is.
There have been times in my Christian walk where I thought I was walking in faith when I really wasnít. The lord showed me where I missed it, and it became very clear to me at that point where I had missed it and how to receive the victory by faith. It always starts with understanding. Godís Word tells us Ö
Ps:119:130: The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
If we donít know weíve missed it we will not seek understanding. This is the case for many Christians. Instead of admitting that they are the ones who missed it or didnít have understanding of Godís Word, they just changed their theology to line up with their bad experience. We will never grow up in the things of God with this type of attitude, and if we will not seek to know the truth. God is no respecter of persons, and He never misses it. So let us seek understanding and repent if we need to, and then see the victory that was freely given to us.
Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.
Lets look at a Biblical example of this kind of confident expectation in Godís Word.
In the 17th chapter of genesis God appeared to Abram and changed his name to Abraham.
Genesis 17:5 "No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. 6. "I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7. "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.
Abraham was 99 years old when God appeared to him. (vs. 1). The name Abraham literally means the father of many nations. He had to tell people His name was now the father of many nations.
The Apostle Paul talks about this in the book of Romans.
Romans 4:17 (as it is written, "I have made you a father of many nations'') in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18. who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, "So shall your descendants be.'' 19. And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb.
20. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21. and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22. And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness.''
This is such an awesome example of Godly expectation.
Abraham contrary to hope, in hope believed so that he became the father of many nations. or we could say it like this, because he believed in hope he became the father of many nations. If he could not believe it would come to pass he never would have received the promise by faith, and if he had not received the promise by faith he never would have been fully convinced, or as some translations say fully persuaded.
We see several things happening for Abraham to be fully persuaded. One thing the Word says is that Abraham did not consider his own body, already dead. Some translations put the comma after already dead not after body. We have to understand man put the commas and periods into the word of God it wasnít originally written this way. Lets take the comma out and read it Ö Abraham did not consider his own body already dead. The verse goes on to sayÖ and the deadness of Sarah's womb.
In other words Abraham was not considering or thinking on the things that were contrary to the promises of God. If you are considering things that are contrary to the Word of God then you are not considering the right things. People waver because they are thinking about things that they should not be thinking about, they are considering things they should not be considering. In this particular case Abraham was not thinking about how his own body and Sarahís body were already dead. This is saying in the natural that their bodies were dead in the sense that they were beyond any hope of having children. This would certainly be easy to think about as it was staring them in the face, wouldnít it?
This is a decision we all have to make. Abraham refused to consider the things that were certainly contrary in the natural to what God had spoken to him. He only considered the promises of God. When God gives us a promise, there will always be other options for us to consider. Satan will make sure of that. Those other options will always be contrary to Godís promises.
Have you ever stopped to consider that if there are no other options you can not waiver?
Lets not consider the other options. Let us chose the will of God and there will be no other options for us to consider. When the other options come to us, we have and obligation to ignore them, not only ignore them but to cast them out of our thoughts.
2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
4. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5. casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
6. and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
Because Abraham was fully convinced or persuaded that what God had promised He was also able to perform. Because of this it was accounted to him for righteousness.
Abraham literally counted the promises of God as done even though they were not done in the natural, or we could say he had not seen a manifestation. He saw himself as the father of many nations.
Some Christians believe it would be lying to believe something is done if it were not manifest in the natural. According to Godís Word you have to count those things which be not as thought they are, just like Abraham did. You see the future promise and receive it by faith. This is counting those things that are not in this natural realm as though they are.
Abraham did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God.
The Word is calling wavering unbelief. As I said before it is a choice we all have to make, but God has given us the means and the tools to stand on His promises. When the promises of God are given the grace and ability to believe come along with them. We all know
Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
We know Abraham believed the promises of God, but something that doesnít always get mentioned is that God put Abraham in a position where he had to speak faith filled words. God renamed Abram to Abraham. Abraham had the decision to make whether he would begin to say I am the father of many nations and tell all his friends to start calling Him the father of many nations. Abraham made this choice and spoke the faith he had already received and because of this he did become the father of many nations.
Romans 10:10 For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.
It is important to act out our faith in God and His Word even as Abraham did and call those things which be not, as though they are.
This is truly an inspiring article. I like the way you explained the difference between 'hope' and 'faith'. Even though we subconsciously know there is a difference, we don't always think it through. Your exposition of Abraham's faith in God's promise is in itself an article of faith, and is certainly worth reading. Thanks for sharing.