Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing"1 (Lyrics)
While hiking with friends in Gatineau Park, near Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, we approached a small stream over which had been placed a wooden plank to help hikers cross the water. Not having the best balance, I pulled a long stick from the undergrowth and used it as a staff to steady myself as I crossed. I took the risk that the plank wouldn't shift under my weight, and that the staff wouldn't slip and wobble in the stream's rocky bed. I take small risks daily without thinking about them. If I see an oncoming car when I am ready to cross a street, I calculate whether or not I can go safely before it is too close. If rain is in the forecast, I take the risk of not bringing the umbrella if I can arrive before the clouds open.
The first readers of the book of Hebrews faced more serious risks, enough to make them consider abandoning their faith in Jesus, but the writer reminded them of the calculated risks that their ancestors took, in faith.
Hebrews 11:17-22 – By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, "In Isaac your seed shall be called," concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones. (NKJV)
Abraham, the friend of God, trusted God's promises of a great civilization descended from Abraham's family, and confidently obeyed God's command to sacrifice his son, Isaac. He was ready to let God take care of the future — and take the risk! He also took the risk of sending his servant to select a wife for his son Isaac from his father's tribe, in obedience to God. Isaac's son Jacob had many faith struggles in his life, even wrestling all night with an angel! Perhaps his greatest risk was in meeting Esau in later life, even moving his family and livestock out of harm's way in case he himself were harmed. We know that the reunion of the twin brothers was blessed by their trust and acceptance of God's faithfulness to them both. Jacob's son, Joseph, unjustly imprisoned for many years, took a huge risk in offering to interpret Pharoah's dreams, but he was blessed by God for his faith.
All of these Bible witnesses took calculated risks, based on their faith that the Lord can and will honour His promises. His promise of a Saviour was fulfilled in the person of Jesus, and we can trust in the promise of a heavenly home for believers. Will you believe that God is faithful and to be trusted? If so, take that calculated risk, and, in faith, trust His promises for your life.
Prayer: We thank You, dear Lord, for the faithful testimonies of Abraham and his descendants — those who knew that You were able to fulfill every great promise. We come to You in faith today, knowing that You are great and hold our futures secure. Amen.