I have been doing a study of Genesis 15:6, “Abram believed the LORD, and he credited (reckoned, imputed) it to him as righteousness” (NIV). This verse is quoted in the New Testament in Romans, Galatians, and James when pointing to real faith and its importance. What is this faith? The Hebrew word translated “believed” in the verse above is aman (אָמַן). Harris, Archer, & Waltke† say this about aman – “The basic root idea is firmness or certainty … it expresses the basic concept of support and is used in the sense of the strong arms of the parent supporting the helpless infant.” Aman “basically means ‘to cause to be certain, sure’ or ‘to be certain about’, ‘to be assured’ and shows that Biblical faith is an assurance, a certainty …” I love that imagery! The strong arms of the parent – “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut. 33:27).
But then the commentary says this: “[this definition is] in contrast with the modern concepts of faith as something possible, hopefully true but not certain”.
“Something possible, hopefully true but not certain” – wow, that hit me. I felt God putting His finger on something deep in my heart. Full commitment to faith in God is something I have struggled with for a long time. For some of us, our parents (or others we have trusted) have not had strong arms, some of us have been dropped (actually and/or figuratively), we hold back, fail to fully commit, we are used to protecting ourselves, not trusting anybody. We wistfully look at those promises in the Bible as hopefully true, it’s possible that God loves us, but we are not certain. Some of us, because of what we’ve suffered, even believe that God himself has dropped us.
But God has fully committed Himself to us. “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ (verily! truly! trustworthy! truth!) is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Cor. 1:20 NIV). “Yes” in Christ! He wrote a new unbreakable covenant with us in His own blood. There is no way that He will go back on that covenant or all His promises to us. It is impossible, for His very nature is truth, trustworthiness, faithfulness, and unfailing love.
For my father and my mother have forsaken (abandoned, neglected, deserted) me, But the LORD will take me up (gather, receive me, hold me close). (Psalm 27:10 NASB)
Jesus said, “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them (that’s us!) out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10:29 NASB)
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. (Psalm 73:23 NIV)
Cast (throw, cast, hurl, fling, throw away, cast off, shed, cast down) your cares (burden, lot, that which is given) on the Lord (Yahweh) and he (he himself) will sustain you (seize, contain, support, hold in, bear you); he will never let (grant, permit, allow ever, not from antiquity to throughout eternity) the righteous to fall (totter, shake, slip, to be greatly shaken, moved, overthrown, he will not let you fall, he will not drop you). (Psalm 55:22 NIV)
There is so much to say about faith that I will continue in Part Two next time. Lord, give me grace to be fully committed to You.
† Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, R. Laird Harris, Gleason Leonard Archer, Bruce K. Waltke, p. 51