The Key of Faith (continued)
Moving on in the Book of Genesis to chapters 15 and 17, some passages from which we have placed at the head of this meditation, we come to Abraham. The Lord comes in with Abraham on this line of enlargement, of establishment and of life. Those are the three great things that sum up Abraham's life with God. And everything hung upon faith. All that God said about this multiplying, this tremendous increase and enlargement; about the finality of things - establishing him in the covenant for ever; and about this wonderful principle of life - so apparent in the case of Abraham, when death would argue that there was no prospect at all in himself or in Sarah or any situation, yet life is in view in spite of it all - all those things just hung upon faith. He believed God. If he had not, there would have been nothing.
In the Book of Exodus, we find the great crisis in the national life of Israel - the deliverance from Egypt. Chapter 12 of Exodus just rests upon this: 'The whole question here is that of your release with a view to your enlargement; it is a question of your being established and brought to finality, to fullness; and it is a question of your life.' The central thought of that chapter is perhaps life, is it not? The slaying of Egypt's firstborn, on the one side, and the deliverance of Israel into life through death, on the other side. But it all hung upon this matter of faith - faith in action: whether they would take the lamb, whether they would sprinkle the blood, whether they would gird their loins and take their staff in their hand. Everything depended upon an attitude and spirit of believing God.
Passing through Numbers into the Book of Joshua, we find that here it is the land that is in view - the land of promise, with all that it meant to them historically and all that it means typically and spiritually. What a matter of enlargement that was! From the wilderness, with all its emptiness and pent-upness, into the largeness, fullness and liberty of being established in the land. There was never, in God's mind, any thought or purpose of permanence in the wilderness at all. That was only a phase of things to be got through quickly as the spiritual condition of His people would allow. His thought for them was - into the land and established for ever. The promise to Abraham was that the land was covenanted for ever: finality. And then through Jordan, running there between Number and Joshua, between the wilderness and the land, and overflowing all its banks, speaking of death to be overcome in its fullness, in its depths; and into the land: here is life triumphant over death. But again, everything hung upon their faith. Would they move in faith? One generation could not do that, and perished in the wilderness. If was left to the next generation to enter the land. These three things rested upon faith.
(continued with # 11)