It is said of Abraham that he left his home "with only a promise and without even knowing ahead of time where he was going. Abraham stepped out in faith." (Hebrews 11:8 - TPT) He is called "The Father of Our Faith" since he was the first one in his family line to believe God and take action because of it. However, it is some of the women of faith I want to focus on, starting with Sarah. Hebrews 11:11 tells us, "And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered Him faithful who made the promise." Here is how the Passion Translation says this: "Sarah's faith embraced God's miracle power to conceive even though she was barren and was past the age of childbearing, for the authority of her faith rested in the One who made the promise, and she tapped into His faithfulness." This is a word picture for us!
In her devotional 31 Degrees of Blessing for Your Life, Pat King says, "Faith is our God-given downloader and connector to His promises." The power of the Word of God is released through faith. Mary's encounter with the angel Gabriel is one that demonstrates her faith in God. He told Mary that the Holy Spirit would fall upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her so that she would carry the Son of God in her womb. Gabriel affirmed Mary's faith by telling her that her relative Elizabeth was pregnant after being called "the barren one." Then he declared, "Not one promise from God is empty of power, for nothing is impossible with God!" (Luke 1:37 - TPT) Mary's response is telling: "As His servant, I accept whatever He has for me. May everything you have told me come to pass." (Luke 1:38 - TPT)
God uses Elizabeth to affirm Mary's faith in Him. Prophetically she reveals to her, "Mary! You are a woman given the highest favor and privilege above all others. For your child is destined to bring God great delight...Great favor is upon you, for you have believed every word spoken to you from the Lord." (Luke 1:42, 45 - TPT) Then Mary released a prophetic song where she glorified the Lord for what He was doing. The song ended with a remembrance of God's promise to Abraham. "He has helped His servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as He promised our ancestors." (Luke 1:54-55) Mary understood that through the Christ child she carried, God was demonstrating His faithfulness to the promise He made to Abraham who willingly bound his son Isaac for sacrifice. "'I swear by myself,' declares the Lord, 'that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed because you have obeyed me.'" (Genesis 22:16-18)
I believe Mary had heard the story of Abraham and Isaac and believed that God, who was faithful to Abraham, would be faithful to her. Perhaps she would have recalled the Psalms that were handed down through the generations. "For God's Word is something to sing about! He is true to His promises; His Word can be trusted, and everything He does is reliable and right." (Psalm 33:4 - TPT) "...And He is famous for His faithfulness toward all. Everyone knows our God can be trusted, for He keeps His promises to every generation!" (Psalm 100:5 - TPT)
The Christmas season should remind us of God's miracle power and His faithfulness to His promises. Are you waiting on the Lord to fulfill a promise in your life? We must focus our faith on Him, the One who made the promise. We must trust in who He is, not on what He will do. Let faith connect us to the Faithful One and to His promises. Tap into His faithfulness!
Joan E. Mathias