“By my God I can leap over a wall.”Psalm 18:30
“God Is Able” is a fitting title for me for the first edition of the Foundation of Faith in the new year. These words stand majestically over the year-end and the unknown future. How many unknowns, numerous questions, and fears are there in this world? “Future worries” are spoken of. These make our life difficult. We do not want them, but nevertheless, they are there. It is good that you have opened the Foundation of Faith to this page. Three words, just three words, are what I would like to give you on your life journey: “God is able.” This “God is able” could change and enlighten your life.
Abraham is faced with the humanly unfathomable demand to sacrifice his son Isaac. All of God’s promises were to be fulfilled through Isaac. And now? At that moment, Abraham looks at an altar he has constructed himself. On this altar lays his promised son Isaac. Abraham has made his decision. He is ready for everything, even to give his son. Would he carry all the promises to his grave with the death of his son? Look at the situation carefully. Does Abraham look like a desperate and hopeless man? Abraham is secure in his God. He trusts Him. With full conviction, he grabs the knife, but here is the origin of these three words. In Hebrews 11:17-19, we read: “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.”
“God is able” are words that encourage us during the passing of time and world occurrences. They are encouraging words. They were said with conviction but also with trust in God. During troubled times, they have given new courage so that one did not give up nor falter due to despair. May I remind you of two examples in the scriptures?
•You will likely know the son’s name before you do those of his parents, Amram and Jochebed (Exodus 6:20). Moses was born during the time when the law was issued demanding that all Hebrew boys be drowned at birth in the Nile River. The parents opposed this law of Pharaoh and hid Moses for three months in their home. After that, they built a small box, and we read that they “placed the child in it and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank.” I am convinced that these three hopeful words, “God is able,” presided over this whole situation.
•The book of Joshua describes the capture of the land of Canaan. God had promised this land as the future place for His people. This land had to be conquered and freed from its occupants. In Joshua 6, we meet the children of Israel in front of Jericho. The words from the spies were no inconsequential discoveries as they reported: “the cities are great and fortified up to heaven” (Deuteronomy 1:28). According to God’s command, the soldiers went around Jericho once daily and seven times on the seventh day. A most curious sight that must have been but, nevertheless, they did it! They probably thought of the three words, “God is able,” and God truly was able. In Joshua 6:20, we read: “the wall fell flat, then the people went up into the city.”
One could write an extensive book of all the examples from the Scriptures when people trusted these three words: “God is able.” Men and women of all age groups were convinced of the greatness and the might of their God.
We are most certainly convinced ourselves of this “God is able.” Since our early childhood, we have become familiar with this phrase. Our reading of biblical stories has confirmed this. However, we must not just stop at knowing, but our actions must also confirm that “God is able.”
How great must God be that “God is able” is ascribed to Him. Interestingly, God had confronted Abraham with the question: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14) Therefore, in their old age, Abraham and Sara received their promised son Isaac. In this manner and from this occurrence, they learned what “God is able” meant. The Israelite nation was well acquainted with the history of their ancestors and how God had dealt with them. This history was passed down from generation to generation so that each new generation would trust Israel’s God.
When you read the Bible, you will notice how important the idea that “God is able” was for people. They were not only convinced of the knowledge that “God is able,” but they accessed these promises for themselves. They were in hopeless situations, stood before armies much larger than theirs, heard the curses of Goliath, and were aware of their helplessness. Never would they have attempted to go ahead alone. However, because they had a God who was able, they went ahead and called out: “I cannot do this alone, but with You I am able to defeat soldiers and ‘by my God I can leap over a wall.’” They depended on God’s greatness and approached every situation with this knowledge.
We are standing at the beginning of a new year. Unchangingly, the three words “God is able” stand over the year 2020 and in front of every situation that we may encounter this year. The journey before us is getting shorter, and soon we will also cross over to our goal. What we are still to encounter is in God’s hands. One thing is certain: “God is able” to bring us through. I want to claim this for myself and for my life and chime in with David: “with you I am able.” So we want to begin each new day “with God,” as we go to each doctor’s appointment, accept each loss, accept help from others, accept each change in our situation, etc. “With God” gives us access to His mercy and power, His help, and His support. “With God” speaks of a blessed journey. My God and I journey together.