And He said: ‘I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end will be, for they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faith. (Deuteronomy 32:20)
Not Much Faith In The Old Testament
One of the advantages of computers is the ability to do research through the Bible in word studies, language and meanings of words. Typing in a word search will bring all the references among a host of translations including looking for specific Hebrew, Chaldean or Greek words. It was surprising to study the word ‘faith’ and see how many verses or texts use the word in the Old Testament. Depending on which translation chosen, the English word appears very few times in the Hebrew Old Testament. The New King James Version has ‘faith’ appearing twice, ‘faithful’ 32 times; the Revised Version ‘faith’ is found three times, ‘faithful’ 29 times; the English Standard Version ‘faithful’ 26 times, ‘faith’ 28 times; and finally the American Standard Version ‘faith’ is found three times and ‘faithful’ 29 times. When a selection is made to examine the Hebrew word in its many forms throughout the Old Testament there are 108 times the use of AMAN is found in the holy scrip. The word is rendered faith, trust, believe, established, sure, continuance, verified and other meanings of the root word AMAN. A study like this will make the novice Bible student excited over little and the diligent student of Biblical language cringe at the useless exercise and misuse of word studies. What is known about faith in the Old Testament does not come from the appearance of words in the English or Hebrew but the reality of what the stories tells us about the people of God since the time of Adam.
Our text today comes from Deuteronomy where the word ‘faith’ is first found in the New King James English Version. However, faith was an integral part of the story of the Bible from the beginning of time. The Hebrew writer alludes to the incredible faith of Abel when he offered his sacrifice to the Lord in contrast to Cain’s unrighteous worship. Enoch was of such great faith in pleasing the Lord he was taken up by God without dying. Noah served the Lord diligently in a terribly wicked world and through faith believed in the grace of God to save his household in obedience. Abraham trusted in the word of God and changed his life at the age of 75 to follow the will of his Lord. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, through faith bore a child at the age of 90 years. Other stories of the Old Testament are filled with hearts of courage and faith like Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets. Faith is in the Old Testament filling every crevice and corner of the word of God because the life of God’s faithful lived each day trusting in Him. Their faith was not based on the word but the idea. It meant something to them and they faced the world of darkness with the fortitude to believe in all the promises of God.
Faith is not a badge we wear to show others our character. It comes from a heart filled with a dedicated mind that measures each thought, action, deed and word by the voice of God. The word faith resounds in the mind by the actions of the person who lets his light shine brightly in a dark world. There are no trumpets to sound or shouts to draw attention to faith. It is the quiet working of diligent souls living each day in examples of humility, trust and belief that God’s word is true, sure and filled with promise. Faith is about God, Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. Man needed an answer to his predicament and the answer God gave was His only begotten Son. Jesus is the answer and faith is the response. The first time faith is mentioned in the Bible but not found in the Bible is Genesis 1:1. That is the beginning of faith. Believing that God created all things and formed man for His glory is where man begins his journey of trusting the Lord. If faith is not found in Genesis 1:1 then everything that follows is hallow and void. The Bible is about Jesus Christ. What man does with Jesus Christ must come from faith. Without faith it is impossible to be pleasing to God. If there is no faith there is no salvation and without salvation man is lost. You may not find the English word faith in the Old Testament very often but when you examine between the lines and see the hearts of those who loved God – faith will overflow with rivers of grace from hearts that believed eternal promises and hope. Got faith?