By the grace of God, in this seventh month, we have been blessed by great messages delivered to us from this pulpit on the inimitable theme -Living by faith’ (Hebrews 11). We draw from the inexhaustible fountain of God’s word to identify some features of the faith that touches God. We shall examine shared attributes of faith that God commended, faith that God could not resist and faith that God marvelled at. The objective is to inspire us to desire living by the faith that touches God.
Faith activated by God’s word
Faith comes by hearing, hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17). God is touched by faith that arises from hearing the word. Abram’s faith touched God because he believed God that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky- even though he was old and had no offspring (Genesis 15:1-6). Rahab heard about the mighty acts of the God of Israel and believed in the Lord’s saving power (Joshua 2). Zacchaeus only heard Jesus was passing by and desired to know Him better and received salvation (Luke 19:1-10). The Woman with the Issue of Blood (Mark 5:25-34), the Syrophoenician Woman (Matthew 15:21-28) and the Centurion (Luke 7:1-10) received the healings and deliverances they desired because they approached Christ after hearing about Him. No wonder faith is defined as ‘the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen’ (Hebrews 11:1KJV). God is touched when we believe just after hearing about Him and don’t wait to see Him. Evidence that God is not touched when we wait to see before believing is found in the response of the resurrected Lord Jesus to Thomas (John 20:24-29). Be careful not to hinge your faith in God on sight instead of faith for many are being led astray because they live by sight.
Faith of unworthy persons in a worthy God
God is touched by faith from persons who consider themselves unworthy and undeserving of the mercies of a worthy God. Rahab knew she was of the lowest social ranking even by the decadent standards of Jericho. The Syrophoenician woman saw herself as a dog seeking to take the crumbs from the master’s table. The woman with the issue of blood saw herself as unworthy to stand before the Maker and Master of the Universe. Little wonder she reached out for the hem of His garment and craved for anonymity. Zacchaeus knew he was guilty as charged and unworthy to host the Most Holy God. The penitent robber on the cross with Jesus was transported to paradise because he acknowledged he was not worthy to be crucified alongside the Most Holy God (Luke 23:39-43). The Centurion proclaimed: ‘I am not worthy that you should come to me’, against the felicitous recommendations presented on his behalf by the Jewish leaders. Like Jacob who confessed to not being worthy of the least of God’s mercies (Genesis 32:10), these are all descendants of Abraham because their faith is based on God’s capacity rather than man’s abilities (Romans 4:18-19).
Faith in God alone
God is touched by faith that springs from the recognition that there is no other Saviour (Isaiah 43:11; Acts 4:12). Rahab made the treaty with the Israelite spies because she recognised that only the God of Israel can save her and her father’s house (Hebrews 11:31). The woman with the issue of blood pressed through the crowd because all other helpers had failed her. She knew Jesus was her last hope. Similarly, Blind Bartimaeus cried out the more against the opposition of the crowd because he saw the Son of David as the only solution to his blindness (Mark 10:46-52). The Syrophoenician woman persisted in her prayer request even though Jesus ignored her because she knew that only Jesus can deliver her daughter and save her. The Centurion who could afford the best physicians came to Jesus because he recognised that only Jesus has the keys to life and death (Revelations 1:18). God is touched by the faith that has no spare god. This is the faith Hannah exhibited in her prayers and expressed in her song ‘there is none holy as our God’ (1 Samuel 2:2-3).
We are talking about faith that triggers emotive response from God. We see this: When God said to Abraham, ‘now I know you fear God’ and ‘I swear by myself’ (Genesis 22:12, 16). When God was upbeat about Job because He knew Job’s would still trust God while enduring God approved affliction (Job 1; 13:15). When in His state of amazement at the faith of the Centurion, the Lord Jesus exclaimed, ‘…I have not found such a faith in Israel’ (Luke 7:9). Beloved, how does God react to your faith? Would God marvel at your faith as He responded to the Centurion or marvel at your unbelief as He did with His townspeople of Nazareth? (Mark 6:1-6)