Tests provide opportunities to reveal our faith. Genesis 22:1-8
The story of Isaac and Jesus are both stories of sons.
Both were yielded to their fathers.
Jesus, sinless, was obedient to death but also questioned his father. No angel stepped in to stop it.
Abraham’s testing was not for God’s benefit, it was for Abraham.
The story teaches us how reliable God is.
Issac and Jesus were both born of a miraculous birth.
This was a test – not a temptation, as interpreted in some translations.
The purpose of a test is growth and refinement of our faith.
Temptation is not from God – It’s purpose is defeat and failure.
For Abraham, the purpose of this test was to grown in his faith. Abraham was aware of his weaknesses.
Remember our times going through the fire of testing? What did I learn about myself? About God?
God knew what He was asking of Abraham. All of His promises to Abraham rested in Isaac.
Abraham did not question God, but obeyed first thing the next morning.
Abraham always obeyed right away. He is a hero in obedience to God.
How quick am I to obey? Do I argue? Do I say, “I need to pray about this?”
When we say we need to pray about it first, it’s always because we don’t want to do it.
Abraham had three days journey to ponder and question whether or not he heard God correctly.
Imagine three days knowing what was coming.
Many times we start out obeying God, and then let it fall by the wayside.
Abraham continued in obedience.
verse 5 He trusted God – WE will worship and WE will come back to you. Abraham knew the promise (from God) would come to pass. He didn’t know how. But he trusted in what he could not see or understand.
Verse 6 and 7 – “Where is the sacrifice?” Isaac asks. He may have led or carried the sacrifice many times in the past. Abraham answers, “God, himself, will provide. Abraham deferred to the sovereignty of God. They walked on together.
Lots of people can talk the talk. If we truly love God, we are obedient to God. That is how we prove it.
Our testing is often in waiting – waiting for God to work in our marriage, waiting for a wayward child to return to God…
What is waiting revealing about your faith?
Abraham had to build the altar, put the wood on it, bind his son, put him on it, and pick up the knife. Abraham was prepared and Isaac was as good as dead in his mind.
God will Provide. God provides for those who trust Him. Genesis 22:9-19
Genesis 22:12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy. Now that I know you fear God…” (fear means reverence and awe)…” Abraham proved it by not withholding his most precious possession. Abraham had learned what God has is always the best. His reverence of God was enough to lead him to this act of obedience. God knew Abraham would pass this test.
The ram in the thicket is a biblical picture of substitution. God provided a substitute for Isaac. He made it possible for Abraham to worship and obey God.
God provided the perfect lamb of God in His son Jesus.
God provides for those who trust Him. Reflect on how God has provided, despite our unfaithfulness. Despite our complaining. He always provided.
What is God asking you to do? Change directions? Teach? Trust Him in some area?
God doesn’t provide until we step out. If we don’t, we miss God’s best and lose it all. To this very day, Abraham’s act of obedience still blesses us.
The revealing of our faith – Faith is revealed in times of both joy and sorrow. Genesis 22:20 through chapter 23.
The end of Genesis 22 doesn’t seem to fit into the story. It lists the genealogy of Nahor. Since Genesis 11, we have read the account of Abraham after he left Nahor behind. Genesis 22:23 lists Rebekkah, Isaac’s future bride.
Genesis 23 – death of Sarah at age 127 – first purchase of land.
Moses tells us Sarah’s age – the only woman whose age at death is recorded in the Bible.
The best looking and best loved woman in scripture. (I find that debatable – I would have said Mary, the mother of Jesus. The Jews would say Sarah.)
Abraham wandered with Sarah for 60 years. At her death, he wept over her. He was comforted in knowing he would be with her again. We are not of those who have no hope. (References to life after death are few and far between in the old testament. Today, most Jews don’t believe in it. I haven’t come across any references up to this point, so I don’t know if God had assured Abraham of this or not.)
In humility, Abraham speaks to the men in the area saying he is an alien among them, knowing that God had promised all the land of Canaan would belong to his ancestors. Yet he was not prideful. He was waiting on God. He expected nothing from others. Unlike Lot, Abraham was not tied to the things of the earth.
Abraham wanted to be clear the land was his. He overpaid for the burial site.
Faith is revealed at times of joy and sorrow. What are you revealing about your faith in the valleys such as…
>Loss of a loved one?
>Loss of health?
and on the mountain tops such as…
Circumstances should not determine our faith. Our Lord never changes. That is what anchors our hearts and souls.
How am I doing? What kind of example am I?
These are the notes I took during the lecture. The bits in parenthesis are my two cents.