Friday, July 29, 2016

Trusting God’s Promises

Some time later, God tested Abraham's faith. "Abraham!" God called. "Yes," he replied. "Here I am." "Take your son, your only son--yes, Isaac, whom you love so much--and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you." The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about. (Genesis 22:1-3 NLT)

Abraham was 99 years old when God told him that he was going to sire a son with his wife, Sarah.  She was 90 when they had Isaac.  Abraham was 100.  God followed through on the promise to give them a child.  This child was going to be the father of so many descendants that they could hardly be counted.

So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac's shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together, Isaac turned to Abraham and said, "Father?" "Yes, my son?" Abraham replied. "We have the fire and the wood," the boy said, "but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?" "God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son," Abraham answered. And they both walked on together. (Genesis 22:6-8 NLT)

It seemed strange, then, that the LORD would ask Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on an altar to the LORD.  Why would God ask for such a thing?  Didn’t the LORD say that Isaac would have millions of descendants?  Will Abraham follow through with this strange command?

When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. (Genesis 22:9-10 NLT)

It may seem a bit anti-climatic to us.  We know the rest of the story.  To Abraham and Isaac, though, it was all too real.  Abraham is going to obey God’s command.  I can’t imagine that the younger Abram, who lied about his wife being his sister, would have trusted God in that day.  Even the older Abram, who slept with Hagar to give God’s plan a little nudge, wouldn’t have been faithful to the LORD in this way.  The 105+ year-old Abraham, though, didn’t hesitate.  He figured that God could raise Isaac from the dead if it came to that.  Abraham trusted, though, that God would remain true to the promises.

At that moment the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Yes," Abraham replied. "Here I am!" "Don't lay a hand on the boy!" the angel said. "Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from Me even your son, your only son." Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means "the LORD will provide"). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." (Genesis 22:11-14 NLT)

God provided.  God released Isaac.  Isaac would become the father of a great nation.  Not only that, his nation would be given another promise.

Then the angel of the LORD called again to Abraham from heaven. "This is what the LORD says: Because you have obeyed Me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by My own name that I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed--all because you have obeyed Me." (Genesis 22:15-18 NLT)

How about you?  Do you trust God this much?