December 16, 2017

The Great Faith of Abraham(2) The Supreme Test of Abraham’s Great Faith (Hebrews 11:17-19; Genesis 22:1-19)

By Don R. Hastings

There were many times in the life of Abraham when his faith was put to the test. However, these trials were relatively easy when compared with the severity and difficulty of this supreme test of Abraham's great faith. I am amazed .and astonished at the degree of faith which Abraham possessed in God. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves at how easily our faith falters under our light afflictions.

What would you have done had you been in Abraham's place? Would your faith cause you to act in complete accord with God's will? As Christians, we are "Abraham's seed, heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:29). Let us act like his children by following his example of complete obedience. It is easy to understand why God thought so highly of Abraham. What does he think of us?

God's Command To Abraham (vv. 1, 2)

The King .lames Version says, "God did tempt Abraham." God did not try to induce Abraham to sin (James 1:13); Satan is the tempter (Matthew 4:1, 3). We sin when we permit Satan to entice us to do evil (James 1:14, 15). God was proving, or testing, Abraham's faith (American Standard Version).

God required Abraham to sacrifice that which was very dear to him. Isaac was his only begotten son by Sarah (Gen. 21:3). Ishmael was his son by his handmaid Hagar and they had been driven out (Gen. 21:10-14). Today, God requires us to sacrifice that which is very dear to us - our own selves (Rom. 12:1, 2; Matt. 16:24).

The best we can offer God is ourselves and that involves our: (1) Love, affection, and devotion (Matt. 22:37); (2) Time. He wants the best years of our life, but many want to give Satan the best years of their life and then give God a worn out body and mind; (3) Energy. How much work are you doing for the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58)? (4) Material goods. Many want to give to God what is left over after they have spent money to satisfy their own pleasures. Abraham understood God's command, and so can we!

Abraham's Response To God's Command (vv. 3-6)

He "rose early in the morning." His first order of business was to do what God had commanded. We would have thought up excuses for delaying. Look how we delay in doing work for the Lord. Look how many arrive tardy out of~habit at the worship services.

He did not seek the advice of others. What others might say about such drastic action did not hinder his obedience. Sometimes, others have trouble understanding us when we put God first. The coach of the all-star team did not understand it at all when I pulled my son out of the important game because it was time to assemble with the saints. In my high school days, my classmates did not understand it at all when I refused to participate in dancing during physical education class.

Abraham did not let the distance to travel interfere with his obedience. Many, today feel as though it is a great burden and expense to get in their cars and travel a few miles to worship0 God. My`, what= sacrifices we make! Abraham did not fuss about the weather, either.

Abraham's Response To Isaac's Question (vv. 7, 8)

"God will provide" - what great faith! Isaac said, "Behold, the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?" The daddy answered his boy, "God will provide . . . ." Right here is where I would have broken down if that was my command to obey, and my boy Ted had asked me such a question. What great faith Abraham possessed! Do we believe that the Lord will provide (Matt. 6:25-34).

Manifested Complete Trust

Abraham manifested his complete trust in God by obeying this command which cost him dearly and made no sense to the human mind. It was through Isaac that the promises God made to Abraham were to be fulfilled (text; Gen. 17:21; 21:12). How could God keep His promise if Isaac was killed? Had not God said that it was wrong to kill (Gen. 9:6)?

The only answer to this problem that Abraham could see was that God would resurrect Isaac (text). What great faith! There is no record of God having resurrected anyone at this time.

"All Things Work Together For Good" When We Obey God (Romans 8:28)

The angel stopped Abraham from slaying his son (vv. 9-12). God provided a ram (vv. 13, 14). Through an angel, God renewed His promises to Abraham (vv. 15-19). If all people would only have the faith to do God's will in everything, what a wonderful place this world would be to live in, and how much happier we would be!

Abraham proved his faith by works (James 2:21-23). Do you have the faith of Abraham? If you do, you will prove it by your complete obedience to God's commandments (James 2:26). You will be a faithful Christian.

Abraham would have offered his son, but God stopped him. However, the Father did not stop Himself for offering His only begotten Son for our sins! Will you show your love for His sacrifice by being baptized into His death so His blood can wash away your sins?

Truth Magazine XXIV: 16, p. 258
April 17, 1980

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