Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Great Test of Faith - Hebrews 11 part 6

"By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac;
and he who had received the promises was offering up
his only begotten son;
it was he to whom it was said,
In Isaac our descendants shall be called.'
He considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead;
from which he also received him back as a type."
(vs 17-19)

There are some of Abraham's adventures that might be fun to imitate - this is most certainly NOT one of them. Here are the deep, dark waters of faith. There is nothing easy in this test!

Matthew Henry writes: "God had, before this, tested and tried the faith of Abraham. But this trial was greater than all; he was commanded to offer up his son Isaac. 'Take thy son, thy only son by Sarah, Isaac thy laughter, the child of thy joy and delight; take him away to the land of Moriah; do not only leave him there, but offer him there for a burnt offering!'

"There are several things that very much added to the greatness of this trial. He was put upon it after he had received the promises. In being called to offer up his Isaac, he seemed to be called to cut off his own family and to cancel the promises of God.

"This Isaac was his only-begotten son by his wife Sarah, the only one he was to have by her, and the only one that was to be the child and heir of the promise. Besides his most tender affection to this his son, all his expectations were bound up in him, and if he perished, they must perish with him. To have this son offered up as a sacrifice, and that by his own hand; it was a trial that would have overset the firmest and the strongest mind."

Yet, Abraham obeyed. He loaded up his things, he put a pack on his son, and they set off. At the most critical moment Abraham didn't "tank" - he obeyed! Genesis 22 tells us that he arose early - he didn't sleep in, he didn't linger - he got up and went!

This was also no short trip. On the third day of their journey he looked up and saw Mount Moriah from a distance. There was plenty of time for mind racing as they moved toward the pinacle. I cannot begin to fathom the thoughts that ran through Abraham's head. What scenes were playing? What questions were tormenting him? What weight was he bearing?

As they walked, Isaac finally spoke up and his question had to pierce Abraham to the quick.

'My father!", he said.
And Abraham answered, "Here I am, my son."
Isaac responds, "Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"
Ouch! What would you say?

In his response, we get a glimpse of the great faith of Father Abraham. "And Abraham said, 'God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.' So the two of them walked on together."

Wow! That's faith in the promises of God -and it shames me in my little insignificant trials!!

God did provide the lamb. Isaac was bound - but Isaac was freed and suddenly there was a ram in the thickets who would pay the price.

Beloved, God provided the lamb for Isaac and He has provided the Lamb for us. Are you bound? Flee to the Lamb crucified on Calvary's cross. Flee to Him in faith and find freedom from the flames.

In the Lamb,

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