Summary: Learn from Abraham - faith is giving to God even that which is most precious to you.
There is a story about a monastery in Europe perched high on a cliff several hundred feet in the air. The only way to reach the monastery was to be suspended in a basket which was pulled to the top by several monks who pulled and tugged with all their strength. Obviously the ride up the steep cliff in that basket was terrifying.
One tourist got exceedingly nervous about half-way up as he noticed that the rope by which he was suspended was old and frayed. With trembling voice, he asked the monk who was riding with him in the basket how often they changed the rope. The monk thought for a moment and answered brusquely, "Whenever it breaks."
Faith is as good as the object of your faith. It really does not matter how much faith this person has, but whether the rope can really hold him. It is not really matter how capable we are or how good the circumstance may be… it all depends on who our God is. What kind of a God do we have….
We’ve now come to the 3rd experience of Abraham, recorded in Hebrews 11. We’ve seen Abraham’s faith in God growing and growing, over each experiences and over time. Now, he comes to the point where he can fully trust God. His faith was not based on how good he is, how good the situation is… His faith is based on his understanding of God’s nature - WHO He is.
· He knows that God is all-loving, even though he was asked to do something quite absurd.
· He learns that God is all-powerful, and can fulfill His promise even if it looks impossible.
· He knows that God would use His power to act in his best interests. "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." (1 Pet 5:7)
How can we see that? In this incident, found in Genesis 22. God tested him and asked him to do something incomprehensible. Offer up his only son Isaac. Because of His faith in God, Abraham was prepared to do that. No longer did he laughed at what God said. He did not ask WHY, HOW, WHAT FOR….
I can imagine the mental struggle that Abraham must have. Yet he did not doubt God - God must have His purpose; He is still a loving God; He is faithful and will fulfill what He has promised. God can make a way where there seemed to be no way. And with that kind of faith, Abraham got up early next morning and prepare for the trip. He cut enough wood for the burnt offering and saddled his donkey. Took two of his servants and started his journey. God asked him to offer up his son on a mountain in Moriah, and it would take him 3 days.
That 3 days must be difficult days. He has many opportunities to turn back. He has many chances to question God and disobey Him. He has a long time to think through. Yet step by step he moved on. I believe the bible described that struggle on purpose, in Heb 11:17-19 "17…He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned."
How can God be fulfilling His promise if Isaac is dead? Abraham did not ask. Verse 19 describes to us the inner workings of Abraham’s faith. "19Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead…" In other words, Abraham must have been thinking… And his conclusion is this - that even if Isaac is dead, God can still fulfill His promise by raising him back to life. In fact, He believed in God’s power. I believe he was the first person in the bible to believe that God can raise the dead.