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Summary: Defining Moments in the Life of Faith

Defining Moments in the Life of Faith

Genesis 22:1-19


One of my favorite books that sits on my shelf is 101 Hymn Stories by Kenneth W. Osbeck. In this book Osbeck gives the inspiring stories behind many of the hymns that we know and cherish. What strikes me about many of the inspiring stories behind the creation of these hymns is that many were written out of defining moments in the life of the author.

Take for instance the Hymn It is Well With My Soul. Haratio Spaffard wrote this great hymn after he lost his four children in an accident at sea. Francis Havergal is another author who wrote many of her hymns out of defining moments in her life. Havergal’s hymn I Gave My Life for Thee was written after she saw a picture that had been painted by a painter named Sternberg. The paining was a picture of Christ wearing a crown of Thorns before Pilate and the Jewish religious leaders. Beneath the painting read the words “This I have done for thee, what hast thou done for me?” Francis Havergal was so moved by the picture that she wrote a poem before she got home. When she got home she was not pleased with the words so she threw them into the fire. The paper did not make it into the fire, but is said to have floated out onto the floor and her father would latter pick it up and give it back to her and encourage her to put music to it, and she did.

Defining moments are everywhere we look. We have defining moments in history, one such moment being the cross of Jesus Christ. We have defining moments in the history of the church, the great reformation being one. We have defining moments in the world of sports. I must admit that I cried when Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys broke Walter Payton’s all time rushing record. As we look at Genesis chapter twenty-two we come to another defining moment, a defining moment in the life of Abraham.

Those who have any knowledge of the life of Abraham most likely have a knowledge of what takes place in the life of Abraham in Genesis chapter twenty-two. It is by far a defining moment for Abraham. It is well said that it is not just a defining moment in Abraham’s life, but it is also the high point of his journey of faith.

When we see and experience defining moments in the life of faith what we notice is that these moments come in different forms such as trials, test, and task. Defining moments in the life of faith are moments that God uses in the life of his people for a purpose and that purpose is maturity.

In our study of Abraham we have seen many defining moments in his life. The first defining moment in the life of Abraham came from his initial call to the life of faith back in chapters eleven and twelve. Another defining moment came when Abraham was faced with a famine in the land that God had promised. Then there was the promise of a child and the patients needed to wait on God to act that served as a defining moment in the life of Abraham. What is interesting about the defining moments in the life of Abraham is that they consist of both failures and victories. The Lord has a way of turning even our low points into defining moments.

The defining moment that we have in chapter twenty-two is definitely a high point in the life of Abraham, but only because Abraham would face the challenge and respond to the challenge in a manner that was pleasing to the Lord. And just as Abraham was faced with many defining moments in his journey of faith, so are we who have started that journey of faith.

Defining moments are usually moments that challenge our faith, our trust, and our obedience to the Lord, a challenge that all of God’s people will face. When we face those defining moments in our journey of faith we need to remember that the defining moments in the life of faith are divine moments.

I. Defining Moments in the Life of Faith are Divine Moments

I want you to imagine for a moment where Abraham is at in his spiritual journey up to this point. Abraham has been walking with the Lord more than twenty-five years. He has seen the Lord do many great things. He has seen the Lord faithfully protect him even during times when Abraham’s faith faltered. Most importantly, he has seen the Lord provide for him something that he thought he would never have, a son. Abraham and Sarah were able to have a child in their hold age. This child would not only be a fulfillment of the promise of God to Abraham, but also he would be the heir to the promises of God given to Abraham. Abraham is quite comfortable at this time in his life. He is able to peacefully live in the region with king Abimelech and worshiping and witnessing for his God, Jehovah, El-olam, The Lord, the everlasting God.

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