Last week we ended our time together seeing that Abraham’s life was going great.
- His business is booming
- God brought forth the promised son in dramatic fashion
- The wife is happy since her rival is out of the picture
- He’s living at peace with all the people around him
- And His faith is alive and well
Everything’s going great for Abraham. He’s on the mountain-top of life. But he’s about to
experience the greatest test of his life. And the nature of the test itself must have been so hard to understand since it went against everything the Lord’s been building up to in his life.
Some tests are like that. Some tests come out of seemingly nowhere and we don’t understand why it is that we have to go through such things. But I remember hearing a man answer people’s questions about why bad things happen to God’s people. His answer was, “Why not? God’s people are the ones better equipped to handle the difficulties of life because the Lord is with them.” And you know what, I can’t imagine trying to navigate life’s tests without the Lord. I just can’t.
But you know what we need to remember when the tests of life come? satan tests people to bring out the bad in them. But God tests people to bring out the good. God tests people to bring out the good in them. And in this case with Abraham, we see his faith rise to the occasion.
We’re going to be in Genesis 22 tonight, and in this chapter we see two themes – Abraham’s faith and to a lesser extent the introduction of the idea of a substitutionary atonement. And the reason we see that is because of the striking similarities between Abraham’s son Isaac and God’s Son Jesus Christ.
- Their births were both promised ahead of time
- Their births were both miraculous in nature
- It was said the whole earth would be blessed through them
- And many other things that we’ll see in the text
So as we discuss the main theme of the passage being Abraham’s faith through this test we’ll also mention how we can see images of the cross here as well.
So, let’s see how Abraham’s faith helps him through this test.
I. Faith listens to God’s voice
[Read Genesis 22:1-2.]
Quite honestly, that isn’t the kind of message you want to hear from God. That’s the kind of thing you hope the Lord says to someone else besides you. That must have been an incredibly hard thing for Abraham to hear.
- Harder then when God told him to leave his homeland for a new land
- Harder then when God told him He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah
- Harder then when God told him his wife would have his child
- Harder when God told him to send away his other son Ishmael
I mean, this was a hard thing to hear. First of all He loved his son. How in the world
could he kill his now only son? Secondly, “God, You brought forth this child through a couple of old people well beyond child-bearing years just for me to kill him? What about the covenant?”
But as hard a message as this was, Abraham listened to God’s voice. And you know, He must have been in a good place spiritually to actually be able to discern that it was in fact the Lord talking to him. Such an outrageous command could have easily been ignored if you thought it was satan or your imagination putting those thoughts in your head. But true, vibrant, sensitive faith listens to God’s voice.
* We see images of the cross here because Isaac is considered Abraham’s only son at this point. Jesus, of course, is God’s only Son.
The next aspect of Abraham’s reaction to this test is that:
II. Faith obeys God’s commands
It’s great to listen to the voice of God. But its even greater when we obey.
[Read Genesis 22:3-8.]
This must have been the hardest journey of Abraham’s life. The place they went was about 50 miles away and eventually became the place where Solomon built his temple. But can you imagine all the thoughts that must have went through Abraham’s mind as they traveled for two days to where he was going to kill his only son.
But because of his strong faith in God he simply obeyed. You see, Abraham knew God. And He knew that even though he couldn’t see how this was all going to work out, he trusted that God had a plan. As a matter of fact he thought that either God would provide a substitute sacrifice for his son or that God would even raise his son from the dead. He believed he and his son would be coming back down that mountain.