Summary: Recounts the mountain top experience of Abraham on Mount Moriah and gives four components of how we live by faith from his example.
“Living by Faith”
Scripture Reading: Genesis 21:1-7
Two months ago, I preached the first in a series of lessons called “Mountain Top Experiences” with a sermon on “Noah’s New Beginning” on the mountains of Ararat after the flood. This morning I want to continue this series with one from Mount Moriah. This mount is mentioned once in the Bible – in 2 Chronicles 3:1 – Now Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. The Hebrew word “Moriah” literally means “chosen by Jehovah” and appears one other time in scripture in conjunction with our lesson this morning. Our sermon is entitled “Living by Faith” and I hope you’ll open your Bibles as we look at one of the most interesting challenges a man ever faced – on Mount Moriah. We are going to use his example to demonstrate how we can live by faith with four components. Please be like the Bereans in Acts 17:11 and search your Bibles daily to make sure I’ve preached the truth.
A few moments ago, our text was read from Genesis 21:1-7 where we learn that 90-year old Sarah gave birth to Isaac. Abraham was 100 years old when his son was born but our story really begins much earlier – in Genesis 12:1-3 –Now the LORD had said to Abram:
“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
This last phrase was fulfilled in Christ as a descendant of Abraham – Acts 3:25-26. But that’s a lesson for another day. This morning we want to turn over to Genesis 22:1-2 and read of the challenge Abraham faced: Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” The first component of living by faith is a command. In order to test Abraham, God commanded him to offer his son as a burnt offering – a human sacrifice. He commands him to do this on one of the mountains in the land of Moriah which many scholars interpret to be the same Mount Moriah upon which Solomon built the temple. Isaac was the son of promise – through whom Abraham would become a great nation. You may recall Abraham and Sarah tried to help God out with a child by Hagar – but Ishmael was cast out because he was not the legitimate heir. Can you imagine God commanding you to sacrifice your son? Thankfully, we are not commanded to make such an offering! However, can you think of some of the other things God has commanded us to do? To follow the golden rule? To love our enemies? To be kind to one another? To meet on the first day of the week to worship God and remember His Son’s death? We obey these commands by faith because this is what God has told us to do. So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. A good example of this is found in the first offerings by Cain and Abel. God did not respect Cain and his offering of the fruit of the ground but He respected Abel and his offering of the firstborn of his flock and their fat (Genesis 4:3-5). The big question is “Why?” until we read Hebrews 11:4 – By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. God had surely told these brothers what kind of offering He desired because Abel made his offering by faith. Lest there be any doubt about my conclusion, notice also 1 John 3:12 – not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous. God has commanded us to do many things as a way of living and we do them by faith. The next component of living by faith is found in verses 3-8 of Genesis 22: So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”