Summary: Even in some of the most obscure passages of the scriptures God’s plans become evident if we’ll just look.
Back in Chapter 11 we were introduced to Abraham and His family. Abram was one of three brothers. The other two were Nahor and Haran. The growth and direction of this family is what the entire Old testament records. First we discovered that Haran had a son named Lot. Lot came along with Abram on his journey and of course we all know about the compromises that came along in his life.
First Lot moved too close to Sodom, and after it’s destruction Lot’s line became the Ammonites and the Moabites, two peoples with whom Israel would have trouble in the future - because theirs was a life laden with Sin.
Second we have the story of Abram. Abram and Sarai couldn’t have children of course so Sarai gave Abram her maid Hagar and Ishmael was born through her. Finally after 25 years waiting for God’s promise for Abraham to have a son come true Isaac was born. Now if in that happy and momentous occasion we needed an indication that life wouldn’t be a happily ever after event we need look no further than the animosity of the child of the slave woman to the child of the free. It’s the hatred and dislike between the two that Paul used as an example of the worlds hatred and persecution of Christians.
So Abraham sends Ishmael and Hagar away, and all he has is Isaac. Eventually God calls upon Abraham to put his only son on the altar, Abraham obeys - trusting that after the sacrifice was made, God would raise him back again. Abraham’s faith is rewarded quite differently than he anticipated and God provided the offering with a Ram that was caught in the thicket.
You can imagine by now that Abraham is walking on cloud nine right? I would assume that after a test and a victory of that sort that Abraham felt indefeatable!
My friends never is a place so dangerous as when you think that you have arrived and can’t be defeated. That’s when trouble to your own soul comes in.
In first Corinthians 10:12-13 we have this wonderful warning given to us to keep us from failing. First Paul says: " 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!" This is serious stuff. Whenever we get cocky about our walk with Christ we’re in a place to be knocked down. Why is that do you suppose? I think in part it’s God’s plan to keep us humble. If we start getting puffed up, We start appropriating glory for ourselves, when actually God is the one worthy of Glory and not us.
But God’s plan is only to test us not to destroy us - that’s Satan’s scheme. That’s why the next verse in first Corinthians is a promise of God’s faithfulness and a reminder of his plan for our victory "13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." That’s an awesome God!
Abraham has just had a Spiritual victory after what I can imagine was his toughest test ever. So what do you suppose happens immediately upon his arrival home? God does something to bolster Abraham’s faith even further. But we have no indication that Abraham knew it. Or even of how Abraham responded - but what we do discover in the very next passage is very important.
What we might perceive as a problem or a difficulty might well be God’s gracious preparation and provision for our future course.
Take a look at a passage that might look a bit disjointed but which reveals God’s gracious hand at work. Turn to Genesis 22:20-24.
< Read it >.
So we have a grocery list of children here - so what! Right? Not quite.
Remember the family history we started with. Haran had a son, Abraham had two children one without faith, and one a child of faith. And Abraham gets home sits down for a warm meal of goat stew and Sarah begins asking about the trip. He carefully reveals to her all or part of the events of the week. Personally I’d have had quite a time trying to explain to my wife that I had just attempted to sacrifice my son but then maybe she already knew. There’s no way to tell.
Throughout the course of conversation - Sarah remarks to Abraham that they had just had a visitor from their old home town, they’d brought news of Abes brother Nahor. Unlike themselves, Nahor had a bustling family; eight sons from one wife and 3 from another. I Just wonder if that was a bit of a shock or disappointment to Abraham.