THE TRIAL OF FAITH (ABRAHAM)
Genesis 22:1-14 (NKJV)
Abraham’s Faith Confirmed
1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
2 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.”
3 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. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 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.”
6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”
And he said, “Here I am, my son.”
Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.
9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”
So he said, “Here I am.”
12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.
14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
Ill. The Siamese twins joined at the waist. Both could not live, so the parents had to choose which child lived and which child died. What a terrible predicament to be in. That, however, is the position that God placed Abraham in in this crucial passage. Abraham had a CHOICE to make and it involved the live of his son. Abraham’s faith was on trial before the Lord.
Ill. 1 Pet. 1:7, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” Through the centuries, Abraham has stood as a monument to true FAITH in God. He trusted God in every area of his life and he was vindicated by God every time. He was tried, but he came forth from the trial shining in the glory of the Lord.
In these verses, we can learn much about the trial of faith. We can learn how to handle the trials of life and about the One who makes the victory possible for us.
This morning, notice with me three aspects of the trial of faith.
I. v. 1-2a A LOVING FATHER (Evidenced by:)
A. Isaac’s Appearing – He was: 1. The Son Of Promise – Gen. 17:19; 2. The Son of Prophecy – Gen. 17:19; 3. The Son of Abraham’s Old Age – Gen. 17:17. These three facts caused Isaac to hold a high place in his father’s life.
B. Abraham’s Actions – Ill. Gen. 21:8-14. Abraham held Isaac higher in his esteem than he did Ishmael.
C. God’s Acknowledgment – God knew Abraham better than anyone else and he stated the fact that Abraham loved Isaac! (Ill. Love made the task hard!)
II. v. 2b-14 A LIVING FAITH (Evidenced By)
A. v. 2b A Requirement – Ill. The context – This was a hard request which God placed upon Abraham. Ill. True faith is always tested – 1 Pet. 4:12; 1 Cor. 10:13; 2 Tim. 3:12. (Ill. Faith that is never tested is not a faith at all!)
B. v. 3-10 A Response – Ill. The context! Without question, Abraham set about doing that which God demanded. Ill. True faith always responds to God’s call! Abraham’s faith revealed the fact that he loved God more than he loved Isaac! Ill. John 14:15. (Ill. The particulars of the journey! v. 8-10 – These verses reveal the true faith of Abraham!)
(Ill. How could Abraham do it all? Because in his mind Isaac died when God spoke. He had already put Isaac to death before he ever left home!) This is the secret to a walk of total faith. That is, a mind absolutely yielded to the Lord and ready at once to surrender all to Him!
C. v. 11-14 A Reward – Ill. The context. True faith in God is always rewarded by God. When we respond to Him in absolute trust and faith, He gets the glory and He blesses. God honors faith, because true faith honors God! (Ill. He doesn’t always pay off on Friday, but He always pays off!)
D. God may require that you and I walk through some pretty hard places, but it is faith that will deliver us and get us through all the valleys. Faith is the key ingredient that makes all the difference between worry and winning, struggling and succeeding, tragedy and triumph. Faith is the key to victory in the Christian life – Ill. 1 Cor. 15:57.
III. v. 12-14 SOME LASTING FEATURES (Ill. This story still speaks to us today because of three outstanding features!)
A. The Picture In Isaac
(Ill. A Portrait of Jesus Christ through and through)
1. Only Son – John 3:16; Matt. 3:17
2. Son was Obedient To The Father’s Will – (Ill. Isaac about 15-20 years old, Abraham about 100. Isaac was more than able to overcome his father, yet he submitted, just like Jesus – John 4:34; Luke 22:42.
3. Isaac carried the wood for the offering – Ill. Jesus carried His own cross – John 19:17
4. Isaac prayed to his Father – So did Jesus – Luke 22:42.
5. Isaac willingly surrender to the appointed task – John 10:18. So did Jesus, no one had to force Him to go to the cross – Isa. 53:7.
6. Isaac dead for three days – (Ill. In Abraham’s mind!) – Jesus was in the tomb for three days – Matt. 16:21.
7. Isaac Raised from the dead – Heb. 11:17-19 – Jesus was also raised from the dead – Matt. 28:1-6; 1 Cor. 15:1-23. (Ill. Rev. 1:18!)
B. The Peace In Abraham – Abraham is a wonderful portrait of the grace and peace of God. He was certainly heartbroken and miserable, yet somehow, he knew that God would intervene. (Ill. His attitude – Heb. 11:17-19)
Perhaps, Abraham was even excited as he contemplated what God would do. Surely, he would see a new side of the Lord in this work. Ill. This is an encouragement for you and me to continue to trust in the Lord. He has no respect of persons, and what He did for Abraham, He will do for you!
C. The Provision Of God – Ill. The RAM caught in the thorns before the altar. God abundantly intervened and met the need. (Ill. He name of the place – Jehovah-Jireh – “The Lord Will See To It.“)
Ill. While (pain, heartache, grief, sorrow, dread, death, brokenness) went up one side of the mountain, (provision, healing, glory, salvation, delight, deliverance, blessing) was coming up the other. Hallelujah! He was Jehovah-Jireh then, and He still is today! He is what you need this morning in every area of your life!
(Ill. What God did on that same mountain 1,500 years later! Mt. Moriah is the same place as Mt. Calvary!)
Your faith, if it is real, will be tested, but rest assured today that Jesus is and has all you need to have the victory in your life. The primary thing that needs to be settled is this: Are you trusting Jesus Christ for your salvation today?
Just like Isaac, He climbed Mt. Moriah (Mt. Calvary) carrying His cross and your sins. He died there to save your soul and today, you can be saved if you will come to Him by faith.Will you do that today?
Christians, are you undergoing a trial today? If so, please come to the Lord, He is still the God who will see to it. Bring your need/needs to Him right now.