Do You Trust the Promise or the Promiser?
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.”
God tested Abraham:
This was not so much a test to produce faith, as it was a test to reveal faith. God built Abraham slowly, piece by piece, year by year, into a man of faith.
God will test your faith!
1 Thessalonians 2:4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.
James 1:2-3New King James Version (NKJV)
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
1 Peter 1:6-7New King James Version (NKJV)
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
Take now your son, your only son Isaac:
- Significantly, God called Isaac your only son Isaac, when in fact Abraham had another son, Ishmael. Since Ishmael was put away from Abraham’s family, as far as God was concerned, Abraham had only one son.
- God will asks us to put ALL on the altar!
- He wants what we prize the most- “YOUR ONLY SON WHOM YOU LOVE” on the altar.
- While He may not require all, ALL must be on the altar.
- Ex: my recent experience with laying my body down.
Offer him there as a burnt offering:
- God told Abraham to offer him as a burnt offering.
- This was not an offering that was burned alive, but one first sacrificed and then completely burnt before the Lord.
- This test was especially hard because it seemed to contradict the previous promise of God. God had already promised in Isaac your seed shall be called (Genesis 21:12).
- It seemed strange and contradictory to kill the son who was promised to carry on the covenant when it had not yet been fulfilled in him.
- It seemed as if God commanded Abraham to kill the very promise God made to him.
Abraham had to learn the difference between trusting the promise and trusting the Promiser.
- We can put God’s promise before God Himself and feel it is our responsibility to bring the promise to pass, even if we have to disobey God to do it.
- Abraham had already done this when he let his wife give him her servant Hagar and he had Ishmael.
- Abraham tried himself to make good on God’s promise.
- Matt and I tried ourselves to make good on God’s promise of building the church.
- For example: God has told me He was my Healer, and I was going to make good on that promise.
- You CANNOT force God’s hand!
Trust the Promiser no matter what, and the promise will be taken care of.
How did Abraham respond?
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.
- So Abraham rose early:
- There was not the slightest hint of hesitation on Abraham’s part. Abraham rose early in the morning to do this. It must have been a sleepless night for Abraham.
- Do you obey God immediately?
- THE NEXT MORNING!
- How long do you have to sleep on the Word of the Lord before you will act on it?
- We need to obey in a timely manner, otherwise we can miss out on Gods plan.
- Ex: God told me to quit college, I fought with Him for 2 weeks. if I waited too long, I would have missed Matt
- Abraham trusted God, even when he did not understand.
- Sometimes we say, “I’m not going to obey or believe until I understand it all,” but that is making myself equal with God.
- This is not FAITH.
- Faith believes even when it doesn’t see or understand.
- Faith trusts GOD, not by what we see or cannot see.
- Hebrews 11:1New King James Version (NKJV)
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
- Abraham didn’t debate or seek counsel from others.
- He knew what to do and employed no stalling tactics.
- There is absolutely wisdom in seeking counsel from others, but sometimes you just have to do what God tells you to do without seeking a committee. PERIOD.
- I wonder if Abraham even told his wife??
- I didn’t ask a committee when I quit school. I knew what people would say, and the people who knew I was quitting told me “DON’T DO IT!”
- Seeking out others to “validate” what God has told you to do, can lead to many problems:
- People pleasing.
- Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
- This next season God is asking more BOLDNESS of His people and there is a greater separation coming for God’s people. IF you are a people pleaser-this season will be incredibly difficult for you!
- The dogs will come after you!
- Do not cast your pearl before swine or give the holy things to the dogs- they will come at you and tear you to pieces!
- Abraham trusted God, even when he did not feel like it.
- There is not a line in this text about how Abraham felt, not because he didn’t feel, but because he walked by faith, not feelings.
- We live in a feeling run society.
- It’s all about how someone feels or doesn’t feel and they react accordingly.
- We MUST BE LED BY THE WORD OF GOD and the HOLY SPIRIT, NOT by how we FEEL about something.
- WE NEED TO SIDE WITH THE WORD, NOT THE WORLD! It grieves my spirit when Christians attack other Christians when they are on the side of the WORD. EX: FB posts
- Hebrews 4:12 says that God’s Word is sharper than any two-edged sword, dividing soul and spirit and judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
In other words, God’s Word gives us wisdom to know right from wrong, and keep our thoughts and attitudes in control.
- It’s challenging sometimes to discern if what we want is in line with what God wants for us because when we feel strongly about something, we can easily deceive ourselves into thinking it’s God’s will―and the devil will help us do it. He will even lead us to take Scripture out of context if it will keep us deceived and living in sin.
- 1 Corinthians 2:14New King James Version (NKJV)
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
- Only spiritual people can understand the things of the Spirit. And sometimes it’s even very difficult for spiritual people to do!
- I can tell you that when you’re truly being led by the Spirit, your head can have a hard time understanding what God’s doing because He often seems unreasonable. He will do many things in your life that you just cannot understand.
- Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
- God had trained Abraham, bringing him to this place of great trust.
- In just the last chapter, God asked Abraham to give up Ishmael in a less severe way. God used that, and everything else, to train up Abraham and build great faith in him.
- Abraham was called a FRIEND of God. How do you become someone’s FRIEND?
- There is a HUGE difference between being an ACQUAINTANCE and a FRIEND.
- My son calls everyone his friend- I have to show him how everyone is NOT his friend. Most of his so-called friends are acquaintances.
- Abraham COMMUNED with God on a regular basis, getting to know Him and know His ways and His character. HE SPENT TIME WITH HIM!
- LET God train you. LET Him mold you and shape you. COMMUNE with Him on a DAILY basis. Be in His WORD daily.
- THIS is how you get to know HIM! You have to KNOW Him in order to TRUST Him.
Abraham went to the place of which God had told him:
In wonderful, trusting obedience, Abraham went right to the spot. He did this even though it would have been easier in Abraham’s eyes if God had asked Abraham to offer himself instead of Isaac.
TRUST the PROMISER! HE is FAITHFUL!