Effective Faith Through Supreme Expression
AMONG all the expressions of Abraham’s faith, nothing was more remarkable than the offering of his son, Isaac. It is the most wonderful submission in faith, the most illustrious of all examples of faith. It shows the power of faith that helps a man to perform a very difficult duty, so as to obtain a very important blessing. The depth and great value of Abraham’s faith are revealed in his willingness to give back to God everything he had received by faith, including Isaac, the son of promise. God’s demand was a test of Abraham’s faith. It was a test of his submission, loyalty, love and affection for God. God wanted to ascertain whom Abraham really loved more: God or Isaac? God’s promises to Abraham concerning his “seed” centred on Isaac. Ishmael had been cast out and Isaac’s posterity alone was to be reckoned by Abraham. Isaac had been given to Abraham after he had waited for a long time. There was no likelihood of his having any more sons through Sarah. Isaac himself had not got any child; he was, at the time, not yet married. Therefore, to offer Isaac to God as a sacrifice looked like cutting off all his hopes. Yet, he was willing to obey God. He knew that God would do whatever was necessary, including raising Isaac from the dead, to keep His covenant. He believed in resurrection from the dead even before God revealed the doctrine.
This was a great test. God had declared unto Abraham that He would establish an everlasting covenant with Isaac and with his seed after him (Genesis 17:9). It was through him that all nations should be blessed (Genesis 17:7), and therefore, it must be through him that Christ, according to the flesh would proceed. Now, the accomplishment of those promises depended upon the preservation of Isaac’s life. Yet, it was this same Isaac that Abraham was called upon to sacrifice to God. Abraham was to slay, not all his bullocks and herds, not one of his servants, not even Ishmael, but his loving, beloved, faithful son! Abraham was commanded, not to send him away from home, but to cut him off from the land of the living! To obey God and sacrifice Isaac appeared to render all His promises to Abraham null and void, making their fulfillment impossible. It was, indeed, a severe trial – a serious trial of faith.
“By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac”. He had faith in the wisdom, power and faithfulness of God. He closed his eyes to all difficulties, trusting in the power of Him, Who cannot lie. He consulted not with flesh and blood, not even with Sarah, his wife. There was no delay or disputing with God, questioning the apparent discrepancy between the present command and the previous promises. Great faith in a great God passed a great test and obtained great blessings. It is faith that causes us to yield to God, to respond to His claims, to answer His call, to obey Him joyfully. Faith carries its possessor through the greatest of trials, singing and testifying of God’s goodness and greatness while going through. There is a cheerful submission and joyful obedience to the will of God when we really and fully believe Him. Faith has a mighty influence to support and sustain the soul in time of trial. He who walks by faith, in the light of God’s eternal Word, goes on calmly and happily through the mists and fogs of time. What a testimony Abraham had in the midst of his trial of faith! “And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you” (Genesis 22:5). He believed and testified that after the sacrifice, God would raise Isaac up and they would both “come again”. What a faith, what a testimony! He was so “strong in faith” that he believed God would raise him from the dead. “Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead” (Hebrews 11:19). Yes, our God is able. That is the testimony of faith (Hebrews 7:25; 2:18; Romans 11:23; 14:4; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Matthew 3:9; 2 Chronicles 25:9; Daniel 3:17; Romans 4:21; 2 Timothy 1:12; Ephesians 3:20; Jude 24; Philippians 3:21).
Abraham received what he believed; he obtained what he confessed. “And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:8). And the faithful God did just that. “And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram… and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:13). The outcome of the test of faith that Abraham went through was a wonderful triumph of faith. He experienced neither regret nor disappointment. Rather, he obtained divine intervention just when he needed it most.
Further References (King James Version): Hebrews 11:17-19; Genesis 21:10-12; 22:1-4,9,10; James 2:21-23; 1 Peter 1:7; John 6:5,6; Deuteronomy 8:2; 13:1-4; 1 Kings 19:19-21; Hebrews 11:19a; Genesis 22:5-8,13,14; 2 Corinthians 4:13; Romans 4:20,21; Job 19:25-27; Psalm 23:4; Matthew 16:21; Hebrews 11:19b; 2 Corinthians 2:14; Genesis 22:11,12,15-18; Daniel 3:16,17,24-28; 6:19-23; Mark 14:27,28; 16:4-7.
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