by Rich Bregitzer
(St. Louis, MO)
Ge 22:1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied.
Ge 22:2 Then God said, “Take your son , your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
Ge 22:3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.
Ge 22:4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.
Ge 22:5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
Have you ever had a God moment? I mean a moment when you have been 100% convinced that God is showing you something that you needed to know. Maybe it occurs when you hold your newborn child or at a loved ones funeral or maybe, just maybe, it happens when the extremely dashing and charismatic part-time interim minister gives a message.
It’s pretty awesome when you feel that connectedness with the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, isn’t it?
Now, have you ever felt like God was trying to get your attention to correct you or to convict you of some sort of wrong you’ve done? It usually takes me some time before I say “God, I get it. You don’t have to tell me anymore…I’ll apologize to so-n-so or I’ll repent or I’ll keep the promise I made to that person.”
Sometimes it’s like we are screening our calls from God. When God spoke to Abraham, Abraham didn’t screen the call he just replied.
Sometimes when the phone rings I’m sorry I answered because it’ll be some telemarketer or bill collector or some other person after my money.
When God called Abraham I wonder if, just for a moment, Abraham wasn’t sorry he responded so quickly because as soon as he did he was hit with the request asking him to offer Isaac as a burnt offering.
Now the flow of this scripture would suggest that as soon as this was asked that Abraham just saddled his donkey, requested the assistance of his stable hands and he and Isaac headed out.
However, I have to believe that this must have been something Abraham really struggled to understand; that he may even have said to himself “No Way!”
At some point, though, Abraham decided to go – and we’ll cover that in a minute.
It took 3 days to reach the land of Moriah where Isaac was to be sacrificed.
I often wonder why God had sent Abraham to Moriah; on a 3 day journey. He had been residing in the land of the Philistines surely he could’ve just offered Isaac up their.
Did every step Abraham take get easier or harder? Did every day of travel bless Abraham with confirmation or cause him to dread? Every step was taking him to a place of sacrifice. He must’ve wrestled with uncertainty, mental anguish…
But what about those with him on the journey.
Can you imagine Isaac’s questions: “Dad, where are we going? Are we there yet? When we get there what will we do?”
I love a journey. I like road trips. And for me it’s not so much about where I’ll end up, but its about how I get there….
Now at some juncture Abraham’s faith went into overdrive. I believe that at some pivotal moment between when God said go and the point in v.5, when Abe addresses his “young men” that he had absolutely no doubt that everything was going to be a-ok.
In v.5 it says that Abraham tells them “we will come back to you. It does not say “I’ll come back to you”. It says “we” as in “me and the boy will come back together”.
I don’t think this was blind faith, but faith based on the promise of God.
In Hebrews 11:17-19 it says:
Heb 11:17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son,
Heb 11:18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”
Heb 11:19 Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.
You see Abraham had recalled the promise that his descendants would come through Isaac. Hebrews is in fact referring to Genesis 17:19, 18:10 where it says:
Ge 17:19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.
Ge 18:10 Then the LORD said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him.
This promise when remembered by Abraham must have been like a life preserver to a drowning man, like light at the end of the tunnel.
Was it still a test of faith? What do you think? Abraham had a history with God and while not everything God said or did made sense to Abraham he had no reason to believe God would fail him.
Our ability to believe a promise is based upon our experiences with the one making the promise. We have to ask ourselves : Can I trust them? Have they lied to me before? Are they capable of doing what they said? Do they care about me?
My dad use to try to get me to jump in the pool when I was a kid and I would because I knew, based on experience that he would catch me, but it did take faith because it was still scary, still a situation that I found less than ideal.
Let me ask you this: Are we there yet? Are we at a place where we can live this Christian life faithfully because we believe what God has said regarding our situation.
He has made so many promises to address so many needs. Truly the problem here is one of our own biblical ignorance. That’s why it is so important for us to meet together, to worship together, to go to Sunday school and to learn from one another.
I daresay nobody has the Bible memorized, but some of us have bits and pieces of it stored away because those parts probably speak to our needs and interests. When someone with a similar need crosses our path it’s great that we can now use those promises that we can recall to help speak to their situation.
Take another look at God’s promises because should he lead you through your Moriah lands you will be better equipped to take each step along the way.
A journey can be full of a lot of unknowns and the journey that is life is no different. To progress forward we have to overcome some doubts, fears and obstacles. So, what are some of the promises we can draw from?
* Well if you are feeling powerless:
Ps 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
* If you feel like everyone is against you:
Ro 8:31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
* When you feel like you just can’t take anymore:
1Co 10:13 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.
* When we feel alone:
Heb. 13:5, God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
* When we feel lost:
Ps 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
* When the future looks bleak:
Jer 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jn 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.
Jn 14:2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
Jn 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
* When you feel weak:
2Co 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
* When we feel condemned:
Jn 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
* When we feel confused:
Ps 37:3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Ps 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Ps 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
Ps 37:6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
We’ll close with Hebrews 10:23-25 which summarizes this perfectly:
Heb 10:23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Heb 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Heb 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
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