Jon Reed, evangelist
God tests Abraham (v. 1-2)
This is not the first test and certainly not the last for Abraham. God is refining him. Like us, Abraham is on a journey with God. Three times in Scripture, Abraham is referred to as a friend of God (2 Chr. 20:7; Isa. 41:8 James 2:23). God chose him to be the father of many nations and to bless him and all of his descendants. In Genesis 12, God gives Abraham this promise:
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Obviously, this would be good news for anyone including Abraham. But, with this promise, came great sacrifice. God asked him to leave everything that was familiar to him and follow God to the place of this promise.
This would prove to be a difficult journey with many decisions to be made along the way. By faith, Abraham left everything and followed after God. Here, we see a picture of this great faith as Abraham trusted God and followed Him.
Everything God has to offers us comes in the form of a promise. I learned a formula years ago when I attended seminary. This pattern, or principle, can be traced throughout Scripture, both in the Old and New Testament. So, here it is: God gives us the promise and then shortly afterwards comes the problem or the test.
We must walk through the problem or test in order experience or receive the provision of God. Promise, Problem, Provision.
Abraham is tested over and over again and unfortunately, doesn’t always fare so well. Not long into his journey, when he came into the land of Egypt, Abraham told his wife to lie and say that she was his sister in order to prevent the Egyptians from killing him and taking her.
Until this point, Abraham had trusted God, but here, he seems to take matters into his own hands when it came to this decision. God tested him, but on this occasion, he failed this test.
Like all of us, Abraham is a work in progress. God is testing him every step of the way. John Piper says, “God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, but you may be aware of three of them.” Over and over again, Jesus’s disciples missed what He was doing right in front of them. They missed the point of the miracles. They missed the “lessons.”
Abraham is learning all along the way. He is learning over and over again to trust and obey God.
In Genesis 22:1, “Now it came to pass after these things God tested Abraham.” After many smaller tests, He is tested again, except this time to the fullest extent. God calls him to offer his son up as a sacrifice to the Lord.
This is the son of the promise. His name means “laughter.” He was a miracle from birth. Given to Abraham and Sarah after her womb had closed. He means everything to Abraham. He is the living embodiment of the covenant itself. How could God ask such a thing?
God is teaching Abraham (V. 3-9)
This time, notice Abraham’s maturity in his immediate response. “Here I am.” Without hesitation, Abraham “rose early in the morning.”
There seems to be a shift here. The only way Abraham could follow through is to focus more on the promise than the problem. The instructions do not make sense, but I am sure that Abraham had to remind himself that the instructor never fails.
The instructions seem to contradict the covenant God had made with him. What do you do when God orders your steps in a direction that does not make sense? Like many times before, Abraham knew that it was God bidding him to go … to follow Him in obedience.
This time, however, Abraham has learned over a lifetime to trust and obey. At this point in his life, Abraham had learned that God will never fail. He would either provide a sacrifice or raise Isaac from the dead.
It is interesting all the parallels found between Isaac and Jesus:
- Both were loved by their father.
- Both offered themselves willingly.
- Both carried wood up the hill of their sacrifice.
- Both were sacrificed on the same hill.
- Both were delivered from death on the third day.
God Provides for Abraham (v.11-13)
At the last moment, God provided for Abraham. At the point of his greatest need, God provided.
Looking back on Abraham’s Journey, he had many needs and God had always provided, but in this moment we see a picture of Abraham’s greatest need. No other time before that could have stretched him more than this … and God provided.
This would be a foreshadowing of God’s provision for all of mankind. At our greatest need, God provided Jesus. There is no way we can save ourselves. All of mankind is doomed and damned unless God steps in … and He did. Some 2000 years ago, God provided…
And so Abraham named the place Jehovah-Jireh …. God Provides.
Our faith will be tested. Each day is filled opportunities build our faith. We are to walk by faith. What does this mean? What does this look like? How about this: Could it be that we are to walk in such a way that we do not know what is around the corner?
Walking by faith means living life in light of eternal consequences. To walk by faith is to fear God more than man; to obey the Bible even when it conflicts with man’s commands; to choose righteousness over sin, no matter what the cost; to trust God in every circumstance; and to believe God rewards those who seek Him, regardless of who says otherwise. (Heb. 11:6; 2 Cor. 5:6-7)
Points to consider
What is the ultimate goal as we grow in our relationship with God?
Toward the end of Abraham’s life, what is God teaching him?
Remember, he had three days to think about it as he walked up to Mt. Moriah.