By Kenny Bruce
Pastor Emeritus, Leawood East Baptist Church, Memphis
Focal Passage: Genesis 22:1-14
I. FAITH IN CRISIS (vv. 1-3) God tested Abraham’s faith by asking him to sacrifice his only son Isaac as a burnt offering on Mount Moriah. This undoubtedly brought Abraham to a breaking point. Isaac was the son of God’s promise whom Abraham dearly loved. God had promised to bless all of Abraham’s descendants through Isaac. Abraham must have thought, “Is God going to break His promise?” Confronted by a conflict between God’s promise and his command to kill Isaac, he obeyed by faith because he trusted God to have a resolution to the confusing difficulty.
The essence of true faith is promptly obeying God when we don’t understand why or how. Faith is believing God and acting on it when it goes against our understanding.
II. FAITH IN BLOOM (vv. 4-5) On the third day of Abraham’s journey he saw Mount Moriah, the place where he was to sacrifice Isaac. The place where Isaac was offered is the same place where Jerusalem lies, where the temple was built, and where Jesus was crucified (Luke 23:33).
When Abraham saw the place in the distance, he said to his two servants, “Stay here … The boy and I will go over there to worship; then we’ll come back to you” (v. 15). He was sure that the outcome would not be the end of Isaac (Hebrews 11:17-19).
He knew that if God did not perform a miracle, He would be found false. Knowing there could be no contradiction in God, Abraham had faith that God was going to raise Isaac from the dead. Abraham needed to know that he trusted God more than he loved his son. Is there anything you love or trust more than God? The test of faith is the cost of sacrificing what you love the most for the reward of obeying God.
III. FAITH IN FRUITION (Genesis 22:6-14) As Isaac began to carry the wood for his sacrifice, he asked his dad where the sacrifice was for the burnt offering. Abraham replied, “God Himself will provide the lamb…” (v. 8). When they came to Mount Moriah, Abraham built an altar, arranged the wood, and bound Isaac onto the altar. He lifted his knife to plunge it into the heart of his own son. Suddenly, Abraham heard the angel of the Lord call from heaven and say, “Do not lay a hand on the boy” (v. 12).
Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught in the thicket. He sacrificed the ram in the place of his son and called that place Jehovah Jireh which means “The Lord will provide.” Our faith must be tested to prove it is real and trustworthy.
Would you fly on an airplane that had not been tested? If it hasn’t been tested, it cannot be trusted. The more our faith is tested, the stronger it becomes, and the more we experience God’s provision. Whenever we love and value anything more than God, He will test our faith by asking us to sacrifice it. When we do, He provides. If we won’t withhold anything from God, He won’t withhold anything from us!. B&R