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Father in heaven, this is our prayer, as we have just sung. That You would send Your Holy Spirit, Your living breath, to breathe new life into us, to bring to us the presence of the risen Lord, to renew our hearts, to make us whole. That Your Word, which is living and active, would give us life and health and strength. Give us faith for what we cannot see. Give us passion for Your purity. Send Your Spirit to breathe new life in us. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Please turn in your Bibles to Genesis chapter 22. Genesis 22. Be reading the whole chapter, though the last four verses really transition us to think ahead to the life of Isaac and later to chapter 24 when we’ll find a wife, Rebecca, from the household of Abraham’s brother, so we aren’t going to do much with those final verses, but we will read all of Genesis 22.
“After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take 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.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.”
“When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.””
“And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba. And Abraham lived at Beersheba.”
“Now after these things it was told to Abraham, “Behold, Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor: Uz his firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.” (Bethuel fathered Rebekah.) These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. Moreover, his concubine, whose name was Reumah, bore Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.”
I imagine that most of us do not like tests. When you hear, as a student, exam week is coming, you usually don’t think, oh, good, favorite week of the year. You have to take the ACT or the SAT and these take half the day and use up all your number 2 pencils. I don’t even know if they still do that. Maybe some of you had to take the bar exam, or an MCAT, or LSAT, or a GRE. Young men studying for ministry have a nerve-wracking experience at times to take their ordination exams. Or even those men who have prepared to be elders or deacons have to be examined.
I generally am not too terrified of tests, and yet there even are those moments, I get a little nervous if I’m traveling to another country or back to the country and you have to do passport control, and they ask you that question, “Why are you here?” and suddenly your mind goes blank. Why am I here? [laughter] What am I doing here? I’m smuggling many fruits and vegetables I did not declare. [laughter] Oh, that’s right, I live here, that’s what I’m doing here. And sometimes when you’re in another country and they ask, “What’s the address?” I don’t know, I’m just going to a hotel. I’m a pastor, I’m speaking somewhere. No one, very few of us like a test.
When we hear “test,” we don’t think fun. And yet, if we’re prepared, if we know we can do well on the test, at least we think, “Well, the experience might not be great, but there’s something to gain.”
That basketball player who wants the shot at the end of the game, “Give it to me, I’m gonna make it.” The student who’s eager for the AP exam because she knows her stuff backwards and forwards.
How we view a test depends on whether we’re confident that we can pass the test. There’s lots of different sorts of examinations.
I know this will be very hard for many of you to believe, but when I was a student, I was, I was more able and capable mentally than I was athletically. I know, it’s a big shocker, but I remember, I was not a superstar athlete, also a shocker. But I was, I would run cross-country, and I loved running, still love running, and my kids love running whether they like it or not, and I would be running in cross-country meets and at some point after a mile and a half, and there’s great pain and I’m not anywhere near to the front, and I would often have this thought, “I should be taking a test. I’m much better sitting at a desk taking a test. That’s what I’m good at. But I’m doing this. But this is good for me, this pain, this 5k.” But I figured I was better at mental tests than athletic tests.
Taking a test is part of life. It can be difficult, painful, but they’re also an opportunity to show yourself, to prove yourself, to demonstrate integrity, maturity, capability.
We don’t perhaps like to think of it this way, but God gives His people tests. He doesn’t do it because He’s mean. He doesn’t do it trip us up. But He does it to give us an opportunity to prove ourselves, to show what we’re really like.
Have you noticed these tests before? Exodus 15:25: “He cried to the Lord, the Lord showed him a log. He threw it into the water, the water became sweet, then the Lord made for him a statute and a rule, and there He tested them.” It goes on to say, “If you do what I command, I will not give you the disease I gave to Egypt, but here’s a test.”
Exodus 16:4: “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven, the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.” Can they follow instructions?
Deuteronomy 8:2: “You shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these 40 years in the wilderness that He might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.”
God gives us tests. Not to be a cruel teacher, but that we might demonstrate what is really in our hearts, for our good, for His glory, that it might become evident, that we would pass the test.
Are you prepared to pass the tests that God may put in your life?
This passage, this famous text about the sacrifice of Isaac, has all sorts of themes, and we could go down a lot of different ways and we could talk about atonement, we could talk about Christ, we could talk about any number of things, but right at the beginning we have the frame.
Verse 1: After these things, God tested Abraham.
God is not being cruel. He is giving Abraham the opportunity to prove what is in his heart, to prove that God is right, to prove that God is to be feared, to prove that God can be trusted. And so He gives to Abraham a test.
Are you prepared for God to give you a spiritual test? Maybe you’re in one right now. What can we learn about the testings in life from Abraham? We’ll look at a few things.
First, when you have a test from God, you may not know that you’re receiving a test from God.
God may be doing something. He may be testing you this morning and you don’t know it. Abraham didn’t know it. We’re told in verse 1, we’re given instruction that we may not panic as we read the story, what is God doing? We understand from the beginning. This is a test. He’s wanting to prove something. He wants Abraham to prove something. But Abraham did not know it.
This word must have come to him with the force of an electric shock. The juxtaposition of these two chapters is remarkable. Chapter 21, you see the heading, “The Birth of Isaac.” Chapter 22, “The Sacrifice of Isaac.” After all of those years, no sooner does the long-awaited, promised child arrive than that he almost leaves.
Abraham doesn’t know exactly what God is up to. It wouldn’t have been much of a test if God had told Abraham, that’s why we often don’t know. We can maybe perceive it, but if God had said, “Abraham, it’s not what it’s gonna look like, but I just need to prove something here.” Well, that’s an easy test. But Abraham didn’t know.
And you may not know when you are undergoing a test from the Lord.
Here’s a second thing: Sometimes the tests, the spiritual tests, are absolutely gut-wrenching.
Does it get any more gut-wrenching than this story? Any parent, it almost brings you to tears just to read it, even though you know how it’s going to end.
Look at verse 3. Abraham sat on his donkey, took two of his young men, he loads up wood for a burnt offering. Abraham has all the provisions. We know Abraham is a wealthy man. But nothing can make up for his son.
And you notice how God’s Word emphasizes this. Verse 2: “Take your son, your only son Isaac.” Now he has another son, Ishmael, but the only son of his wife, the only son from the promised line, your only son Isaac. And is if to underscore it again, “whom you love.”
And in verse 3, verse 6, verse 9, verse 10, we have a reference again and again, “his son,” verse 7 “my son.”
To make absolutely clear, yes, we’re talking about your flesh and blood, your only beloved son.
It’s one thing when Abraham had to wait for this son. Before he had to hope for the future. Now he’s being asked to give up the future. That’s what’s so painful when we lose a child.
They have to travel three days. Do you think in those three days there were thoughts in Abraham’s head, “turn back, turn back, God cannot be serious.” Do you think there were times when he at the very sight of his boy Isaac was reduced to tears? This isn’t just quick a minute, you can do it, okay, boom, it’s over with. Three days he’s got to travel. He’s got to think about this. Your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love. You don’t get a more gut-wrenching test than this.
And also notice, third, sometimes when you get a test from God it seems for all the world to be an unreasonable test.
Now let’s be very clear. This is a clear command from God. We don’t know how he, this voice came to him or a dream. It’s there, absolutely clear. We don’t want to move from this story and just deal with our own hunches or our impressions and load upon those the same force and the same weight, let alone that we would feel in a moment of almost psychosis that God was telling us to do something seemingly as evil as this.
So we’re dealing with a very special case here, where God is giving a clear, direct command to God [sic]. This isn’t an application, an inference, a gray area. He’s there, speaking to it. But surely the command must have seemed unreasonable, even wrong.
One commentator said God seemed to be Abraham’s worst enemy.
Have you ever felt that? You know, you know in your theology part of your brain, it’s not true, and yet have you felt that? I bet a lot of you have. It seems like right now what God’s putting me through, what God’s asking of me, God seems to be my worst enemy.
Surely it must have felt like that to Abraham. He’s being asked not only to sacrifice his son, but in that sacrifice to give of his own self, to sacrifice his own will, his own heart, his own wisdom, his own plans, his own future, his own way of making sense of the world.
You and I may be asked to do things in obedience to God that do not immediately make sense, that do not immediately feel good, that may not even in the moment seem right. Sometimes it’s great when we obey God and we step out and we know and we feel His pleasure and this is hard but it makes sense and I know how this is good for me, and then there are other times you read commands in the Bible and you think, “I don’t even know, how is this good for me? I was having this conversation. How is stepping out of this relationship, how is stepping forward in this faith, how is leaving this lucrative job that asked me to compromise financially, how is this good?”
But you know what the command of the Lord is, and even though it seems unreasonable, you step out in faith. That’s why it’s faith.
So the tests, you may not know it’s a test. It may be a gut-wrenching test. It may seem like an unreasonable test.
How do we then pass the test? Well, it’s very hard and it’s very straightforward, and we’ll sing it at the end: Trust and obey. Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey.
Think about both of those words. Trust.
Now it’s interesting. This text does not make much of Isaac. We’d be right to want to lionize Isaac, who’s an old enough boy to know what’s going on, to ask a question “Where’s the burnt offering? Why am I carrying this wood? Why have you bound me here on this altar?”
But the text doesn’t do that. And the New Testament doesn’t make an example of Isaac and his faith. Abraham, yes, we’ll come back to that. Later Jewish traditions Isaac becomes a central figure in the story. He’s said to have offered himself as a sacrifice for the righteous. In the Koran, it’s not Isaac but it’s Ishmael who’s praised.
But the New Testament doesn’t even come back to this really as a story about Isaac. And amazingly, the New Testament does not make Isaac to be a type of Christ, even though we could find a whole lot of parallels. It’s hard not to think of them.
My son, my beloved son, my only son. Isaac is the lamb. The mount of the Lord. The wood is placed on his back. Three days.
It’s hard not to make connection to Jesus. Raised on the third day, carrying His cross, up on the mountain, God’s only Son.
Some people have even tried to argue that the site of Mount Moriah was actually later the site of Calvary. The same mount.
And it’s proper that we would see a reflection of Christ in this story, and yet we have to be honest, the New Testament doesn’t do any of those things. According to the inspired New Testament writers, the binding of Isaac is not so much a story about substitutionary sacrifice, though we’re right to see that there, but it’s a story of faith and promise.
Here’s what we read in Hebrews chapter 11, verse 17: “By faith Abraham when he was tested,” so Hebrews, too, says this was a test, “offered up Isaac and he who had received the promises.”
Note that phrase, “he who had received the promises,” that’s who Abraham is, “Was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.”
So Hebrews looks back and says this story tells us something about faith. Faith has its reasons that sometimes reason does not understand. Abraham figured God would find a way.
Have you noticed before, back in Genesis 22, verse 5, “Abraham said to his young men, “Stay there with the donkey; I and the boy,” we, so Isaac and I, what are we going to do? We’ll go over there, we’ll worship and we’ll come again. We. I and the boy. We’ll come back.
How? Hebrews tells us Abraham figured some way, somehow, God’s going to bring my son back to life. He is the promised son, after all. The Lord gives, the Lord takes away, and it must be that the Lord will give back again, and so Abraham, with astounding faith, says, yes, carry the wood, I’ll carry the fire, we go to the mountain, we’ll come back. Both of you, Abraham? That’s right, both of us. We’ll come back. Abraham believed that God could raise Isaac from the dead, and in a way He did.
One commentator points out in a way twice. Once Isaac was resurrected from Sarah’s barren womb and another time resurrected from the altar on Moriah.
So this a story fundamentally about faith, about trust. Abraham didn’t know how all the dots were going to connect. I don’t know what this is going to look like. It wasn’t easy to have your son carry the wood and be ready to slaughter him. And Abraham believed somehow, some way, both of us are coming back. And God who gave life when there was no life can bring back life from the dead.
He passed the test because he trusted.
And he obeyed.
This story tells us something crucial about the nature of saving faith. Saving faith is to believe God’s Word even against what seems to be evidence to the contrary.
Now God doesn’t ask us to believe that circles are squares and squares are circles. But He does sometimes ask us to believe things that are beyond our reason and our comprehension, that we who would like to know the future have to trust the One who holds the future.
The nature of this saving faith was to say if God is asking me to do it, God has a way to bring my child back from the dead. And it showed itself in trusting and obeying.
That’s the point that James later makes. James is not in contradiction to Paul, who says we’re justified by faith alone, when James says we’re not justified by faith alone. They’re talking about two different things. James is saying the faith that truly justifies is going to show itself in works. If Abraham had received that word from the Lord and said, “All right, I believe you.” And God says, “You’re still standing there.” “No, I believe you, absolutely. You can bring Isaac back to the dead [sic].” God’d say, “Well, then go do it.”
You don’t really trust if you don’t obey. It’s one thing to say it, it’s another to live like you believe it.
We are into our second driving child, and they’re both very conscientious, you don’t have to be afraid if you see them. They are pay attention and they do, they do a good job, but no matter how much your child has learned, it is a bit of fear and trepidation as a parent to have to put in those hours when they have to log all of their time with their permit and then they can get their license. And if you as a parent try to encourage your child, and say, “No, honey, of course. You are a very good driver, a very good driver. Don’t worry. No, you’re a very good driver.” “Great. Could I drive with you?” “Hmm, that’s something, I think your dad is not busy right now.”
You can say all you want, “You’re a very good driver,” but it’s hard to believe you really believe that if you won’t get in the passenger’s seat with your very, very good driver. Trust and obey. You’ve got to get in the seat.
And how often do we sing the songs and say the prayers and God’s in control and I trust God with my life. Okay, then, get out of the driver’s seat. Do you trust Me? Sit in the passenger seat. And you know what? You don’t even have a steering wheel over there. You don’t even have a brake over there. You’ve got a mirror, and you yell at me, but I’m driving. Do you trust, do you obey?
And so Abraham passes the test. Look at verse 12: “Now I know.” Now I know. You’ve done it. You’ve passed the test. I can see that you, Abraham, you’ve not laid your hand on your son, you’ve lifted it up. You’ve seen, and now we can understand that God sees and believes in you.
Have you noticed that there’s this bookend to Abraham’s life? Have you noticed the parallel before? When did we first meet Abraham? Chapter 12. What does God say to him? “Abraham, Abraham, I want you to leave your home, I want you to leave your family, I want you to go to a different place, and I want you to do something that you don’t fully understand.” And he does it. He leaves Ur of the Chaldees, he leaves his family, he goes somewhere else.
Now, toward the end of Abraham’s life, as we’re bookending this life of faith with a lot of ups and downs, God says to him once again, just like He did in chapter 12, “I want you to leave what’s familiar, I want you to leave your family, I want you to go to a place that I will show you, and I’m going to ask you do something that you can’t quite fully understand.”
And in both cases, he obeys, and both cases end with blessing, with promise, and chapter 12, chapter 22, they both end with worship. They both end with an altar to the Lord.
A promise that seems unreasonable, Abraham believes, Abraham obeys, Abraham worships, Abraham receives blessing and promise.
And notice here, in verse 15 and following, that God is not just repeating Himself, you might say, “Well, we’ve heard this, we’ve been here, done that. Yeah, sand and seashore, stars, skies.” No, He’s redoubling His commitment. It’s a firm declaration. The Lord makes an oath, verse 16, by Himself.
Hebrews 6 will draw attention to this passage. When you make an oath, you swear by something or someone greater than yourself. We still have it. You put your hand on the Bible. Or even these colloquial sayings, “I swear on my mother’s grave,” whatever that means. You’re swearing on something precious, something beyond yourself.
You wouldn’t think to go before the judge, “Do you solemnly swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth?” “Yes, I swear by myself.” What?
But God has no one higher. Nothing greater. Nothing superior. He can’t swear by anyone but Himself. There is nothing higher to authenticate His promise than to swear by His own name. The unchanging character of His promise is tied to the unchanging character of His very person.
God does not ask us to have an irrational faith. You say, “Well, what a minute. You just said that it’s gut-wrenching and sometimes it doesn’t make sense.” Sometimes it doesn’t make sense, but that’s different than saying it’s utterly blind and irrational.
Why? Because God, when He asks us to do things that don’t make sense to us, nevertheless gives us promises. That’s what Hebrews 6 draws out. A sure anchor for our soul.
God doesn’t just say, “Go do it.” He says, “Go, and I’ll be with you. Do you trust Me? If you trust Me, you can obey Me.”
That’s how you pass the test. Trust and obey. The God of promise is there, not just to push you out in a blind exercise of faith, but to tell you and assure you of His promises.
I’m sure there are many of you, maybe you didn’t think about it until right now or 20 minutes ago, you are facing some kind of spiritual test. I’m not a prophet, not the son of a prophet. I do work for a non-profit, ha ha ha. But I don’t know, but in this many people, surely it’s the case that some of you are in situations like this. There’s someone who’s contemplating an affair. You’ve had those conversations at work, or on texting, and hoping that nobody sees. It’s felt sort of exciting and dangerous and a spark you haven’t felt for some time. You’re contemplating whether to take the next step, or whether to confess to your spouse and come clean and ask for forgiveness and deal with whatever the many issues are in your marriage. You’re at a point and there’s a test, and you know, you know, you know what the right thing is, but for all the world you’re trying to convince yourself, you’re trying to convince yourself, “Well, God would want me to be happy. God wouldn’t want me to feel this way. Think about what he does to me. Think about all the ways that she’s made my life difficult.” It’s a test.
Will you trust and obey?
Maybe you’re a single person and you want to much to be married. That’s a good desire. But you know that the person that you’re getting close to, you’re not on the same page spiritually. You’re miles apart. Or that person may not even be a believer and you know what the Bible says, “Do not be unequally yoked.” And yet you just think about how lonely you might be, and God wouldn’t want you to be lonely, and how happy you are, and surely… You know what the right thing. Will you trust and obey?
There’s someone in your life, and they’ve hurt you very, very deeply. You do not want to let go of that hurt, because if you let go of it, you feel like you’ve let them off the hook.
Or there’s someone who has asked for your forgiveness, and you feel like if you grant them that forgiveness, and you forego the justice you deserve, it’s like saying it wasn’t a big deal and you’re holding on to that bitterness.
Or you’re a 22-year-old and your parents think you’re in one place with the Lord, and they think you’re doing one thing, and you’re doing something very different, and you’re this close to just making what seems like an irrevocable break into a very different direction, “I don’t need this Christianity, I don’t need this Jesus, I don’t need this church, I don’t need these rules in my life.”
Maybe you’re really scared and no one knows that you’re pregnant, and you’re thinking about an abortion.
Maybe you’re dealing with confusion in your own sexuality and everything in the world says just wrap yourself in the rainbow flag, if it feels good, that’s who you are. Just do it. Who are these repressive people telling you to live according to some old book?
Maybe you have a job offer and you want to take it and it’s a lot of money, but you know it’s going to be bad for your family. You know that it’s going to take you away. You know you’re going to be in situations where you’ll have to compromise. Maybe somebody at work is asking you to do something right now, and you just can’t even see through it and you think, “If I don’t go along with this, I might get fired,” and you’ve convinced yourself, “I have to go along with it, I have to compromise my faith. I have to compromise a clear command of the Lord because, well, God would want me to provide for my family.” You don’t think God can bring your job back from the dead?
What sort of test are you facing? There’s all sorts of examples of people in the Bible. Sometimes they pass the test, sometimes they don’t.
Joseph, Potiphar’s wife, right there. Okay. “She came on to me, Lord. She’s there. She’s got the, she’s threatening me. I kinda have to.” Well, he didn’t.
Esther. “You know, am I really supposed to risk my neck? You know, what good is it going to do if I come to the king with this plan and I try to save my fellow people, the Jews. I might lose my life and then I can’t really be of any good. No, I probably shouldn’t do this.” Well, she passed the test. If I die, I die.
Daniel. How many times did he have to face the test, to eat the king’s food or bow down before the king’s statue, or cease to pray to the one true God? And he trusted. I’ll be in the lion’s den.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abdnego. In Daniel, not Daniel, but in the fiery furnace. I’ll do it. God’ll find a way. And then if He doesn’t, I’ll serve Him anyway.
And you have the people that didn’t. And if you know the stories, you hear the stories, and as many times as you hear Samson’s story, don’t you want to say, “Just don’t cut your hair! Don’t trust Delilah, you can’t.”
How many times you hear the David story. David, don’t look out, don’t, just put it away. You saw Bathsheba, just stop. Don’t go after her.
This story in Genesis tells us something not only about the nature of faith, to trust and obey, it tells us about the God of promise, because here’s where we’re going to end. We need to be careful we don’t make this whole story about Abraham’s faith. It is about that. But the only reason it can be about Abraham’s faith is because it’s about God’s inviolable promise.
That’s why you can trust and obey, because you have a God who makes amazing promises to you: Never to leave you, to forsake you, to turn all things to good for those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose, to never, you will never, ultimately, be worse off for having done the right thing. Your life may be difficult. God can bless you.
You know, I said earlier that this story is in the Koran. The Koran has the sacrifice, the binding of Ishmael, not of Isaac. There’s also another important difference in the Koran’s telling. Here’s a few verses from Surah 37 of the Koran. It says “then when he was old enough to accompany him, he said,” and it’s talking to Ishmael, “oh, my son, I see in a dream that I am sacrificing you. See what you think. He said, ‘Oh, my father, do as you are commanded. You will find me, God willing, one of the steadfast.’ Then when they had submitted and put his forehead down, we called out to him, ‘Oh, Abraham, you have fulfilled the vision, thus we reward the doers of good.'”
Sounds like the story, minus it’s Ishmael and not Isaac. And yet did you notice the emphasis there, “You will find me one of the steadfast,” then “when they had submitted,” it is sheer submission to the will of Allah.
And of course we believe in submitting our wills to God, but this story in Genesis we mistake it if we think it is about sheer submission to the will of God, “There it is and I just do it.” What’s absent from the Koran’s telling of the story is the God of spectacular promise.
In Hebrews 11, Abraham is called, remember I told you to note it, he who had received the promises. You go by a lot of names; you’re Christians, you’re whatever. There’s another name for you: You are those who have received the promises. That is fundamental to your identity. We are people who have received promises.
And so note what Abraham calls this place where the Lord gave the ram. He does not call the place “Abraham obeyed.” He does not call the place “Abraham’s submitted.” He calls it “Jehovah’s Jireh,” “The Lord will provide.”
And how can we not connect at least this one line all the way to Romans 8:32: “If He who did not spare His own son, gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?”
Indeed. How could He not? The God who gave up His only Son.
Do you promise? He does. Do you believe? We must. That He will graciously give us all things. You and will be tested. Some of you are facing the test right now. But there are promises, inviolable promises, so that you and I can trust and obey.
Let’s pray. Father in heaven, thank you for Your Word, for the example of Abraham, the man of faith, and even more for the promises that enable us to be men and women and children of faith. Send Your Spirit, particularly upon any listening to this message who are in that moment of great testing, and they’re wavering and they’re wandering. Bring them back. Reaffirm to them Your many great and precious promises. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.