Jubilee Weekly July 3, 2017

“Our Faith Tested”

If you have been around me any length of time, you will know that one of my favorite Old Testament names for God is “Jehovah Jireh”. It means, “God who provides.”

Sooner or later our faith will be tested in one way or another. It might be on your job or in your marriage. It might be in your parenting or in your health. Some tests are more severe than others. Some tests have a greater impact on us than others.

In this meditation, I want to focus on a man that we read about throughout the entire Bible. His name is Abraham and was he ever tested! Has God ever asked you to go to a certain mountain, build an altar and there, sacrifice your son? Well, that is what God asked of Abraham. You can read about the test in Genesis 11:1-14. One thing I want to point out is that this test came from God – not the devil.

One other thing I want you to know is that the word “test” means to prove, test or put to the test. God was testing the quality of Abraham’s faith. He may do the same for you and me.

God’s test for Abraham – Genesis 22:2, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Mariah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering, on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” That is a pretty clear command. What would you do if God asked you to make such a sacrifice?

1   Abraham obeyed God. We see his act of obedience but what must he have been experiencing in his heart? Abraham and Sarah had waited many years for the promised son and now God is asking them to offer him as a sacrifice.

The internal struggle must have been huge and yet Abraham obeyed God.

“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.” Genesis 22:3

Talk about deliberate obedience! Warren Wiersbe wrote, “Our faith is not really tested until God asks us to bear what seems unbearable, do what seems unreasonable and expect what seems impossible.”

2   Next, we see that Abraham trusted God. Genesis 22:4-10. He did not know how it would all turn out but he trusted the character of God. It was his son’s life on the line, still he trusted God.

A     Abraham confessed his faith in God. (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.’”

1) Notice he said, “We will go” and “We will come back to you.” Talk about trust.

2) He confessed to Isaac that God would provide. (vs. 8) – “Abraham answered, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ And the two of them went together.”

B     Abraham practiced his faith in God. His faith wasn’t just talk. Abraham lived a life of faith.

1) The patriarch went up to the mountain. (22:6-7)

2) Another evidence of his faith was, he built the alter. (9a)

3) Folks – that dad placed his son on the altar! (22:9b)

What we are reading about is REAL FAITH — not fake faith.

In Hebrews 11:17-19, we read —

“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, even though God had said to him, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’ Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.”

God had promised Abraham that his descendants, through Isaac, would be enormous. If Isaac was dead, that would not be possible, so he acted in faith on the promise of God.

As we follow this incredible account, I find myself asking, “WHAT DOES GOD WANT FROM US?” We find the answer to that question in Genesis 22:10-12.

  • Isaac is bound and on the altar.
  • His dad raised the knife that will end his son’s life.

And at that very moment, Abram —

  • Heard the voice of the angel of the LORD. “Abraham, Abraham!” His arm is stopped. The father had passed the test of his faith. What did God want? The same thing He wants from all of us …. TOTAL TRUST! TOTAL SURRENDER!

Listen to what Jesus said in Luke 9:23-25 —

“Then He said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and yet lose or forfeit his very self?’”

The LORD wants total surrender.

C     God Does Provide. Genesis 22:13-14

Abraham had gone to the mountain to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice.

He had no other sacrifice but in his heart, he knew God would provide.

God did provide a sacrifice. In verse 13, we read that Abraham saw a ram caught by its horns and he offered it in place of Isaac. His faith was vindicated. God did provide and the dad named that place “Jehovah-Jireh” … the LORD will provide.”

Lessons Abraham and we learn:

I     God will provide what we need.

  • Wherever He sends us.
  • Just when we need His provision.
  • He will provide for those who trust and obey Him.

II     God reveals His character through His provision.

  • He is a God who loves us.
  • He is a God who cares for us.
  • He is a God who wants us to grow.

The Apostle Paul learned he could trust God. Philippians 4:19, “And my God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

In the name of Jehovah-Jireh,

Pastor Leonard