The Test of Abraham

We sometimes come into our relationship with God after our salvation with the view that life is going to be perfect. However, at some point God is going to call us to sacfrice the promise. 

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. 2 I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.” 3 At this, Abram fell face down on the ground. Then God said to him, 4 “This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations! 5 What’s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations. 6 I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them! 7 “I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 8 And I will give the entire land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants. It will be their possession forever, and I will be their God.”

Genesis 17:1-8 NLT

We see here the moment Abram came to a place with El-Shaddai. The God who is sufficient. He is a God who pours out blessings, who gives them richly, abundantly, and continually. We must be reminded that the promise delayed is not the promise denied. Abrams story is testament to this. 

9 Then God said to Abraham, “Your responsibility is to obey the terms of the covenant. You and all your descendants have this continual responsibility. 10 This is the covenant that you and your descendants must keep: Each male among you must be circumcised. 11 You must cut off the flesh of your foreskin as a sign of the covenant between me and you.

Genesis 17:19-21 NLT

Verse 9 – We share the mutual of a covenant/promise. 

Verse 10 & 11 – The circumcision was a sign that Abraham was to not put his trust in the flesh, but rather in God. God calls us to a heart of circumcision. We need to be so reflective that we should be able to cut away things that do not produce fruit. 

19 But God replied, “No—Sarah, your wife, will give birth to a son for you. You will name him Isaac,[a] and I will confirm my covenant with him and his descendants as an everlasting covenant. 20 As for Ishmael, I will bless him also, just as you have asked. I will make him extremely fruitful and multiply his descendants. He will become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But my covenant will be confirmed with Isaac, who will be born to you and Sarah about this time next year.”

Genesis 17:19-21 NLT

The Lord kept his word and did for Sarah exactly what he had promised. 2 She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would. 3 And Abraham named their son Isaac. 4 Eight days after Isaac was born, Abraham circumcised him as God had commanded.

Genesis 21:1-4 NLT

The promise was not fulfilled because of Abraham’s perfect obedience but because of God’s faithfulness to His word.

Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. “Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.” 2 “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.”

Genesis 22:1-2 NLT

Verse 1: This was not so much a test to produce faith, as it was a test to reveal faith. God built Abraham slowly, piece by piece, year by year, into a man of faith. This test would reveal some of the faith God had built into Abraham. Also, Abraham’s quick answer to the call is a wonderful example of how the man or woman of faith should respond to God.

Verse 2: This test was difficult in yet another aspect, because it seemed to contradict the previous promise of God. God had already promised in Isaac your seed shall be called. It seemed strange and contradictory to kill the son who was promised to carry on the covenant when it had not yet been fulfilled in him. It seemed as if God commanded Abraham to kill the very promise God made to him. Abraham had to learn the difference between trusting the promise and trusting the Promiser. We can put God’s promise before God Himself and feel it is our responsibility to bring the promise to pass, even if we have to disobey God to do it. Trust the Promiser no matter what, and the promise will be taken care of.

3 The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 “Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.” 6 So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together, 7 Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” 8 “God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together.

Genesis 22:3-8 NLT

Abraham’s obedience showed that he trusted God even when he didn’t understand. Abraham knew anything was possible, but it was impossible that God would break His promise. He knew God was not a liar. To this point in Biblical history, Abraham had no precedent for this faith, apart from God’s promise. Yet Abraham knew God was able. God could do it.

9 When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. 10 And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. 11 At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!” 12 “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” 13 Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. 14 Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

Genesis 22: 9-14 NLT

Most of knowing the will of God consists in the willingness to do it before it is known. God didn’t call off the sacrifice but rather He provides the sacrifice himself. 

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