So, I was watching footage of my old pastor today and he was talking about Abraham. Namely how God had to cripple him and he learned to rely on him and walk in faith. This also got me thinking about Abraham and Issac. We all remember the story…
Genesis 22:1-17 (NASB)
The Offering of Isaac
1 Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. 5 Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.” 6 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 the two of them walked on together. 7 Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together. 9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” 13 Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. 14 Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the LORD it will be provided.” 15 Then the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven, 16 and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatlymultiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.
God tends to strike at what we hold to be the most important, not out of spite, but out of the fact that he comes first. Are you willing to put everything and everyone before Him? There’s no room for anything above Him. He will put that to the test, of that I am sure. God had broken Abraham completely now, and Abraham was better for it. His son was the most important thing in the world to him. Did you catch that? “Your only son whom you love… God knew it, and Abraham was tested. He passed.
We have to admire Abraham, the man and his faith. If you noticed, it says that Abraham tells his people, “We’ll go worship and we’ll be back.” That is faith. Oh how I wish I had that level of faith. Abraham didn’t know how, but he knew that God would not let his son die. Even if he had to raise him from the dead. Why? Because Issac was that child of promise. God had made promises via Issac, and if he died then God’s word would have been false. Look at the promises that Abraham reaped for his people by having faith in God.
But can you imagine? Put yourself in his place, because Abraham was human. Think of having to put your own son or daughter on that offering stone, looking down on them. Think of raising that knife to them. God took it down to the wire. There was nothing left for Abraham to hold onto. Everything he had was God’s, and God provided a way out. When all hope is lost and you have nothing to do but cry out to God, verbally or in your heart, that is when God comes into the picture. He’ll provide that way out, but on His terms and in ways that we haven’t even contemplated. He knows what’s best. Harsh? That’s not for me to judge. God knows are hearts and what it will take to get your attention and where He wants you.
In this life we will have tribulation.
That is a promise in the New Testament.
John 16:33 (NASB)
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
Jesus just tells them before this verse… I’m leaving, but you are going out into the world, and you are going to get scattered to the four winds. But have peace.
WOW! Put flesh and blood on this. These were men, people just like you and me. How would you react? Saints aren’t born saints, they are forged from trials and tribulations. The New Testament says to rejoice in tribulations. So, Pick your poison. These things which Jesus was telling them were coming, and coming soon. He was telling them in order that they would have peace, quietnes, rest, set at one again. In the hebrew shalom. It’s the same meaning friend. So Jesus says, have peace. Because you are going to have tribulation. It’s a fact saints. WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TRIBULATION.
Tribulation defined: The word is thlipsis in the greek. From thlibo, meaning pressure. Can mean afflicted, affliction, anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble.
You are going to have more tribulation than you can imagine when you are doing the will of the Father. Satan is not going to mess with you one little bit until you are causing him frustration in his machinations. Not just a little, but a great deal. If you don’t have tribulation, then you may want to examine your faith walk. Now, we all are high minded, and think that we are doing great things. We now know that these men were getting ready to set the world on fire. The disciples didn’t have a clue what was coming, no Bibles, no prophecies, only what the Lord told them. Looking back, we have the history. They all, save one, died a martyr’s death. I am in no ways holding myself with my deeds to theirs. But bottom line is that if you are a blip on Satan’s radar, watch out.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers. If you don’t believe in Satan and demonic powers coming into play in your Christian walk, then you better re-read the Bible and take another look at your religion. Christ encountered them everywhere he went. He was tempted in the dessert by Satan himself. We are at war and will be at war until God calls us home or Christ returns.
But it isn’t all doom and gloom, because Christ says… “I have overcome all of this, be of good cheer.” What does that mean? I’m getting hammered down here God. I lost my house, my car, my marriage, my church, my kids … and I am supposed to be cheerful? No, you need to “be of good courage.”
Cheer: Comes from the greek word meaning “courage” – thara. The word is tharrheo, to have courage.
Courage doesn’t mean we aren’t afraid. You can be shaking in your boots, but still charge the hill. Courage means you put your faith in God, and He’ll see you through the battle. Isn’t that what our Bible says?
1 John 4:4 (NASB)
You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
Stop the presses, we win, end of story! Grab hold of something here and campout on it. I totally get what my old pastor meant by preaching to himself. Every Sunday he said this, and it becomes more and more real to me every time I think of it. It’s just like eating to stay alive. It is impossible to please God without keeping in the Word. Man cannot live by bread alone. You can survive and exist, but what a poor existence it is. That is not living. To truly live you have to dine with the master. And even my pastor, Dr. Scott admitted, it is hard to maintain that strong of a connection all of the time, because we have to contend with our flesh. You will get knocked around and sometimes down. But, you have to get back up and face the goal line for another play, another down, another attempt at that goal, and if we fail not, then we will score. Paul finished his race.
Parting shot: Don’t you dare forget in the dark, what you’ve learned in the light. Get up and keep fighting. God will not leave us, nor forsake us and He has already defeated our enemies, even if they don’t know it yet.
Grace and Peace to everyone.