THE FAITH OF ABRAHAM
Genesis 22: 8, “And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.”
The Bible usually portraits Abraham as a man of faith, and more than that he was always referred to from Old Testament to New Testament as example of faith and father of faith because of His faith and obedience to God.
The greatest test of faith Abraham encountered in his life was the order from God to offer his only son Isaac as burnt offering.
The Genesis 22:1-3, “Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now 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 and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.”
Abraham obeyed the divine order and embarked on the journey to the designated place for the sacrifice, with Isaac and his servants. Though Isaac was a lad, but he had knowledge about the ingredients for burnt offering, since it was the usual activity of his father. He knew it took three items for burnt offering sacrifice: the lamb, wood and fire; but that very day he could only see fire and wood. So he curiously asked his father Abraham in Gen: 22: 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
That was a straight forward question from Isaac to Abraham, and without confusion or worry, Abraham responded to the question with confidence and faith in God, “And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.” The statement of Abraham was not a diplomatic or cryptic statement; it was a clear statement of faith in God without iota of doubt or confusion. He declared God would provide for Himself; how certain! This is a confession of faith from a patriot of faith.
Abraham believed God could do all things that God could bring something from nothing, so he wasn’t disturbed. Because he believed God could make miraculous provision for the burnt offering, so he told his son that God would provide. Here is the heart of the matter: Abraham believed, through his response to Isaac, that God was able to make miraculous provision of the lamb but he also trusted God to lay down his only beloved son Isaac for the sacrifice, even if God choose not to provide the lamb. That is the faith of Abraham: Believing and trusting.
When father Abraham got to the place of sacrifice, there was no any sign of divine provision of lamb for sacrifice; he built the altar for the sacrifice, no provision from God for lamb for sacrifice and he arrange the altar with wood, through all these processes no miraculous provision of animal. He did not fold his hands and seat down waiting for God to provide the lamb as he had declared to his son, but he went ahead and laid down Isaac for the burnt offering. Though he believed and confessed God could do all things but he also trusted God to lay down his Isaac. Hebrew 11: 17-19 says, By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” 19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.”
So, why did Abraham laid his son on the altar for to sacrifice, after he had confessed God would provide? Abraham believed God was able to provide, but he also trusted God to give, offer his Isaac even if God chose not to provide. This action of Abraham became typical example of faith, and it was referred to several times in the Bible.
So what is faith of the Bible?
Faith is believing and trusting, believing God is able to provide, deliver, heal, do something, do all things and also moving on to trust He Him even when chooses not to intervene in the situation.
The fact that you believe God doesn’t mean you will not make some sacrifices; the fact that you are a believer doesn’t indicate God would not permit you to go through hard and difficult time, and because you believe God is able, all-powerful and all-mighty doesn’t implies you will not pass through moments of trials and afflictions. What really shows your faith, and belief in God is your trusting Him and being calm in difficult situation and affliction, when God does not respond as early or through the means you expect. When things turn upside down, when trials and situations emerge, and you don’t abandon the altar and run away from God, but keep the fire burning on the altar of your commitment and godliness; that is the faith of Abraham.
Faith is not a bed of roses, it’s not always “claim and cash” as the modern preachers speciously teach. Faith is fight, it is a good fight of faith. Jesus never taught faith as a means of catching money, prosperity and easy life, He never described the journey of faith as trend of luxury and platter of gold. Faith is believing in the power, provision and prosperity of God and also trusting Him to the end even if things doesn’t work as desired. Faith in God without trust in God is fake just as faith without work is dead. You believe and you trust, that is the faith of Abraham, the real practical faith of the patriots of faith.
Faith is a like coin of two sides, believing God for something and trusting God even if He does nothing. The Book of Hebrews 11:1 defined faith as such, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” You are hoping something from God and having evidence, confidence in Him still, even if He does not do it. Faith is not just believing or hoping for something from God alone, but it is also being confident in Him even if He does not do it. That is the faith of Abraham.
Abraham’s faith is an illustration of the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, of believing and trusting. Jesus believed God more than anyone could and He also trusted God to lay down His life on God’s will, because He trusted Him to raise Him up from the dead. Gethsemane was a battleground of faith for Jesus Christ on the way to the death of cross at Calvary. Jesus made a statement of perfect and real faith in Mark 14:36, “He said; ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Take this cup away from me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will”
Believing and trusting was the faith of Abraham and more than that, the faith of Our Lord Jesus Christ! Jesus confessed all things were possible for God, that is faith in God, believing the all-powerful and all-mighty God without any doubt, but it didn’t end there; He said, “not what I will but what you will’ that is trusting God even in the very troubled time, and submitting unto His will.
Jesus believed His Father was able to do all things and He also submitted and trusted Him to do the best; that is faith, which is the best, the will of God is the best. When we trust God and submit to His will even in difficult time, it shows we have the real faith of Abraham, and more importantly, the faith of Jesus Christ. Faith is not solely believing God for something, but it is also trusting Him even when the situation gets worst. Anybody can believe God but it takes real faith to trust and stay with God in trouble and affliction. Everybody can claim to have faith in God, but it takes a difficult and hard time to prove a genuine faith. Faith is total belief in God’s power and total surrender to God’s will.
Do you have the real faith? The faith that anchors in the word of God, the faith that stands in the flame of fire of trial? Do you have the faith like Abraham that stood strong at mount Moriah when he was asked to offer his only beloved son? Do you have the perfect faith of Jesus at mount of Olive in Gethsemane when He was to offer Himself as sin offering for the whole world? God didn’t allow Abraham to offer Isaac as sacrifice, but He allowed Jesus Christ to offer Himself as a sacrifice for our sins on the cross.
If you will like to totally surrender or rededicate your life to Jesus Christ, please click on this link, read and pray as directed http://www.facebook.com/notes/revelation-of-truth-evangelical-ministries-rtem/how-to-be-saved-and-start-a-new-life-in-Jesus/270674586372252
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Gideon Akande (Evangelist)