Faith that has…

Wherever the Lord guides, God will provide. I don’t know where you are on your journey through life and faith but, you need to know that the Everlasting God is the one who will provide for everything that He has planned and purposed for your life. Matthew 6:33~But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (NIV) When life seems Strange: and it doesn’t make sense, we must Go where the Lord guides, Trust the Lord to provide, and learn how to Reside in His promises like Abe. As you stand with me, Saints, I want you to know that God rewards faithfulness. What do you need to place on the altar today? Come give to the Lord.

Reside in God’s promises like Abe. God rewards us in several ways when we live faithful unto Him. First, Abe gets a fresh word from the Lord. Where God tells Abraham He will multiply his descendants. Genesis 22:17~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 (ESV). This promise would later be fulfilled during Israel’s conquest of Canaan. In Joshua’s farewell address just before he dies, he says to the Israelites in Joshua 23:14~Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. (NIV) 

Abe is also rewarded by news from the East about his family from whom he has not heard from in more than a quarter century. Learning that his brother Nahor has many children Genesis 22:20-24~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.

At this point, Abe is experiencing the truth of Psalm 37:4~Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (NIV) Saints when we learn to live and walk by faith we are learning to live in God’s provisions, to trust the that the Lord sees and knows all and He has a purpose-filled plan for our lives and those who are near us. That’s right God sees the lives of seven-plus billion people and is working all things out for our good and His glory. When life seems to be getting Strange: and it doesn’t seem to make sense, do these three things: Go where the Lord guides, Trust the Lord to provide, and Reside in the promises of God.

Trust God

Trust the Lord to provide (Genesis 22:9-14). After building the altar, binding Isaac to it, Abe stands over Isaac at the craggy cliff of decision clutching his knife poised at the height of extension ready. It must have felt as though there was no assuaging this moment any longer. When a little ditty began to build. In response to the music, Abe’s heart would have cried out, do you hear what I hear, looking up another verse would no doubt have rolled off his tongue, Ringing through the sky, do you see what I see? As the angel of the LORD then calls out to him by name saying in Genesis 22:11-12~…Abraham, Abraham! And he said, Here I am. He said, Do not lay your hand on the boy …(ESV) From God’s perspective, Abe’s already offered Isaac, because He sees our heart.  1 Samuel 16:7~But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (NIV). 

When the Lord looks at your heart, what does He see? For God saw all He needed in Abe’s and so He intervenes. When Father Abe gets caught in this moment he witnesses God’s provision. Genesis 22:13~ 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. (ESV) In this experience, Abe sees something no person would ever see or understand until the life of JC. Jesus says about Abraham in John 8:56 ~Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad. (NIV) 

When Abe is about to sacrifice Isaac on Mt Moriah, he is witnessing a Father offering His only begotten son in place of you and me. Abe is a believer that the eternal Everlasting God is able to raise the dead some 2,500 years before He raises His only son Jesus Christ the Messiah, who is the ultimate sacrifice for sin, from the dead. That’s why Jesus says Abraham saw His day and was glad. Are you glad that today is a celebration of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? 

I love how the gravity of the moment doesn’t escape Abe’s grasp, for at this moment Abe calls the name of this place: Jehovah Jireh. Genesis 22:14~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. (ESV) It was on the mount where they built the Temple to sacrifice to God all they had in hopes that one day at the appointed time God would send us a once for all sacrifice. The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world to shed His blood for me. (Revelation 13:8) That I wouldn’t have to have my life consumed with sin, but that I could in an intelligent act of worship climb on the altar of scarce and say here am I. Take my life and use it for your glory. This is at the heart of the prayer of salvation. Use me for your purpose of Great God. 

When Abe says Jehovah Jireh he is using a transliteration of the Hebrew name for God, it’s in the future tense, revealing Abe is not merely thinking of his own experience, but that the Lord will provide for the needs of all His people. Again we hear the promise given in Genesis 22:18~and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed as because you have obeyed my voice. (ESV) It is Jesus Christ who fulfilled the Law (Matthew 5:17), it is Jesus Christ who carried all our sins away (1 Peter 2:24), It is Jesus Christ who removed our separation from God (Matthew 27:51). Sin could not bind Him, the grave could not hold Him, John 1:4~In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. (NIV) Jesus Christ is our hope, our future, and our reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:8~All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation (NIV) Jesus is the greatest provision that God, Jehovah Jireh has ever provided to or for us. 1 John 2:2~And he is the propitiation (atoning sacrifice) for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. Like Abe, we will be required to offer up our everything, making a clear commitment that God is our number one in life. 

Here we go

Abe travels from Beersheba about 60 miles North to Mount Moriah. He is determined to be obedient, despite the fact this seems to be the end of God’s purpose for his life. Ever felt like you have come to the end of your road, where the test is so difficult, the ask has you stretched to the breaking point? Their tone proceeds them, speaking in a genteel southern draw you heard “bless your heart” even though they said ‘how are you?” Genesis 22:5 Then Abraham said to his young men, Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship (שָׁחָה shachah) and come again to you.” (ESV)

Yes, Abe still holds the faith. In our grand chapter of firsts, we encounter still another one, worship. (שָׁחָה shachah) Worship always involves sacrifice. Abe’s sacrifice of Isaac is the greatest act of worship in the Bible. He has no examples, no foreknowledge only his faith. If we truly worship, we’ll place our most valued possession, our everything—on the altar of sacrifice, unto God. Romans 12:1~With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. (JBP) Intelligent worship is an act of divine service. Everyone on stage in worship is a leader pointing to God, beckoning us to worship. 

Genesis 22:6~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. (ESV) Worship is not to be entered into lightly for it is holy business. Even Isaac has taken part in the build-up of worship, for he has born the weight of the altar upon his back. This is truly a prophetic image of John 19:17~Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). (NIV)

The sacrifice is imminent, the climb lay afoot, and the real question of this moment comes as Isaac innocently asks: Genesis 22:7~…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? (ESV). Without the slightest whiff of bitterness or doubt, Abe responds deftly. Genesis 22:8~God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son. So they went both of them together. (ESV) Such a great demonstration of faith. Abe knows God’s promise is wrapped up in Isaac. He cannot possibly reconcile all this in his mind, but he obeys anyway. Abe obeys even when God doesn’t seem to make any sense. Step by step, Abe’s walking in his faith, living out 2 Corinthians 5:7~For we live by believing and not by seeing. (NLT) We all ask, How can Abe be willing to sacrifice his only son that he loves, Isaac? Hebrews 11:19~Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death. (NIV) When life seems Strange: and it doesn’t make sense: Go, go where the Lord guides and, Trust.