God tests us to burn out the false and fleeting values  and reveal the true and eternal values to others and ourselves!

Genesis 22; James 1:2-5  

This great show of faith and obedience is so radical that it is generally disregarded as having any relevance or application to our lives. But our Lord Jesus calls us to radical obedience today if we are to be His disciple.   "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his [own] father and mother {in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God] and [likewise] his wife and children and brothers and sisters–[yes] and even his own life also–he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not persevere and carry his own cross and come after (follow, obey) Me cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14: 26-27 Amp.) Abraham is our example and shows us how to do this. (Heb. 13:7)

"Some time later God tested Abraham.  Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about." Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey." The stronger the test (that we pass) the greater our faith and the greater our influence for Christ. "The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you." So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith." (Gal. 3:8-9) Jesus says, "Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad." (John 8:56)

"Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey." Here we see immediate and unquestioning obedience. Abraham knew the voice of God (v. 18) and knew that His command (and for us His Word) must overrule every objection. (2 Cor. 10:5) (Matthew Henry notes the many objections Abraham may have had: "Lord, what profit is there in his blood?''  How would this consist with the promise? Was it not said that in Isaac shall thy seed be called? But what comes of that seed, if this pregnant bud be broken off so soon? How should he ever look Sarah in the face again? With what face can he return to her and his family with the blood of Isaac sprinkled on his garments and staining all his raiment? and it would be likely to alienate her affections for ever both from him and from his God. What would the Egyptians say, and the Canaanites and the Perizzites who dwelt then in the land? It would be an eternal reproach to Abraham, and to his altars.  These and many similar objections might have been made; but he was infallibly assured that it was indeed a command of God and not a delusion, and this was sufficient to answer them all. Note, God's commands must not be disputed, but obeyed; we must not consult with flesh and blood about them (Gal. 1:15, 16), but with a gracious obstinacy persist in our obedience to them." )

"On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 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." 6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife." Here we see "pictures" of Jesus and the cross as He too was raised on the third day and like Isaac He too carried the wood (the cross) as He went to His place of sacrifice. Later we see Isaac was bound (v. 9) as was Jesus. (Matt. 27:2)

"He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there." Abraham probably thought the servants would try to stop him so they went alone. But look at what he says: "We will worship and we will come back to you." Here we see a hint of what Abraham believed through the writer of Hebrews inspired by the Holy Spirit that shows what enabled Abraham to obey this incomprehensible command from God.  "By faith Abraham, when he was put to the test [while the testing of his faith was still in progress], had already brought Isaac for an offering; he who had gladly received and welcomed [God's] promises was ready to sacrifice his only son, 18Of whom it was said, Through Isaac shall your descendants be reckoned.19For he reasoned that God was able to raise [him] up even from among the dead. Indeed in the sense that Isaac was figuratively dead [potentially sacrificed], he did [actually] receive him back from the dead." (Heb. 11: 17-19 Amp.)

 "The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"  8 Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!"  "Here I am," he replied. 12 "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son." 13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son (substitutionary atonement).     14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." God did not require Abraham to sacrifice his son but God did sacrifice His one and only Son.

On that same mountain 2000 years later God did provide the sacrifice, "the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world." (John 1:29) "What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" (Rom. 8:31-32) "The one who fears God, that is the faithful worshiper, will obediently surrender to God whatever He asks trusting in God's provision and blessing. God does not ask worshipers to give up that which they do not treasure or no longer care for or need. At the heart of God's program is sacrifice and although that may seem the way of failure, in God's marvelous dealings it is the way of victory." (Allen Ross – Creation and Blessing) Surely the One who gave us His only Son will "along with Him, graciously give us all things."

The harder part of this test for Abraham was not obedience but keeping his faith in the promises of God. Once he worked this out in his mind (his spirit) he was enabled to obey this radical call from God. Like Abraham we will have to have faith in the ultimate goodness and blessings of God to sacrifice and forsake common sense, human affection, our dreams and ambitions and even what we believe to be God's call on our life to obey the Lord regardless of the temporal cost in this life. Eternity is more important than time. Eternal, everlasting blessings for sacrificial obedience to God are promised by God and will far outweigh any temporal sacrifice. Do you believe this?

 "By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. 25He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward."
(Heb. 11: 24-26)

God promises us His provision to do His will and eternal blessings for obedience to Him that far outweigh any temporal sacrifices. If we believe this we too will raise the knife and slay what keeps us from obedience to God.

                        Discussion Questions FOR APPLICATION OF GOD'S WORD

What did the Lord say to you through this message?

What was God's purpose for calling Abraham to this act of faith and obedience?
Heed James 1: 2-5

What do you believe Abraham was thinking when, "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."

What parallels do you see to the cross of Christ in these verses: vv. 4, 6, 8, 9, 13-14?

What does it mean to "fear God" and how does it differ from loving God as a motivation for obedience? Share what you have done (or refrained from doing) because your feared God.

What did Abraham have to give up, along with his son, to obey God? Has God called you to give up something you treasure dearly?

Scripture Memory verse: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."  (James 1:2-5)  

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