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The Faith of Abraham and Isaac

We wrap up our sermon series on the life of Abraham this week as we look at God testing Abraham’s faith in Genesis 22. God has already delivered on His promise to give Abraham a son in Genesis 20, and 25 years of waiting have come to an end for Abraham and Sarah. Then, God asks the impossible of Abraham. He asks him to sacrifice his promised son. If this was Abram of the past, he might have tried to scheme his way out of this request. The one thing God has assuring Abraham of for decades was that he would provide a son, and now He’s asking for Abraham to sacrifice him?

 The Faith of Abraham

We see how Abraham has transformed spiritually. He trusts in God’s promise and character and knows that God will provide a way, if he is obedient. He trusts that in God, all things are possible, even resurrection. Even if God allows Abraham to kill his son, he believes that God will bring him back to life. He responds in faith, and God lives up to His Name. Can we see the parallels to the Gospel? God the Father sacrificed His only Son, the Son He’d promised to redeem His people. God sacrificed His Son, and restored Him back to life! He upholds His promises, even when they seem impossible to us.

 The Faith of Isaac

Abraham’s faith is what we remember from this story, but what about Isaac? We don’t know the exact ages of Abraham and Isaac in this passage, but most agree Isaac is at least 18. That means Abraham is at least 118. Isaac has got to know something is going on when he realizes they’re not bringing a lamb for the offering. When Abraham starts to bind him up to put on the altar, I’m sure he puts two and two together. Growing up, my dad and I would goof around and wrestle, and as a boy he’d beat me easily. As I grew into my teenage years, I surpassed my dad in height, and by time I graduated from high school, the scales had tipped in my favor. Abraham was well past the prime of his youth, and Isaac could’ve easily overpowered his dad. But there sure seems to be faith on his part as well. He believes his father when Abraham assures him that God will provide a sacrifice. Can we see the picture of Jesus here? Our Savior willingly laid down His life for us, no one forced Him. He could’ve easily overpowered those who nailed him to the cross, but He knew God was providing the sacrifice for us. And as God could’ve done with Isaac, God brings His Son back to life!

 This is the God we serve. When we experience trials, when God tests our faith, we can respond as Abraham did. We can have faith knowing that God is true to His character and promises. Even when a situation is impossible, we can be obedient because we serve a God to whom nothing is impossible. And because of His Son, we know that our suffering on earth is fleeting; an eternity of joy and peace with our Savior awaits!

Posted by Josh Hazel with

God Remembered Abraham

The end of Genesis 18 shows God conversing with himself about what to do about Sodom and Gomorrah’s wickedness. In these verses, part of God’s character is revealed. We can see that he is Abraham’s protector and intends to keep his promise to Abraham of making him a great nation.  God also exposes his plan to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their sins. This shows us how serious God is about sin, which is exhibited multiple times throughout Scripture, as it is written in Leviticus “Be holy because I am holy.”  Reading through Genesis 18:20-21 we know God’s plan, and we witness Abraham praying and asking God to save Sodom rather than destroy it if he finds at least ten righteous people in the city. As Abraham intercedes for them, he is appealing to God’s characteristics of mercy and righteousness. Verses 22-33 expose Abraham’s prayer of petition, but notice how he is not counseling God. He is humbly yet boldly approaching God and asking for lives to be spared.

Abraham’s prayer is consistent with God’s will. God doesn’t want to destroy those whom he’s created, but he also is determined to remove sin from the world. Like Abraham, we can also pray God’s will. It is a good and right thing to seek God’s provision through prayers of petition, but we must make sure we are asking for God’s will to be done. As Jesus taught us, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.”

God’s promise to be faithful to Abraham and guide his path of righteousness is true for us today. Abraham is called our Father of Faith because he believed and trusted God’s promises. He demonstrated how to pray, which requires us to know God on an individual and intimate level, which will allow us to understand his character and his will. Abraham uncovers how to intercede and ask for God’s will to be done. Jesus also validated this when he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. In his gospel, Matthew records Jesus being sorrowful to the point of death, but he persisted in prayer. I imagine Abraham felt sorrow for those in Sodom and Gomorrah because some of the residents there were the men, women, and children whom he had journeyed with out of their homeland and through Egypt. In prayer, Abraham asked that if ten righteous men were found, God would spare the city, but not even ten were among them. Therefore, the city had to be demolished. However, “God remembered Abraham” and rescued his nephew, Lot, from destruction. Again, God demonstrated his faithfulness to Abraham by sparing his loved ones. God also wants to spare the ones we love, but how can he save them if we do not share the love and truth of Jesus with them?

Through studying scripture, God reveals his character to us. Through spending time in the Word and prayer, we build a relationship with God. Although these events in Scripture took place centuries ago, it’s applicable to us today. It may be uncomfortable to read and challenging to comprehend the abundance of wickedness displayed by those living in Sodom and Gomorrah, but our culture is not much different. God still calls us to walk in righteousness, and he still plans to wipe out sin. We can look to Abraham and Jesus for guidance on how to presently respond through prayer. Both men sought God’s will, and God’s will was done.

 

Posted by Laura Rogers with

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