ABRAHAM WILL FACE A TEST OF HIS FAITH.

 

And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.  And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.  And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bow shot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.  And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.  Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.  Genesis 21:14-18

 

Sarah had tempted Abraham to have a child by the Egyptian woman, and then she rejected this child when her own son was born.  She wanted no challenger to steal the inheritance from Isaac.  God assured Abraham that his other son would not be abandoned.  His children became the nations of the Arabs to this day.  They will be kept until Jesus returns too.

 

PEACE WITH ABIMELECH THE PHILISTINE…FOR A SEASON

 

We read in modern history how the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain mad a treaty for “Peace in our time” with Adolph Hitler.  It failed of course, as did an earlier covenant from Abraham.  The king who desired Sarah got a peace offering:

 

And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest:  Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son’s son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned.  And Abraham said, I will swear.  And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech’s servants had violently taken away.  And Abimelech said, I wot not who hath done this thing; neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day.  And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant.  Genesis 21:22-27

 

These flattering words will be remembered and compared to the deeds to follow.  Abimelech and Isaac have some old bad habits, but seem to know when to back out of sin.  I skip ahead a few chapters for a preview of this event:

 

DEJA-VU-THREE…WITH ISAAC TOO (SINS OF FATHERS?)

 

And Isaac dwelt in Gerar:  And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.  And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife.  And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife; and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her.  And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us.  And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death. Genesis 26: 6-11

 

Does this sound familiar?  The sins of the father really do fall downhill to the kids!  Remember Abraham had the same problem with Abimelech and his wife Sarah.  Isaac relived the jealousy that nearly consumed his father.  This king was wise enough to back off though.  The Philistines live on today known as the Palestinians.  We still see struggles between these peoples.  There will be a reconciliation of all nations in time though.  Long before that would happen Isaac faced another kind of threat from his father.  He showed the same faith his father had in this though.

 

And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.  And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

Genesis 22:1-2

 

Abraham was asked to make a human sacrifice of his own son.  God was the authority in Abraham’s life, but this was a bloody thing to ask of an old man.  He had only one son, his only son, to offer.  But he was obedient to God, even to this great pain.  He trusted God by Faith.

 

And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.  Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.  And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.  And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.  And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?  And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.  Genesis 22:3-8

 

We who are under authority often question our leaders.  Isn’t it reassuring to know that they don’t tell us everything?  If prophets had revealed my last five years, I am sure I would have sought a different path.  I lost my home, my savings, and my wife in that time.  At least I was not scheduled for a human sacrifice!  Isaac was able to trust his father, and his God.

 

 

And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.  And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.  And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.  And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.  And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.  And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.  Genesis 22:9-14

 

Isaac did not resist, to the death, and Abraham did not rebel, unto his greatest sacrifice.  But as Abraham had said, God provided the sacrifice for him.  God provided a sacrifice for all of us, a great Ram we know as the Lamb of God.

 

ANOTHER DEJA-TOO…MUCH LATER

 

Sometimes it is a good thing to repeat the actions of our fathers.  Many years after the faith of Abraham God sent a man to serve in the same role as Isaac.  This time God sent his own son to be the lamb of sacrifice.  He demonstrated his faithfulness to us by giving the same he had asked of Abraham, his own son.

 

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.  This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.  And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.  And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.  And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.  And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.  John1:29-34

 

This Lamb of God is revealed to John by the voice of God himself.  God also points out that he baptizes with the Holy Spirit.  What does the Holy Spirit add to the already great gift of our salvation?  What can add to the redemption from sin?

 

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:  By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;  And patience, experience; and experience, hope:  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.  For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  Romans 5:1-6

 

Jesus justifies us, and strengthens us for tribulations.  We are never left shamed because we have evidence of God’s love in our heart.  That evidence is provided by the Holy Ghost.  The gift of the Holy Spirit is the cement that glues our faith to our understanding.  It is an important evidence of the truth and importance of Jesus.  The Holy Spirit is the source of our strength.  Jesus sacrificed himself for us while we were weak, so we could become strong by receiving this trainer of spiritual gifts.  These strengths make us bold to do spiritual warfare, to encourage others to accept their own redemption.  We all receive the blessing God has given to Abraham by faith in Jesus Christ.

 

And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:  That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;  And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.  Genesis 22:15-18

 

Here is the confirmation of that promise to you:

 

Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.  Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.  And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.  So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.   Galatians 3:6-9

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