Title: Are you going to past the test?
Text: Gen 22:1-19
Introduction: We enter our story with God tempting or testing Abraham. But Abraham had problems even before we get alarmed by God testing him which is found in the prior clause, “after this things”. What are these things? Because of our pretext, in my opinion God should have giving Abraham an exemption for his exam. The man has just been through a traumatic and a problematic experience. He had just become a father again at 100 yrs old with birth of his son Isaac. And he just put his first child, Ishmael out the house! (which was his wife fault that he a him in the first place). So Abraham is probably on an emotionally rollercoaster. And now God is going to test him. My brothers and my sisters, if it is not one thing it is another. It seems like life’s troubles gang up on you at the same time. As child of God, it almost seems a little worst. It seems like something is always added to our plate to deal with. But it’s worse if God does it. This is exactly what is happening to Abraham. But we should not fret because where Abraham is now is not where is going to end up. Abraham back in chap 12, was given a promise for his life. God was going to make him a great nation and make his name great and bless those who blessed him! Abraham now has to keep it together until the promise comes to pass (that is somebody’s message). He has to hold on despite what is on his plate. Now God is testing him. My beloved, you got some stuff you are dealing with and now God has just given you something else to interrupt your already jacked up life. And because you’re a child of God you can’t understand why you got to be tested because you had a promise over your life. Why does test me? Simply, faith has to be tested. Like with anything else in life after the test there is always a reward or a promotion! But our problem we don’t want to take the test because we are not prepared. We are not ready when God calls us. But I believe Abraham was ready for the test because he had faith. God called him and Abraham answers, “I am here”. Abraham is ready and accounted for. Where are you when God calls you? How many of us are ready and account for when God calls us to take a faith test? It is easy to have faith and be faithful when things are going your way. But when you are going thru hell or where are you when the chips are down? Where are you when things are not going your way? Are you ready for the test?
I. God test the faithfulness of his servants v. 1-9
God instructs Abraham to take his son Isaac to the land of Moriah (Moriah means the place where Jehovah has chosen) and offer him up as a burnt offering (ascending to God while being consumed, to win God’s favor) that I tell you. In other words, go to a place and worship by offering up your promise. So Abraham rose up early saddled up his donkey with 2 of his servants with his son, Isaac and went to Moriah. Abraham followed God’s instructions! The text says on the third day, he lifted up his eye and saw the place. One thing about God testing, it may to take you some time to get ready. He traveled for three days before he even took the test. Everything you go thru before you take the test is preparation. Some of the stuff you are going thru, God has been preparing you. So when he gets to the place he tells his servant to stay here while me and my son go worship. And we will be back. Verse 5 tells me a couple of things. These are words of faith. Abraham knew something about his God. He knew something about his promise. If God gave you a promise He won’t take it back. My beloved when you are in a situation out of obedience to God that you don’t understand, measure to the character of God. And if it doesn’t match his character know that God got something else planned. Also, this tells me your worship is intimate. (personal time of worship). So Abraham took the wood and gave it to Isaac and took the fire and a knife and they went together to worship. But Isaac looks around and does see a lamb to sacrifice and asks his dad what up? Abraham in v. 8 tells his confused son, “God will provide for himself a burnt offering”. Abraham was not from Missouri! He knew God enough that despite what he was missing God was going to make it alright! My beloved, you to have to know that despite what is not there if you can hold on to His promises, God will make it alright! So they go about there business. In v. 9 they come to the place of their destination and Abraham builds an altar. Now look at Abrahams actions. He laid wood in order and bound up his son Isaac. He does nothing different from what God tells him to do. Unlike us, we would have found a million excuses or reasons not to do it because of the magnitude of what God was asking us to do. God you must be crazy if you want me to sacrifice my son! Or ok, God I will do just like you say. You will look for the right opportunity to try to get over and do something else thinking it is going to work. But you have to remember God is always watching! The bottom line is that some of us got this “get over spirit” but God want you to have a “get thru spirit” and endure with strict obedience. Regardless, if Isaac put up a fight or not, Abraham prepared him for sacrifice. He literally does what God commanded. God was more important than his promise! This leads us to our next point.
II. Faithful servants are willing to surrender their best v. 10
Abraham is about to sacrifice his son because God told him to. God was not only asking him to sacrifice is child for Him but also he was asking him to sacrifice his promise. Isaac was the son of the promise. God wanted Abraham to give up the best thing he had out of obedience. This was something that Abraham longed to have. His future depended on his child, Isaac. It would be easier if this was Ishmael but this is Isaac. Everyday we are asked to surrender our best. We do it in our jobs, in school and in our families. Most of time we are will to do it because they deserve it and the reward involved. But why is so challenging to surrender our best when it comes to God? We don’t give God our best offering, praise, prayer time…He is asking for it! He desires it! He requires! He deserves it! My beloved, God may not be asking you to sacrifice your child out of obedience but He is asking you to give up your best! Are you willing to give up your Isaac? Your Isaac may be any thing that you love and long desired. God is calling you to be obedient and sacrifice your best for him! But when you give it up…
III. Faithful servants will receive God’s provision vv. 11-14
Abraham was ready to give us his best for God. But as he raised his knife to slay his beloved son, heaven spoke! God does His best work at the last second. The angel of the Lord called out to him Abraham, Abraham, and he said here am I. The angel said lay not your hand on the lad. Don’t harm him! My beloved, it was not the fact that Abraham was going to kill his son that God stop him. It was that Abraham had so much faith and obedience that it produced his deliverance from his dilemma! As you follow thru on God, his promises will follow thru to you! When you are faithful you will receive your provision! Verse 12b says that for now I know that thou fearst God because you did not withhold him. God saw Abraham’s faithfulness to him. This tells that 1) Abraham past the test. 2) That God has to see our faithfulness toward Him before we get delivered. God will test you to show your faithfulness. Look what happens next. Abraham looks up and sees a ram caught in the thicket. This is the second look for Abraham. His first look he see the place where God has chosen for him. Now he sees what God has promise. My beloved, as a child of God always look up!! He then takes the ram and substitutes it for his Son. This is a foreshadow of Christ. God provided for Abraham. And Abraham called the place Jehovah-jireh, the Lord provides. In the original language it means that the Lord will see to it. There is a connection between your worship and your provision. Abraham was willing to worship by sacrificing his son to God and got what he needed! My beloved, your blessing is in your worship! When you worship God will see to it. God will see to it that your rent is paid etc.!! God will see to it! These leads to our last point…
IV. Faithful servants will enjoy the assurance of God’s blessings vv. 15-19
In verse 15, the angel of the Lord calls out to Abraham again and says, “for because you have done this thing, and not withhold your son…What was this thing? It was his unwavering faith in God to act in obedience. Now Abraham was going to reap the blessing of what was promised to him. Because he has done this thing, he passed the test and will enjoy the blessing of the Lord. My beloved, there is something that you may have to go thru before your blessing manifests in your life. Your faithfulness to God has to be proven. When you have faith, Jesus shows up!
Abraham was willing to give up his promise only to have his promise released. The text fulfills what God said to him in chap 12 will be fulfilled in his life. “I will bless thee and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven and as the sand upon the sea shore. This all relates to the promise that will come thru Isaac. But there is an additional blessing in the text. God shows favor to the obedient. The text says thy will possess the gate of the enemy. Not only will Abraham be blessed but also his seed will conquer the enemy. Because of your obedience, you will enjoy blessing without the enemy bothering you because you will conquer him! God will reward you faithfulness. Your obedience to God release favor. And the blessing on your life will flow thru everybody connected to you.
Close: The text in verse 18 tells us that Abraham’s blessings where all because he obeyed God’s voice. The story goes onto say that Abraham went back to his servants and rose up and went to Beersheba and Abraham lived their. My beloved, traditionally we stop at the generational blessing that occurred. But I want to get to Beersheba. Beersheba means a well of seven fold oath. A well is a place of refreshing. Seven fold means complete! An oath is an unbreakable promise. Not only am I blessed but where I live will be a place that will be promise complete refreshing. And the only place I know that can promise me complete refreshing is the presence of the Lord! That is the lifestyle of a worshiper! In his presence is the fullness of joy and on his right hand pleasures evermore! Worshipers know how to get to Beersheba!