AUDIO HERE: [Beautiful Test_Genesis 22_July 24 2011 ]
FCC requires Emergency Broadcast System testing for clear & helpful communication in times of need. “This is a test, it is only a test. In the case of an emergency…” Likewise, we need tests to keep us aware of what God wants to teach us in life.
EXAMINE Beautiful Test Genesis 20-22
We have been teaching through the book of Genesis. We have seen 1) God exists and created the world for His glory and our good. 2) God sovereignly works through life circumstances to bring about His plan and purposes. 3) God is holy and just but also gracious and loving.
We have seen this in the lives of Adam & Eve, Noah and in the last few weeks from the perspective of Abraham and Sarah. Despite Abraham’s fool-heartedness, God promised to bless him and make his name great through future offspring. We have spent 4 weeks waiting for the start of this offspring, whereas Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years, but now is the time.
A son is bestowed (Genesis 20:1-7).
God’s promise has been fulfilled. Abraham & Sarah’s dreams are reality, they name their son Isaac. Abraham is 100, Sarah is 90 years old with a baby! They laugh at the wonder and grace of God.
God is faithful.
Psalm 84:11 “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
Lamentations 3:22-23 “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Express thanks for what you have.
A life is blessed (Genesis 21:33-34).
God’s promise of offspring and land are provided. Abraham lives in contentment and peace, worshiping God in times of wealth and comfort.
God is good.
Lamentations 3:25-26 “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”
Discover contentment in God not just His blessings
Philippians 4:12-13 “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
A test is beautiful (Genesis 22)
God tested Abraham’s faith (belief & action). He calls Abraham and commands him to sacrifice his only son [of God’s covenant] Isaac. Abraham presents himself to God in model faith: “Here am I”, repeated three times (v.1, 7, 11). His faith was both belief and action:
When God calls, are you available?
Is your faith head without heart or hands?
Beautiful Obedience (22:1-10)
– Rising early in morning to obey (v.3) [doesn’t sleep, worry, argue…]
– Cutting wood for sacrifice (v.3)
– Traveling 3 days (50+miles) to place of sacrifice (v.4)
– Telling servants “We will go worship, We will return” (v.5)
– Placing wood on son Isaac , taking fire and knife (v.6)
– Responding in faith to Isaac, “God will provide” (v.8)
– Built altar and prepared to sacrifice (v.9-10)
It is often the case when you are most comfortable in life that God will test your faith and obedience to Him. God’s blessings are not meant to make us spiritually complacent. We can take for granted blessings received and almost presume a sort of arrogance. Yet, when faced with the dilemma of obedience or denial, Abraham chose immediate obedience. Perhaps it is because he was able to learn from a history of his foolishness and failures and ultimately have a beginning grasp of God’s faithfulness to provide. He learned to trust and worship.
Corrie Ten Boom, “I have learned that we must hold everything loosely, because when I grip it tightly, it hurts when the Father pries my fingers loose and takes it from me!”
ð Is Jesus enough in my life?
ð Do I prize anything over my relationship with Jesus? What are you not willing to give up if God asked?
ð Are you willing to put sin and self on the altar?
- Romans 12:1-2 “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
- Luke 14:26-27, 33; 15:13 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple… So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple… No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other…”
Beautiful Provision (Genesis 22:11-19)
God stopped Abraham from sacrificing Isaac. God saw that Abraham truly did fear and trust God (v.12). Furthermore, God showed Abraham a substitute sacrifice, which Abraham offered as an offering instead of his son. Abraham then named the place, “The Lord will provide” – “Jehovah Jireh”. God was constantly providing Abraham with reminders of His grace and faithfulness. The Lord continued to remind Abraham of His covenant promise to multiply his offspring.
The purpose of God’s testing is to build our faith and teach us about God’s character. When we are in trials or testing we should not go on pause, thinking that our circumstances are irrelevant to God’s plan or purpose. Instead, we should be driven to see God; trials teach! We should ask, “God, where are You and what are you trying to show me? What can I learn from this experience?” If there is no testing, there is no testimony. We must realize God is sovereign, holy, just and good. His way is right and it is our role to simply trust and obey, like Abraham.
James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
Psalm 11 – Psalmist recognizes testing and trials and is reminded of God’s holiness and justice. He will set things right in the fullness of time.
µ Abraham could be obedient to sacrifice his son Isaac because He trusted God’s power of resurrection!
Hebrews 11:17-19 “By faith Abraham, when he was tested offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named’. He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.”
µ Jesus is the “Greater Isaac”. 1) Both had unique births. 2) Both worshiped with their Father’s sacrifice 3) Both fully yielded to his father’s will. Isaac worshiped as much as Abraham. Likewise, Jesus Christ fully yielded to the Father’s will and offered Himself up as a sacrifice for sin. 4) Jesus is the ultimate Son who lived and sacrificed for the sins of the world; 2 Corinthians 5:21 “He who knew no sin, became sin that we might become the righteousness of God”
µ In testing, God promises to provide:
- Strength to endure
- Deliverance from