Obedience and Trusting God – 9/25/18

I shared with you last week that I have been reading in Genesis in my devotion time and this morning I read the story of God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac.  There are some amazing things in this story that challenge me and I pray will challenge you as well.

First, Abraham’s obedience.  Remember that Abraham is 100 years old and Sarah was 90 years old, when Isaac, the son who was promised by God to Abraham and Sarah, was born.  Both of them were well pass the age of childbearing and yet God’s miraculous intervention is obvious.  God had promised them that He would deliver on His promise and He did.  There is no other heir, God had already told him in no uncertain terms, that Ishmael was not going to be the son through whom the promise of God would be fulfilled; his nephew would not be the one through whom the promise was fulfilled; Isaac was God’s promised heir, there was no “Plan B.”  So, in Genesis 22:1 it simply says, “Some time later God tested Abraham.”  (There is a lot there for us as well, but we’ll save that for another day, another email, perhaps another sermon.)  Anyway God told Abraham to “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah.  Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”  There is no explanation; there is nothing there that suggests that God gives a reason or tells Abraham that this is a test, He simply says to do it.  And the very next verse says, “Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey.”  He didn’t argue with God; he didn’t ask anyone else’s opinion; he didn’t hesitate; he didn’t ask for God to confirm or deny what he had heard; he simply got up the next morning to go and do what God had asked him to do.

Obedience – it is a non-negotiable quality when we follow God.  We don’t like it.  Come on, be honest, we think we deserve an answer; we believe we deserve an explanation from God when we don’t understand.  If we’ll really be honest, we think we have the right to demand that God tell us why!  I don’t think I’m being too harsh; I don’t think I’m assuming too much with that statement.  You know what, when God says do something, I think we should just do it.  I think that is what this story says to us.  Abraham simply obeyed.  (A little more on this in a moment)

Here is another thing that amazes me.  I’ve seen pictures, illustrations of this story in Bibles, in Sunday school lessons, in Bible studies that show Abraham and a young boy, Isaac, climbing a mountain, or standing in front of a stone altar, or carrying a bundle of wood for the sacrifice, or even of Abraham standing over a young Isaac, the boy bound on the stone and Abraham with the knife poised to take the boy’s life.  The problem with all of those pictures, illustrations, is that Isaac is always pictured as a young boy.  I don’t ever remember seeing one that isn’t that way and I don’t believe it is factual.  I don’t believe that Isaac was a young boy, I believe, at best, he was a young man either in his late teens or even older than that.  The reason I believe that is so important is that Abraham would have been 115-118 years of age or older and Isaac a young man with much, much more strength than his father.  Talk about OBEDIENCE – Isaac could have simply physically overcome his father and not allowed him to put him on the altar.  But Genesis tells us that when they got to the place for the sacrifice that “Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it.  He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood” (22:9).

Another amazing thing – When Abraham is stopped from sacrificing his son, the angel says to him, “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” (22:12).  This flows out of Abraham’s obedience, but the fact is, he didn’t withhold anything from God.  Now in theory that is what we say; that we aren’t going to withhold anything from God.  That is all well and good, but most of us haven’t been asked anything near the magnitude of what Abraham was asked.  What if God asked for your child?  What if God asked for your spouse?  What if God asked for your health?  What if God asked for your time?  What if God asked for your tithe?  What if God asked for your . . . well, you fill in the blank.  Isaac was the pinnacle of everything that Abraham was living for because Isaac was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham.  He didn’t hesitate, he physically, figuratively, literally gave God everything

In 22:14 the writer tells us that Abraham named the place “The LORD will Provide.”  Remember, when the angel stopped Abraham, (and I believe the “angel” was the pre-incarnate Christ; He is called “the angel of the LORD”), that Abraham “looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns” (22:13).  Did God “zap” the ram there at that moment?  Did that ram get caught there 15 minutes before Abraham and Isaac got there and they just didn’t see it?  Did the ram walk up at that moment and get caught in the thicket?  I don’t know, but what I do know is that God provided the ram.  (That DIDN’T just happen.)  So, he took it and offered it instead of his son, as a sacrifice to God.  AND IN FACT, earlier when Isaac had asked him where the sacrifice was, Abraham had told him, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering” (22:8).  Never was there any question at all in Abraham’s mind that God would provide.

Now here is “more on this in a moment” that I mentioned earlier.  In Hebrews 11, the “Faith Hall of Fame” in the Bible, the writer in verse 19 writes concerning this event that, “Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.”  I can’t prove this but I think that scripture at the very least points to this; I believe that Abraham fully intended to take Isaac’s life and that after he did that, that God would bring Isaac back to life.  To me, that makes this obedience all the more incredible.  Abraham had never seen God bring someone back to life; he had never seen someone “raised from the dead;” and yet He trusted God so completely that he knew that God had said that it was through Isaac the promise would be fulfilled and that since God had asked him to sacrifice his son that when he did that, God would bring him back to life.

The LORD will Provide!  Do you believe that?  I read an amazing commentary this morning from Breakpoint on Hope.  I would urge you to go online to www.breakpoint.org and click on the box in the upper right that says “Breakpoint Daily September 26” and read “Hope, Our Only Offer.”  It is wonderful.

The LORD will Provide – I hope you will meditate on that and come to your own conclusion that He will IN YOUR LIFE.  I don’t know what you’re going through but I believe the LORD will Provide for you today.  Will you be obedient? 

I love you,

Rick

Upcoming Activities

 

Today, Wednesday September 25 – We have dinner tonight here at the church, FREE OF CHARGE, at 5:00.  Come out and join us.  Our children and teens will have their regular activities and the Hispanic Bible study will meet at 6:00.  I have an amazing video that I’m going to show in the sanctuary at 6:00 during our regular prayer time.  I watched this video on Monday and it is truly amazing.  I want to urge you to come and join us.  The video is entitled “Syria in Bible Prophecy” and the speaker is Amir Tsarfati, a Jewish Bible Prophecy teacher.  The video is almost an hour long and we’ll start it promptly at 6:00.

Friday, Saturday, September 27-28 – Feed My Starving Children will be sponsoring the packaging of food for starving children at the Ruidoso Convention Center.  There are still time slots available on Saturday.  Please go to the website www.FMSC.org/mobilepack/events to sign up or to donate.  REMEMBER that through this organization you can provide a meal for a starving child for ONLY 22 CENTS!

Sunday September 29 – Pastor Marco will be preaching in both morning worship services as well as the Hispanic Service in the afternoon!  Come out and show your support for Pastors Marco and Betty Sanchez!

Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m. we will join with other Christians around Lincoln County to share in the Lord’s Supper.  Gateway Church of Christ is hosting this service and we are invited to come together as the Body of Christ and share in the Lord’s Supper.

For those not going to the Communion Service, Sierra Blanca Christian Academy will be having the Annual Gospel Sing at the Flying J Ranch at 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday October 9 – We will be hosting the families of our Wednesday night children and teens for dinner and a time of loving them!  We will need volunteers to host tables, to serve, to cook and clean up.  PLEASE PLAN ON BEING A PART OF THIS WONDERFUL EVENING!

Sunday October 13 – Our Hispanic Congregation will be celebrating their 1st Anniversary.  We will have a great time of celebration for what God is doing and all are invited to attend!  More details will follow!


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