Saturday, May 27, 2017

Trusting God

We discuss why God test us and why He would ask Abraham to kill Isaac.   We also see how this sacrifice relates to Jesus dying on the cross.

Trusting God


Habakkuk 2:4
Genesis 15:2-6
Genesis 22:1-18
Hebrews 11:17-19

Habakkuk 2:4
4 "Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.

“The issue of faith is not so much whether we believe in God, but whether we believe the God we believe in.”  
 --RC Spoil

  • Do you believe God can take care of you?
  • And  do you really believe God will take care of you?

Story: Blind men feeling an elephant
  • They couldn’t grasp because they were blind?
  • No: They couldn’t grasp because they stopped searching after their first experience

That is the risk we run into when assessing God’s character
  • We may have a partial view but believe we understand Him completely

Sometimes we may read a bible story that contradicts our understanding of God's character
Other times may hear a religious belief that contradicts what we see in our day to day lives
  • This is often the case with how we’re taught about faith

We're going to explore some aspects of God's character

Abraham’s Promise

Christians, Jews, and Muslims all see Abraham as a patriarch of their religions.

  • God chose Abraham to create a lineage of people who would worship and represent Him
  • Abram chose to follow one God when everyone else was pagan
  • Leave his family
  • Leave the religion of his father

Genesis 15:2-6
2Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3And Abram said, “Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.” 4Then behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.” 5And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” 6Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.
  • Abraham was well past 70 when God promised him children
  • After this Abraham had Ishmael and Isaac

Abraham’s Test

This story challenges our view and understanding of the character of God.

Genesis 22:1-18
Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
  • Testing is not tempting
  • God tests you so that He can reward you
  • Satan tempts you so you can fail
2 Then God said, “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.”
  • “Your only son”?
    • 3 times
  • What about Ismael?
  • The pagans sacrificed their children to their gods
    • God forbids it later
  • There are multiple mountains in the region of Moriah
    • It doesn't say Mt. Moriah
    • The Mount of Olives we could call "Upper" Mt. Moriah,
    • Solomon's Temple Mount, "Lower" Mt. Moriah.
    • Calvary is in that region
3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.
  • Notice Abraham cut the wood himself even though he has servants
  • He does the work for the offering
4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.
  • He located the place on the third day
5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
  • He says “boy”
    • Ishmael would be at least 14 at this point
    • That's no longer a boy in that culture
  • Who is “we”?
    • Isaac ain't coming back
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together,
  • Isaac had to carry the wood that he would be sacrificed on
7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
  • Uh oh
8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
  • Was he really planning to kill Isaac?
9 When they reached the place God had told him about, 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. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
  • You would think Isaac figured it out by now.
  • Abraham was intending to actually kill Isaac
11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
  • Angel of the Lord could also be translated
    • “The angel who is the Lord”
    • The messenger who is the Lord
  • The Angel of the Lord is also referred to as “God” in some places
  • Theophany / Christophany
12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “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.”
  • You fear “God”
    • Third person
  • “From me”
    • First person
  • Your son, your only son
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.
  • The ram died in place of Isaac
14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide [yê·rā·’eh].  And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

 15Then the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven, 16and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18“In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
  • Because of Abraham’s seed we have all been blessed with salvation

Story: Talked to boss after starting bible study
  • Can’t travel anymore
  • I’m proud of my job, but I was willing to give it up
    • I get a feeling of self worth from my job, but I was willing to give it up
    • Unemployed is stressful
  • Didn't hesitate to do it because I had gotten clear direction to start teaching

The Lord Will Provide the Lamb

8  “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”

  • What did Abraham think was going to happen?
  • Was Abraham really prepared to kill Isaac?

Many people read this story and focus on Abraham’s words to Isaac when he said “the Lord will provide the lamb”.  They assume that Abraham knew that God would come through for him.  

Because that, of course, is faith right
  • Knowing that God won't let you suffer
  • Wrong!!

We often think
  • I have faith so I won’t have to suffer
  • I have faith so I’ll be healed
  • I have faith so God has to give me what I want
  • I have faith so God will give me whatever I want

This misses the whole point of faith.  Faith isn’t that you trust that God will give you what you want.  Faith is that you trust that whatever God wants is best.  Faith means you are willing to sacrifice your prize possession for God.  

Did Abraham Plan to Kill Isaac?

So what was Abraham really thinking?

Abraham’s scenario was a case where he had a promise directly from God that contradicted his circumstances
  • It wasn’t something he read
  • It wasn’t something someone else told him
  • He got a promise directly from God

God promised Abraham that he’d have many descendants through Isaac:
  • This command to kill Isaac directly contradicted that promise
  • Abraham was obedient even though it didn’t make sense
  • Even though it contradicted his promise

But how could Abraham believe the promise, but still be obedient and kill his son?  
  • Killings Isaac would mean that the promise can't happen.
  • Killing Isaac would kill the promise

Hebrews 11:17-19
17By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”c 19Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
  • Abraham knew God had made him a promise that his seed would be innumerable through Isaac
  • Abraham believed that
  • Isaac didn't have any children yet
  • “So he has to have them after I kill him”
  • Therefore if he had to kill Isaac then God would have to bring him back to life
  • No one had ever been brought back to life by God at this point

If God made a specific promise we shouldn’t doubt it regardless of the circumstances
  • If you trust in God’s word then you assume miracles
  • Faith is trusting God when you don't see a natural solution to your problem

Why Does God Need to Test Us?

12 “...Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

Doesn’t God know everything?

  • Anthropomorphic language
  • “Know” is the act of relating intimately
    • experiential knowledge
    • different than head knowledge
    • Adam “knew” Eve and conceived a son
  • God didn’t know
    • God chooses to know some things
    • God knows everything that exists
      • Choice we haven’t made don’t exist yet
  • Abraham wouldn't  fully have the faith until he exercised it
    • The action increased Abraham's faith
    • Abraham didn't “fear God” to the extent that was needed until this event happened
    • The test increased Abraham’s faith

Abraham’s actions coincide with his believe
  • This is the difference between knowledge and belief/faith

Your faith is only as strong as the test it survives
  • you're only as strong as what you can lift

Example: I claim to know that heaven is a better place yet I'm sad when Christians die

It strengthened Abraham’s faith

Do You Love The Gift or the Giver?

Abraham’s Test

God tested Abraham to see if he loved Isaac more than Him

  • Do you value the gift more than the giver of the gift?
  • Do you worship your gifts?

When you are mature, you will give up your blessing to remain obedient to God
  • Even when you don’t see any negative or sinful reason to keeping it
  • If it violates God’s word will you give it up?

Our Test

We can trust God to perform a miracle, but do we trust God with our miracle once we get it?     
  • Are we willing to give it back?
  • You trusted God for a boyfriend
    • Are you willing to give him up if he interferes with your relationship with God?  
  • You trusted God for a job
    • Are you willing to quit if it starts interfering with your relationship with God?

When you pray for God to give you something are you willing to give it back to God once you get it?

Faith isn’t just doing what’s convenient.

Don’t put your hope and faith in your dreams
  • Put your hope and faith your God

God Determines the Sacrifice

We need to accept the fact that God chooses the sacrifice, not us
  • The sinner doesn’t decide the sacrifice
  • The criminal doesn’t get to choose his sentence
  • Cain and Abel
    • Only Abel’s sacrifice was accepted

It's not dependent on whether we understand or agree with it

A Better Sacrifice

The idea of substituting an animal’s life in exchange for a human life, was present from the first sin onwards in Genesis 3. But it was never a human life.

When the Israelites purified their flesh through sacrifice, it allowed sinners to have physical proximity to God, and it allowed sinners to take their place in the camp, and in the ceremonies.

The Ultimate Sacrifice

Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice.

Covenant Relationship

Why would God test Abraham?

God and Abraham were in a covenant relationship
  • They could ask things of each other that normally wouldn't be asked

God had a covenant with Abraham
God asked Abraham to kill His son for Him
This gave Abraham the right to ask God to send His son as a sacrifice for him and his seed

Typology of Christ
  • Abraham was to sacrifice his son, his only son
    • Only begotten son
  • Jesus’ crucifixion was in the region of Moriah
  • Jesus also rose on the third day
    • God told Abraham which mountain on the 3rd day
  • Isaac carried the wood on his back
    • He carried the means of his death on his back
    • Jesus carried wood on His back

We were all destined to be burned in hell because of our sins.   
  • But God sent a lamb in the last days to substitute for us.


Many people are trusting God to give them what they desire.  What God wants is that your biggest desire be to please Him.  There shouldn’t be anything in our life that we aren’t willing to sacrifice for God.  Some people claim that God is the center of their life, but won’t even claim Him on their Facebook status.  Are you willing to sacrifice  your cool points, your job, your money, the favor of your co-workers, the opinions or your neighbors, for God?  

The sacrifice is whether you are willing to give up something you prayed to God for and God provided it.   Are you willing to sacrifice something you’re proud of?  Are you willing to sacrifice what gives you your identity?

We focus on what God is calling us to sacrifice instead of looking to the one who is calling us to sacrifice.  

The things that we hold dearly may be holding us back.   
  • God is saying “let them go”

What is God asking you to let go of?

When God asks us to sacrifice, it’s not because He needs something.  It’s for our benefit.

Faith is believing God is who He says He is

Faith is … making that sacrifice.

Faith is … letting go of your desires and Trusting God!

 Presenter: Michael Leadon


Is Mt Moriah the same as Mt Calvary?

Abraham's Sacrifice
"By Faith: Abram Part 3", Hebrews 11:17-19, Rev. Joseph Chung

The Atonement and Abraham's Sacrifice of Isaac: Genesis 22 by Dr. David Murray

Genesis 22 - Abraham's "sacrifice" of Isaac

Extra Material


The importance of Mount Moriah is established by a number of key historical events which have taken place there:2
Abraham Offers Isaac - It was here where Abraham’s faith was tested when God instructed him to offer up his son Isaac in sacrifice (Gen. Gen. 22:1). See Abraham Offers Isaac.
Site of Solomon’s Temple - In 990 B.C., King David was instructed by God to erect an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite which occupied this site. David purchased the land which later became the site of Solomon’s Temple (2S. 2S. 24:18-25; 1Chr. 1Chr. 21:18-26; 2Chr. 2Chr. 3:1).
The Crucifixion of Jesus - On the very mountain where Abraham was asked to sacrifice his “only son” (Gen. Gen. 22:2, Gen. 22:12), God sacrificed His only Son.

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