GENESIS 22: ABRAHAM’S FAITH REPORT CARD
abraham's faith report card
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.” Genesis 22:2
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. Genesis 22:3
Teacher’s Remarks: When Abraham received the task, he immediately obeyed and prepared everything. He followed instructions and trusted God all the way.
Abraham’s Test Result Deliberation
“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.” Genesis 22:12
Abraham obeyed without questions, prepared for it and took Isaac with him to Mount Moriah. Not because he’s following blindly, doing whatever command was given. But because Abraham trusted the same God who gave him a promise a long time ago even before Isaac was born. In fact, Abraham and Sarah waited for 25 years before the promise was fulfilled.
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.[a] I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”[b] Genesis 12: 2-3
I’d fully understand if Abraham tried to talk God over it.
“What about becoming the Father of All Nations? I’m very old now, the birth of Isaac is even a miracle, how can Sarah have another son? This is crazy!”
That’s me talking using all my rationality. But for Abraham, he dealt with the situation using all his faith.
When 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?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. Genesis 22: 7-8
Everything was ready but still no lamb. Then…
He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Genesis 22:9
Still no lamb. Was Abraham talking to Isaac at this time? Was Isaac crying, shouting, asking his father, WHY? Was he trying to comfort his son?
Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. Genesis 22:10
Wait. With this scenario, I’ll be shouting and asking God, are you sure about this? I trusted You all the way to the mountain, until I set the fire, now I have this knife, still no answer?
But Abraham was different, he’s called the man of faith for that reason. Trusting God all the way. With his obedience and faith, the LORD provided what he needed.
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram[a] caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” Genesis 22: 13-14
Teacher’s Remarks: Abraham passed the test with flying colors. He proved to be faithful until the very end.
Abraham’s Father of All Nations Contract
The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring[b] all nations on earth will be blessed,[c] because you have obeyed me.” Genesis 22: 15-18
Teacher’s Remarks: Abraham got the contract of blessings. He’s able to close the deal to be the Father of All Nations.
THE FOCUS OF GENESIS 22
Edmund Chan in his book, Growing Deep in Faith, gave a remarkable focus of Genesis 22.
… the Mount Moriah encounter of Genesis 22 is not about how great Abraham was and what a great sacrifice he gave to God. Genesis 22 has a totally opposite focus – how wonderful God is as the provider, and prophetically, how God would ultimately provide His Son Jesus for the sins of the world! (p.152)
our turn to take the test
Let’s go back to the test, performance, test result, and hopefully we can get a good contract.
THE TEST/THE TASK
When God asks us to do something, he’ll show us specific instructions, especially if we acknowledge His wisdom, guidance and direction. He’ll show us what to do, where to go, and how to do it, just they way he instructed Abraham.
What to do? <Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering …>
Where to go? < … on a mountain …>
How to do it? <…I will show you …>
No problem, easy to do, I just follow the what, where, how, then I’m good. Happy to do what God is asking me to do.
But here’s the catch, when God tests us, it is something with the word “only”:
only money left
Then the test becomes a lot harder with the words, “whom you love”, “which you love” … if it’s so easy for us to do, the value of growth and learning will not be that significant. But if the test challenges our inner core – something/someone we dearly love, then the impact is tremendous, producing perseverance.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
After realizing the seriousness of the test/task, how are we going to respond?
3 Ways to Respond
I’ll do it once I’m done with this project.
I’ll do it once we broke up.
I’ll do it once I’m promoted.
I’ll do it once __________.
I can do this, but not this…
It makes sense, but I can give up this one, but not this…
This is me, this is what I’ve been doing, I can’t just change it, maybe this __________.
Immediate and Full Obedience
Look into Abraham’s life, check his report card.
THE TEST RESULT
It greatly depends on our performance and the way we respond to the test/task.
Equation is simple.
Delayed Obedience is Disobedience = Failed
Partial Obedience is Disobedience = Failed
Immediate and Full Obedience is what Obedience is all about = PASSED, Congratulations!
That’s between you and God.
No “contract” is the same when it comes to our relationship with God. We have different dealings, tests, tasks, victories, failures, past, future… so God works with us accordingly. God deals with us individually. Don’t give up! Persevere! Trust God all the way!
What’s your test, performance, test result and contract so far?