ABRAHAM – AN ACT OF FAITH

Bible Reading: Genesis 22:5; Acts 12:1-11

The words, “and come again to you,” [verse 5] are among the most remarkable words in the Bible. They speak of tremendous faith and trust in a faithful God. God has told Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering, and yet Abraham tells his two servants that he and Isaac will return to them.

How is it that Abraham can be so sure? It is because he understands the character of God. It is impossible that the death of Isaac would bring glory to God. God had promised Abraham that in his seed, that is, through Isaac, all nations of the earth would be blessed. Isaac is still a young man and not yet married. If he were to die at this time, then the promises of God are not trustworthy and cannot be relied upon. With the assurance that God fulfils His promises, Abraham can say with certainty that he and Isaac would return.

Abraham has faith in the promises of God, but how God would work out those promises must still have been unclear. Perhaps God would, in some way, intervene and provide a substitute for Isaac. If Isaac did die on Mount Moriah, then in order to fulfil His promises God would have to raise Isaac from the dead. How God would fulfil His promises should not be the most important issue for Abraham. The most important issue is that he is obedient to God and leaves the consequences with Him.

There is a similar situation in the life of Peter, recorded in Acts chapter 12. Herod had killed James [verse 1-2], and then held Peter in prison with the intention of killing him. Although chained between two soldiers, Peter slept so deeply that night that an angel had to strike him on the side to wake him up [verse 6-7]. As with Abraham, so Peter had a promise from God that was not yet fulfilled. Jesus had told Peter that he would live to be an old man [see John 21:18-19] but he was still a young man. Because he had a promise from God Peter knew that it was not time to die and he could trust the Lord to deliver him from this situation. That was the reason for his peaceful sleep!

Faith is the substance of things hoped, the evidence of things not seen [Hebrew 11:1]. If you can see the answer to your situation with natural eyes then you do not need faith. Faith sees the invisible. It doesn’t need to work out how God’s promise will come to pass – it just rests in God’s promise. God said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand” [Joshua 6:1]. With his natural eyes Joshua saw an impossible situation, but by faith he saw what was yet unseen and trusted God to do what He said. The examples of these three men, Abraham, Peter and Joshua remind us of the meaning of faith.

Questions:

Has God given you a promise that has not yet been answered and seems to be an impossible? What should your response be in that situation?

Why is faith described as “seeing the invisible”?

Are you prepared to speak out in faith what God has promised and trust Him to do what He has said in His way?