In Genesis 22 we find the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham had been given a promise that seemed impossible back in Genesis 12:1-3. The promise to become the father of many nations was first given when Abraham was seventy-five years old. At eighty-six years old he took things into his own hands and birthed a son to his wife’s servant. At one hundred years old, Abraham was given the child of promise by God – Isaac.
Some time later Abraham was told by God “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.”. Genesis 22:2.
Abraham didn’t stop and question God, the next day Abraham obediently sets out to do what God has told him to do. For three days they travelled with servants to the place of sacrifice. Then Abraham declared, “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.” Genesis 22:5. Whether he was in denial of what God had asked of him or in faith that God would somehow bring Isaac back after the sacrifice, Abraham was obedient.
Trust is born out of relationship. You can not know the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone without relationship. Abraham knew Whom his trust was in because he had been walking with God over twenty-five years. He had stood on the promise God had given him. God didn’t test Abraham’s faith immediately because He knew Abraham needed to truly know Him before Abraham could truly trust in God for the destiny ahead of him.
As Isaac journeyed on with his father, he noticed the obvious. “We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” Genesis 22:7
Trust doesn’t always understand. There is no clue in the scriptures that Isaac knew that he was to be the sacrifice. He knew where they were going and what their purpose in going was. Isaac trusted his father even though he couldn’t understand how to offer a sacrifice without an animal.
I wonder the silent conversations of prayer that Abraham was having with God with each step they took. The silent cries of “I don’t understand.” from Abraham. In that moment before the answer to his son, how long was the pause as Abraham remembered his own journey with God.
As he made the journey on with his son, Abraham had to stand on the character of the God he knew. He has to stand on the truth of the promise he had been given. At times Abraham hadn’t always trusted or understood. Every question that Abraham had asked of God for himself, his family, and even Sodom and Gomorrah likely ran through his mind to remind himself of the faithfulness, the goodness, and the justness of God.
He had questioned God’s ability to keep him safe on the journey to his promise. As he was approaching the border of Egypt, Abram said to his wife, Sarai, “Look, you are a very beautiful woman. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife. Let’s kill him; then we can have her!’ 13 So please tell them you are my sister. Then they will spare my life and treat me well because of their interest in you.” Genesis 2:11-13. He again did this many years later. Abraham introduced his wife, Sarah, by saying, “She is my sister.” Genesis 20:2 God showed Abraham that He was the protector as his wife was returned to him untouched.
He had questioned what good the promise would be to him. “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.” Genesis 15:2-3. God showed Abraham His goodness with the birth of Isaac.
Abraham had questioned how God could possibly fulfill his promise. “O Sovereign Lord, how can I be sure that I will actually possess it?” Genesis 15:8 And then again he questioned “How could I become a father at the age of 100?” Genesis 17:17 God showed His faithfulness and that He is the God of the impossible with the birth of Isaac.
When Abraham didn’t understand what was taking so long, he tried his own way to get the promise God had given him. Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal. Genesis 16:1-2 God showed His forgiveness, mercy and grace with the birth of Isaac.
He had questioned God for Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18:23-33. Through God’s response Abraham was able to see a deeper level of God’s character and see that God was a just God.
Through the answers God had previously given, Abraham was reminded of the true character of God. Although Abraham didn’t understand he did know God could protect His son. He knew that God was good. He knew God was faithful. He knew God was the God of the impossible. He knew God was merciful and full of grace. He knew God was just and fair. So although He didn’t understand the purpose of this request He could trust God’s silent response of “In faith you obeyed, now only trust in Me.”
And so Abraham answered Isaac, “God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” And they both walked on together. Genesis 22:8
Trust tests faith. And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith. Genesis 15:6. Abraham had faith in God. But Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1 If it is unseen, and we are hoping for it, how can we know that we have truly have possessed it? Trust.
If faith will move mountains, trust will test that faith as it moves into action and see the mountain move.
When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice.
At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!”
“Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.”
Abraham had tested God’s character through the years with his questions and actions. God had come through each time, but relationship is a two-way street. God was now testing Abraham to make sure that Abraham’s character was also worthy of the destiny that had been placed on him.
When God first met Abraham, he was willing to sacrifice his wife to save himself. Now standing at the door to destiny, God asked for the son that would take Abraham to his destiny. And Abraham trusted God with Isaac, even to the point of taking his beloved son away. God didn’t want to kill Isaac, He wanted to make sure that He could trust Abraham as He expanded him. And Abraham’s faith in God passed the test.
In out walk with God, we have to take the time to build relationship with Him. We can not trust someone we do not know. Relationships take time. Our faith will grow as we see the character of God. Our character will grow as we place our faith in Him.
Sometimes God will ask us to do things that don’t make sense. It’s nice when they are understandable. We like to see clearly each step towards where we are headed but often it things look like a step in the wrong direction. But God’s ways are higher than ours. He knows so much more than we ever will. We have to trust that if God is asking us to do something that there is a good reason. We also have to realize that even if we miss God, like Abraham did when he decided to have a child with a servant, God’s grace and mercy will cover it. He already knows the end from the beginning, so we can trust Him through the process.
Eventually, what we say we believe and have faith for must be put to the test. Just as we put our trust in God, He has to make sure that we am ready for the destiny before He steps us into it. There is much more at stake than just our individual hopes and dreams – other people’s lives are tied to destiny. So take time to build relationship with God. Know that you may not always understand the why and be prepared for your beliefs to be tested by fire as you step into your destiny.
This blog is part of a #Write31Days series on trust. 31 Days is an online writing challenge, where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in October.