Focus On Promises, Not Explanations
Our faith is not really tested until God asks us to bear what seems unbearable, do what seems unreasonable, and expect what seems impossible.
Whether you look at Joseph in prison, Moses and Israel at the Red Sea, David in the cave, or Jesus at Calvary, the lesson is the same: We live by promises, not by explanations.
Abraham did as he was told. Early in the morning he got up, saddled his donkey, and taking two of his trusted servants with him and his son Isaac, he cut the wood for the burnt offering and traveled to the place God had told him about. On the third day of the journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place far in the distance.
Abraham leaves Beersheba as he left Haran many years earlier. God calls and he leaves. It is as simple as that. No map. No directions. Just an unwavering trust that God will lead him where he needs to go. Mount Moriah becomes one of the most important places in all of the promised land, the one place in the world set apart for the worship of the one True God. According to 2 Chronicles 3:1, Solomon builds his temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, not far from where God tests Abraham.
Abraham (to his servants): Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there. We will worship, and then we will come back to meet you here.
Genesis 22:3-5 (VOICE)
Consider how unreasonable God’s request was. Isaac was Abraham’s only son, and the future of the covenant rested in him. Isaac was a miracle child, the gift of God to Abraham and Sarah in response to their faith. Abraham and Sarah loved Isaac very much and had built their whole future around him. When God asked Abraham to offer his son, He was testing Abraham’s faith, hope, and love; and it looked like God was wiping out everything Abraham and Sarah had lived for. Our faith is based on our thought lives.
There is no indication that Abraham told Sarah about what God had commanded him to do. Often it is wisdom not to speak things out that you know others will have a hard time believing. You have to protect your faith.
When God sends a trial to us, our first response is usually,
Right away, we want God to give us explanations. Of course, we know that God has reasons for sending tests—perhaps to purify our faith (1 Peter 1:6-9), or perfect our character (James 1:1-4), or even to protect us from sin (2 Cor. 12:7-10)—but we fail to see how these things apply to us. The fact that we ask our Father for explanations suggests that we may not know ourselves as we should or God as we should.
Abraham heard God’s word and immediately obeyed it by faith. Faith had taught him not to argue, but to obey. He is sure that what God commands is good; that what he promises cannot be broken. He knew that God’s will never contradicts God’s promise, so he held on to the promise “for in Isaac your seed shall be called.” (Gen. 21:12). Abraham believed that even if God allowed him to slay his son, He could raise Isaac from the dead (Heb. 11:17-19).
Faith does not demand explanations; faith rests on promises.
Abraham told the two servants, “The boy and I will go over there. We will worship, and then we will come back to meet you here.” (Gen. 22:5). Because he believed God, Abraham had no intentions of bringing back a corpse! It has been pointed out that Abraham believed God and obeyed Him when he did not know where (Heb. 11:8), when he did not know when (vv. 9-10, 13-16), when he did not know how (vv. 11-12), and when he did not know why (vv. 17-19).
- If Abraham would have thought about Isaac being dead, knowing that it was his own hand that killed him;
- If Abraham would have thought about having to tell Sarah that he had killed his son;
- If Abraham would have anticipated his life without Isaac;
Then he would never have been able to overcome the grief and unbelief those thoughts would have engendered to go through with the sacrifice. But he didn’t think that way, and therein lays the secret of his success. He only thought in line with the promises of God and therefore was only tempted with the faith that the Word of God produces (Romans 8:6). You can’t be tempted with what you don’t think.