Abraham Gave All To God
Abraham continued to develop in faith, and was blessed by God in many ways. Also, God tested him by giving him several special opportunities to demonstrate his faith. In each case Abraham acted as a friend of God. He did this by talking with God, showing love and concern for others, and in every case being completely obedient and submissive to God’s will.
God repeated to Abraham the promise that a great people would come from his seed. Both Abraham and his wife Sarah were now past the time of life when they could expect to have children. They wanted so much to have a son! They almost gave up hope when the years passed by and none was born to them.
The word of God came to Abraham in a vision:
Do not be afraid, Abraham, I am your shield, your very great reward, I am God who brought you to this land to possess it. On that day God made a covenant with Abraham. Abraham believed God and he credited it to him as righteousness.
God never breaks His promises. He knew how to guide Abraham and prepare him for the most important experience in his life. This experience was to be the greatest test of his faith. And it was to be more than a test of Abraham’s faith. It was to be a demonstration and lesson to all mankind. God had planned a method of using Abraham to show all people the true relationship between God and man. This is how it happened: The promised son was born! The faith of Abraham was rewarded. He knew a great people would come from his seed and that all peoples would be blessed. He loved his son as a devoted father. In addition to this, the son was special because he was to be the hope of many generations.
Then God did something which men cannot understand. He told Abraham to sacrifice his son. God tested Abraham in this way, calling, “Abraham!” “Here I am”’ Abraham replied. Then God said, “Take your son whom you love, and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
Abraham’s faith was so great that he began at once to follow God’s instructions. Again he demonstrated his faith by action.
Early the next morning Abraham took his son, and two servants to carry the wood and fire for a sacrifice. In his hand he took a knife. A loving father could do such a thing only by the strength of God. Abraham knew God would work out His plan in a way that was best for him and all mankind.
When they reached the mountain, Abraham put the wood upon the back of his son. The two of them walked on toward the place of sacrifice.
“We have wood and fire,” said the young man. “Where is the animal for a sacrifice?” “God will provide Himself a sacrifice,” said Abraham. When he said these words he was making known to everyone who will read them a great truth to all mankind. “God will provide Himself a sacrifice.” The son was obedient too, and filled with faith. He did not question his father any more.
Abraham built the altar, arranged the wood on it, bound his son, and laid him on the wood. Then he took the knife to slay him. Can you imagine the scene? The son feels the cruel bonds. Soon his blood will flow as that of a sacrificial offering. Abraham, looking down upon his beloved son, is aching in his heart. But he is committed to the will and purpose of God. The knife begins to lower.
“Abraham, Abraham!” A voice comes out of heaven. “Do not harm your son. I know you have not withheld him from me.”
Then Abraham saw, caught in the thicket, an animal suitable for the sacrifice. God had indeed provided as Abraham had predicted. Abraham released his son and placed the animal substitute upon the altar. The substitute then felt the press of wood upon flesh. The blood of the sacrifice flowed down. God’s purpose was accomplished. Abraham called the name of that place THE LORD WILL PROVIDE, since God had provided the sacrifice.
Why do you suppose God wished to continue with the ceremony of sacrifice even after Abraham had proved his faith? It is clear that this experience was more than a test of Abraham’s faith. It was a beautiful picture of how God would one day provide a sacrifice to ransom mankind from the sword of judgment. It demonstrated how God shows mercy and yet carries out His will.
For You To Do
Fill in the blanks.
- Abraham felt that his faith was rewarded when _____________
- God promised that from Abraham’s seed would come_____________
- Then God told Abraham to _____________
- Abraham obeyed God’s _____________
- God provided a _____________