by Kristen C. Strocchia
“By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son. Even though God had said to him, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’ Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.” Hebrews 11:17-19
God tested Abraham’s faith in Him, and by faith–absolute certainty in what he hoped for and couldn’t see–Abraham passed that test.
In the time and place where Abraham lived, child sacrifice to gods [with a lower case g; not the One True God] was, unfortunately, common place. And God abhorred this practice. It was Satanic. It was a counterfeit to the holy plan and purpose He had to one day send His Son Jesus into the world as the sacrifice for our sins.
Still, God told Abraham to take his one and only promised son, Isaac, up the mountain and there to offer him as a sacrifice to Himself.
By his absolute certainty that God would keep His promise to make a mighty nation through Isaac, Abraham got up early the next morning and obeyed. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Abraham believed that God would simply raise Isaac back to life if necessary.
Abraham’s faith in God was unwavering.
And God used the obedience that came by this unwavering faith to show the world that He detested their vile practices of child sacrifice. He stayed the knife by providing a ram in the thicket–a substitution for the sacrifice of Isaac’s life. Because God never wanted Isaac to be sacrificed to begin with.
In the same way, God detests sin. He is holy, and, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life” [Romans 6:23]. As humans, we are all sinners in the hands of a loving God. He stays the knife in each of our lives by providing His Son Jesus as the only atoning sacrifice on the cross–a substitution for us so that we might live. But we must accept this substitute by faith.
Once again, God is testing faith–our faith. Our faith to believe that: a) we are sinners; b) Jesus is God’s only Son and He chose to die on the cross for us; and then, c) we commit our lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Like Abraham and Isaac, are you prepared for a test of faith in your life? Do you live by d) All of the above?