Gert Hijkoop – Rotterdam, Netherlands
After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!”, And he said, “Here am I”. He said: “Take your son, your only son Isaac , whom you love, go to the land Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you. (Genesis 22:1-2)
Abraham, with Sarah, had followed the call of the Lord to leave their homeland, whilst believing God’s promise for numerous offspring. This promise was to begin with the birth of a son who would be born to them in their old age. After a long wait and with a good dose of struggles they had seen the fulfilment of this promise in the birth of their son Isaac.
We can imagine them sharing their testimony with friends about the lessons of faith that they had learned in the process – that it had been a steep learning curve and a real test to trust God for this miracle to happen. They had passed their test of faith and God honoured them for it.
But then we read that God tested Abraham’s faith by telling him to sacrifice his son – the son of the promise. Doesn’t God take it too far now? Had Abraham not been tested enough?
The idea that someone would sacrifice his son to God is unthinkable to us, but would have been less so to Abraham. Child sacrifices to a god were probably not unknown to Abraham. But despite this familiarity, it would have been a huge challenge to obey God’s word to him, and to trust Him for a good outcome.
Of course, we know the end of the story, but Abraham did not. He could not know that his willingness to sacrifice Isaac would be a foreshadowing of the actual sacrifice of God himself in giving His Son for the salvation of mankind. And so it must have been a very bitter and raw moment for Abraham as he began his heavy journey to Moriah.
Abraham’s obedience, however, shows us that underneath his faith there is deep conviction with regard to the fact that he neither owns the promise (his Son Isaac), nor the way in which the promise is to be fulfilled. Both the promise and the process of fulfilment belong to God; and so God has full right to ask Abraham to give it all back to Him.
Like Abraham, we also do not own the promises of God and their fulfilment in our lives. The moment may come when God tests our willingness to give everything back to him and maybe He has already done this at some point in your life.
However, Abraham lived with the conviction and faith that God could be trusted and that He would remain faithful to His own promises. He therefore even believed that, God was able to raise Isaac from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back (Hebrews 11:19).
There is great encouragement here for us. When God’s promises appear to be withdrawn and their fulfilment, impossibly beyond us, God remains faithful to His own promises and we can trust Him! He will either raise our son of promise from the dead or fulfil his promises to us in ways that we cannot know or imagine.
So remember, when faced with a season of tested faith, a promise made by God, will always be fulfilled.