Hall of Fame of Faith Series: Can We Trust God?
Dear Visionary Leader:Dr. Warren Weirsbe stated, “A faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted.” For example, how would you like to get on an airplane that had never been tested? How would you like to have a doctor do surgery on you who had not passed some tests in medical school? I heard of a man who was having surgery and the doctor said, “You seem nervous.” He said, “Yes, this is my first surgery.” The doctor said, “Yes, I know how you feel. It’s mine also.”We read in Hebrews 11:17-19: “By faith Abraham, when he was tried (tested), offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called…” The Bible says that Abraham offered him up. That means he gave him as a sacrifice.How could Abraham do this? In verse 19 we read, “According that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure…”, (in a type, he received him). God is going to give you some trials, some tests to see if your faith is real. God did test Abraham and said offer up Isaac.”Tests, trials, and temptations come in two kinds. The devil solicits us, tempts us, to do evil to cause us to stumble. God tests us to do good in order to cause us to stand. This is one of those testings that we have. What God wants to do is to make our faith strong and pure.Some of us are going through a test, an ordeal. God is going to put our faith in the fire. God means you no harm. God wants you to understand whether or not you have the real thing. The temptations from Satan, these are pretty well standardized. Yet, the trials that come from God, these are tailor made. God knows where we are, knows our circumstances and may put us through a test.Now this is the New Testament commentary on the Old Testament story regarding Abraham. Let’s get the story. Let’s find out what happened here when the Bible says that God put Abraham to the test. In Genesis 22:1-14, we read:And it came to pass after these things, that God did test Abraham and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And God said, take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”“Now this is the New Testament commentary on the Old Testament story regarding Abraham. Let’s get the story. Let’s find out what happened here when the Bible says that God put Abraham to the test.” In Genesis 22:1-14, we read:“And it came to pass after these things, that God did test Abraham and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And God said, take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”“And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship and come again unto you.”“And Abraham took the wood and of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father; and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provided himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the Lord called out unto him, call unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not witheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.”This is an incredible story. God had never before commanded human sacrifice. And now He has commanded Abraham to take the son of promise, the beloved son, and put him to death.Now remember, this son, Isaac, was the son of miracle birth. He is the son of promise. He is the beloved son. And the Bible says that Abraham with no hesitation whatsoever sets out for Mount Moriah. If you look in verse three, “And Abraham rose up early in the morning.” That is, he begins now with no hesitation to do exactly what God told him to do.Can you imagine, before starting up that mountain that Abraham and Isaac are sitting there around the campfire. Can you imagine what Abraham must have felt as he looks into the face of his son, wondering how will I say this to him? What will I, how will I explain it? The memories that he had raising this little boy. What will his last look at me be like? Put yourself in Abraham’s place.
God is going to test your faith by asking you to do something that may surprise you. Not by giving up the wrong things and the bad things, but by giving up the good things. Be relatively easy if God asked us to give up the bad things. Give up lying, and stealing, and cheating, and pride to show that we love Him. But that’s not what God is asking. God had given to Abraham a possession, a wonderful son. God had given to Abraham a program. I’ll make of you a great nation. You’re going to bless the whole world. And that program is going to come through that possession.God had given to Abraham a promise, “I will do it”. Now, God just seems to be asking for all of it back. God is just saying, “Now, Abraham, give all of this back to me.”There’s some things we give up for the Lord. But the test of faith that Abraham is facing is not what he is giving up for the Lord, but what he is giving back to the Lord.Here is the question that I’m going to ask you and that I’ve had to wrestle with in my life. Are you able to give your blessings back to God? Not are you willing to give up your sins for God? Are you willing to give your blessings back to God? Abraham was asked to give his blessings back to the Lord. I have three questions to ask you. How you answer these questions will confirm whether or not you can pass the test of your faith.CAN I TRUST GOD WITH THE POSSESSIONS HE HAS GIVEN TO ME?Can I trust God with the possessions He has given to me? In Hebrews 11:17, we read, “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.”The test was over a gift that God had given to him. Why the test? Could it be that Abraham is coming to love Isaac more than he is loving God? Could it be that he is coming to love the gift more than the giver? Could it be that God now is moving into second place? The angels said the test was to find out whether that was true or not. We need to remember that God will never take second place in your life to anything or to anyone.Now many of us want to give God a place in our lives. May I say it clearly, God does not want a place in your life. God does not want prominence in your life. God desires, deserves, and demands preeminence in your life. He will not be a part time God with a duplex for a throne.Many of us like to have God in our lives. However, how many of us say, “God, I love You supremely”? You see, we have to be very careful that our blessings don’t become curses. In Malachi 2:2, we read, “But if ye will not hear and if ye will not lay it to heart to give glory unto My name sayeth the Lord of Hosts, I will even send a curse upon you and I will curse your blessings.” Malachi said God will curse our blessings. Blessings can become a curse. And God goes on to say, “Yeah, I have cursed them already because you do not lay it to heart.”May I tell you what is wrong in God blessed America today? God is beginning to curse our blessings. We have been blessed like no other nation on the face of the earth and we spit in the face of God. More vileness, more immorality, more slaughter of the unborn, more disregard for God, more arrogance strutting through the earth. America has been blessed like no other nation, but we put God aside and have concentrated on our blessings. America has been blessed. But I’m just afraid that God is going to turn our blessings to curses unless we turn back to almighty God. God says, I will not take second place to anybody or anything.Now it was not wrong for Abraham to love Isaac. I love my children with all of my heart. As a matter of fact, no one can truly love his son until he loves God as he ought. God is not asking Abraham, do you love Isaac? He knew he loved Isaac. What God wants to know is, Abraham, do you love Me more than you love Isaac?After the resurrection, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon Peter, lovest thou me more than these?” Now some people think that means, do you love me more than all these other disciples love Me? But I don’t think that’s what He meant. I think He’s standing there by the seashore and He’s saying, “Simon, do you, love me more than these your brothers? Do you love me more than you love these fish and these nets and these boats and this way of life? Do you love me more than these things? Simon Peter, I will not take second place in your life.” The test of faith is not primarily between love and hate. But between two loves. Those things we love dearly and that which we must love supremely. Do you have in your heart any love that is greater than your love for Jesus Christ?If you consider there may be a love greater than a love you have for God, God’s message to you from this passage of scripture is “Get thee up to Moriah and put it on the altar and sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”May I ask you a question? Is there anything you would not give back to God that God has already given to you if He asked you for it? Anything God has given you; you can trust Him with. And anything God has not given to you, you don’t need. Does that make sense? God said, “Abraham, I gave you Isaac. Now take him up to the mountain and sacrifice him to Me.” We’re talking about the testing of your faith.CAN I TRUST GOD WITH THE PURPOSE HE HAS FOR ME?We’ve talked about possessions He’s given to us. What about the purpose He has for us? In Hebrews 11:17-18, we read, “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed by called:”.God had given Abraham a purpose and Abraham said, “Yes., I understand. I know what’s going to happen. I’m going to have a son and this son’s going to have sons and sons and when, and I’m going to have a great decendency, a people of faith.” Then, God says, “Put it to death.”Faith is not primarily believing God in spite of the evidence. It is obeying God in spite of the consequences. Obedience is the great proof of our trust and our faith. When we know that we know that we know we have a word from God, we don’t pass it past the judgement bar of our understanding. We just simply obey. There’s only one alternative to obedience. You know what it is? Disobedience.We are to have an informed obedience. Don’t go out there now and make some sort of sacrifice to show God how much you love Him. You’ll make a horrible mistake. Be in tune with God. Abraham heard God speaking. Many Christians are endeavoring to do things for God that God doesn’t want done. God has not promised to bless any endeavor He has not commanded. We must hear God in order to obey God. It must be informed obedience.We are to have an intentional obedience. You say, “Well, I’m not informed.” May I ask you a question? Do you report to God for duty? Real obedience is not mere absence from doing wrong. It is actively seeking the will of God for your life. Ignorance of God’s will is not an excuse if you don’t have intentional obedience.As soon as God gave the command to Abraham, he got up in the morning and got started. We are to have an immediate obedience. There’s no delay. As soon as possible he got on the road to do exactly what God told him to do. Procrastination is a form of disobedience. Has God told you to say something, give something, do something and you’re waiting? Don’t wait. Real obedience is immediate obedience.We are to have an impassioned obedience. Not reluctant. Not pouting. Not dragging. We need to serve Jesus Christ in these days in which we live with a burning, blazing passionate, emotional love for Jesus Christ. I’m sure it was a struggle to Abraham. But thank God he passed the test.CAN I TRUST GOD WITH THE PROMISES HE HAS MADE TO ME?In Hebrews 11:18-19 we read, “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.” Now that’s antithetical to the promise. Because the promise said, said in this son you’re going to be blessed. “Of whom it was said, that in Isaac shall thy seed be called….”. How did he do it? In verse 19, it states: “Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.”
Abraham had already learned that God is the God of the impossible. God had given him a son when he was a hundred years of age. Can you see him walking out of the maternity ward on a cane? “It’s a boy!” One hundred years old. Sarah was ninety years of age. Her womb was dead. He knew that God is a God of miracles. His faith was steadfast to believe God.Abraham did not know how God would do it. He just simply knew that God would do it. God did not let Abraham sacrifice Isaac. Why? It wasn’t Isaac that God wanted, it was Abraham. God said, “Now I know that you love me more than you love anything else.” What is the heart of the message? If you love it, let it go. If it is yours, you’ll get it back. And if not, you will be saved from a fate worse than death and that is, holding on to something that would be an impairment to your spiritual life. Jesus said, “if you love your life, you lose it. If you lose it for my sake and the gospels, you’ll find it.”Abraham was “Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead…”. The word “accounting” literally means “considered” or “to calculate”. It’s the Greek word, we get our word “logistics” from, that we get our word “logic” from. Abraham is calculating. He’s saying, “God, You gave me this boy. I can trust You with him. Lord God, You have a purpose. I can trust You with it. Lord God, You made a promise, then I reckon on it. You’re going to keep Your word. You cannot lie. I don’t have to understand. I don’t have to parade it past the judgement bar of my knowledge.” God gave him back his son. And Abraham called the name of that place, “Jehovah-Jireh”. God will provide.There was a ram there to take Isaac’s place. He was there no sooner, no later than he was needed. For God is always on time. Is there any good gift that you’re unwilling to surrender? I’m not talking about the bad things. I’m talking about the blessings. It may be your finances. It may be your health. It may be your grandchildren. Is there any obedience that you’re not willing to perform even though it seems contradictory to what you think is God’s way for you? Is there any promise that you cannot trust God with even when it doesn’t make sense? Remember, we don’t live by explanations, we live by promises.
You may say, “God, I don’t, I don’t want this kind of test. The faith that cannot be tested, cannot be trusted. God wants you to be strong in faith. For without faith it is impossible to please God. Do you know what the Bible says about Abraham? Jesus said, “Abraham saw My day and was glad.” He saw the coming Messiah.The Messiah that Abraham trusted is the one we must trust today. He’s the one who wants to save us and help us today. I promise on the authority of the Word of God, He will forgive every sin and will fulfill every promise.Until The Last Person Has Heard,Dr. James. O. DavisFounder/PresidentGlobal Church NetworkCochair / Global Networking