June 29, 2008
Proper 8 (A)
Believing Like You Mean It!
All of us have trusted someone with our lives. We may have done so as we boarded an airplane placing our lives in the hands of the pilots. We may have had surgery trusting our lives to a surgical team. Trusting someone with your life is really trusting.
Abraham trusted God like he meant it. We see that in these verses. We see that believing like you mean it is trusting God with your life and future. How do we believe like we mean it?
“Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Here I am!’, he replied. Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.’” What in the world was God doing?
We must understand two things. First, what it means that God sought to test Abraham. The word translated as “test” means to test something to prove its quality or value. God was proving the authenticity of Abraham’s claimed faith.
Second, we must remember that Isaac is the child of promise. God promised Abraham he would be the father of many nations. This young man, Isaac, is the embodiment of that promise. Now God wants Abraham to sacrifice him? Abraham must have felt more than a little confused. Will he go through with it?
It took them three days to reach the place of the sacrifice. Abraham instructed his servants to stay put. He and Isaac would go, worship and both return. They would both return? Abraham knew who Isaac was. He also knew who God was. He was convinced that one way or another Isaac would return with him alive.
Isaac asked Abraham a question. “I see the wood and the fire for the sacrifice, but where is the ram?” Abraham replied, “God will provide the ram for the sacrifice.” More literally it reads, “God will see to the ram for the sacrifice.” God will see to it. That was what Abraham believed. That was what Abraham lived. So, onward they walked.
Abraham built the alter. He arranged the wood on that alter. He tied up his son and laid him on top of the wood. Abraham reached for the knife and took hold of it. At the last moment God called out to Abraham, “Now I know that you fear God because you would not withhold even your only son whom you love!” The account continues. Exactly as Abraham knew, God indeed provided the ram.
Why could Abraham trust God like he meant it? First, Abraham knew God because had a relationship with God. Abraham learned about God and his character through his relationship with God. Because Abraham knew God he knew God would see to it. As you read along and see his life you see that over time Abraham grew in his relationship with God. Faith was a relationship lived and grown over the course of his life. As he grew closer to God his faith matured and became stronger until we find him at this point in his life. He knew God would see to whatever needed to be seen to. God would provide. Abraham could believe God this deeply because Abraham knew God. do we grow so that we believe God like we mean it?
Authentic faith is trusting God like you mean it. How do we get to where Abraham was? First, we must know God. If God is simply an idea you think about it is difficult to trust an idea with your life. When you accept Jesus as your savior by grace through faith God becomes far more than an idea. God becomes real in your life. He can be known through his Son. And you can know him here and now.
Second, trusting God as Abraham trusted him is a life long commitment that grows over time in your life. Ask God to make that process happen in your life.
Third, realize there are times when the only way our faith grows is having to use it. We would not the depth of Abraham’s faith until he used it. It is the same for us.
Believing in God like you mean it is living the conviction that God will see to it. That conviction is born from a growing relationship with God over the course of your life. Trust God to see to it. Trust God like you mean it!