Abraham's Test - Part 4

by Dr. Ken Matto

(Heb 11:17 KJV) By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.

In the above verse we read about the fourth faith test that Abraham received. God made a promise to Abraham that He would confirm the eternal covenant through his son Isaac, but then God does something surprising in that He tells Abraham to sacrifice his only son. This faith test that Abraham faced was “the faith test of apparent contradiction.” God said the promises would be kept through Isaac but then almost immediately, God is commanding Abraham to sacrifice him. I wonder what went through Abraham’s mind. On one hand, the eternal covenant is going to come through the lineage of Isaac and this cannot happen if the line is broken through death. God knew exactly what He was doing but at that point Abraham did not. However, since God made the promise to Abraham that a great eternal lineage would come through Isaac, when he went to sacrifice Isaac in an act of obedience to God, he was convinced that Isaac would return with him to his servants.

(Gen 22:2 KJV) And he 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.

(Gen 22:5 KJV) 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 to you.

This was probably the strongest test that Abraham faced. It is easy to pack up and go into the unknown and even to wait, but when you are faced with the reality that you may have to sacrifice one of your family members, then the test becomes a very over-powering test. However, there is one principle in this scenario, which is really not emphasized in the Scripture but I believe is there. Why did Abraham believe that he would return with the lad? Was it because he had hope? Was it because he felt that God would not take his son? I believe it was because Abraham remembered the Words of God concerning Isaac and the eternal covenant. That remembrance of those words allowed Abraham to take whatever action God required of him, even if it seemed like a contradiction in God’s commands. This is a great lesson for us. When we holster the promises of God in our mind, we can easily go through those apparent contradictions in which God may be working out in our life. What type of apparent contradictions do we face in our life?

(Luke 6:38 KJV) Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

You have a heart to fund God’s work and to give to missions and then you lose your job. Hey wait a minute, the Scripture says give and it shall be given to me, in excess measure too! Apparent Contradiction or Will of God?

(Mark 16:15 KJV) And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

You are accepted to go to the mission field, you have your support team in place, and are ready to leave. You go to your doctor for a final check up, he calls you two days later and tells you that you have Pancreatic Cancer and 6 months to live. Apparent Contradiction or Will of God?

(1 Tim 3:1 KJV) This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

A young man goes to Bible College and then Seminary, gets married and then begins to send his resume out for a Pastorate. He is contacted by a church who has not had a Pastor in over a year, so he accepts the position and begins to drive a thousand miles to his destination. He arrives at the church and begins his duties, two weeks into his ministry he is cleaning the gutters on his house and falls off the ladder and is permanently paralyzed. Apparent Contradiction or Will of God?

These three examples teach us that not every promise is for every Christian. The Will of God determines where the promises of God fit into the life of a Christian. God’s Word is definite and final so when we run into an apparent contradiction, it is the will of God being implemented in a person’s life. It was the will of God for Isaac to live because he had a different purpose in life than being an instrument of sacrifice for his obedient father. It was through his line that the Lord Jesus Christ would eventually come into the world. Now let us look at an overriding promise of God which would be apropos for the above three examples.

(Heb 13:5 KJV) Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

WOW! Content with paralysis? Pancreatic cancer? Content with job loss? No matter what situation the Lord places us in (notice I said “places us in” not “finds us in”) our contentment is to be in Him. We can never be content in our situations. Even when we have everything going our way, our contentment is always to be found in Christ because when those times come that we dread so much, He has promised to never leave or forsake us. A rough situation does not constitute an abandonment by God or the negating of His promises in Scripture. Just look to Him to be your contentment in whatever situation you find yourself in, whether permanent or temporary. After all, when you get down to it, it is all temporary.

(2 Cor 4:16-18 KJV) For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. {17} For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; {18} While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.    (4/4/03)