Sunday, October 23, 2011

“Son, let’s take a walk…trust me.”  息子よ 歩こう わたしを信頼しなさい。

#3 Abraham and Isaac.
Last week the promise was given. Today, we will look at the first birth of Abraham, the Father of Many.
This is found in Genesis 21
Vs 2, Sarah had a child in her old age
Vs 5. Abraham was a hundred years old!
Sarah: “God has brought me laughter!”
Vs 13—deals with his other child. Ishmael and Hagar was sent away but God would bless that boy because he was a son of Abraham—not the son on promise but will become a nation as well. 
Chapter 21 ends and that lead to a testing in Ch. 22.

God calling Abraham again.
Abraham said “Here I am.” He was ready. He was available to His God. How ready are you?

Go and sacrifice “your only son, Isaac, whom you love, go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”

And Dad responded quickly—the very next morning.  He took with him, wood, two servants and some fire and took off.

I find it interesting that he did not say a word to his wife. Was this a way to show his love to her? What would she say? 

Illustration: _ To prove his love for her, he swam the deepest river, crossed the widest desert and climbed the highest mountain. She divorced him: he was never home. Rose Sands, The Saturday Evening Post.

Let’s continue: He was told this deed to do and left in the morning. Third day of traveling- found the location—saw it in a distance.

He spoke to the servants: “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”   

 “WE”  Not, “I will come back alone…” His son hears this as well.

Then: 6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together,

Then son spoke up…  “Eh, Dad?” 
“Yes, my Son?” 
 “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

God is leading Abraham to do something very wild! Way out of the ways He had been leading Abraham before. Out of character with what we now know of God. Abraham did not have a long history with this God, so how did he know this was going to be OK?  Was the belief in the promises (the covenant) so strong within him, that he just did not doubt? We will find that to be true-but first, consider this.

We have to look at this in light of the rest of Scripture. Had God done anything like this before?  Well, yes, He did.  With Noah.  He destroyed the whole earth and killed everyone in the earth except for Noah, his wife and his three sons and their wives. But not to a father on a child.  This was unique.  

In the New Testament, Jesus did something out of the ordinary when He cursed the fig tree. Mark 11: 12-14, 20-25.  When we read something like this, we NEED to put it in the light of the whole of Scripture. This narrative is full of difficulties.  We need to hold tightly to our principles of the interpretation of the Bible. Reminding ourselves of certain principles of Biblical interpretation.  To guard us of coming up with strange explanation of the passage #1 I must interpret the obscure by the clear. And the partial by the more complete. 

When you come to a passage like this, you HAVE to put it together with other passages that are more complete. Because some passages –at first reading—seem to be really difficult to understand. First say: “This is difficult to understand.” Start with the position of being humble and meek rather that saying I really understand this. 

2nd , comparing Scripture with Scripture and let scripture check my understanding. IF I come up with a different understanding of the Bible that runs contra or opposes the clear teachings of the Bible, than I would be 100% wrong with my interpretation  of the passage.

3rd , I must use the OT to understand the NT and in reading the OT, I will read it in relationship to the New, and see it as the fulfillment in Jesus.  This whole story in Chapter 22 is a foretaste of what God would be doing with His own Son.  The parallels are huge! God provided a sacrifice that could take the cost of the sin—that of His only Son, Jesus. God took the life of the Lamb of God to take away the sins of Mankind. 

4th , I must take deep care to understand each separate passage and not doing so in isolation. Is this unique? Does God do anything like this in other passages? Is it literal or figurative; is it actual, or metaphorical? Is it one of the figures of speech like hyperbole, simile or metaphor.  Is the language largely proverbial language?  

 IE, Jesus saying “I am the Door.”  He is not a door but the Son of God, so the meaning takes on a different sense.  When He said, “this is My Body”—He did not become bread-it is a descriptive device to give special meaning.

So, what do we have here? Does God tell Abraham to kill his son or was it a metaphor. Did God say take the life of his child? YES, He did. And what was Abraham’s thoughts on this?  “We shall both return.” He was convinced that God would raise his own son from the dead!  Never seen it but…

So, we look at 

Hebrews 11: 17-19 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.

It was God’s promise to Abraham. And Abraham understood that you can't break God's promises by leaning on them!  He trusted God THAT much! He believed God! God said it! Period!

How goes your trust level? Do you trust God? Do you trust me? Do you trust your spouse? Your child? Your parent? Your brother or sister? Does trust come into the picture when it comes to families getting along? Does trust come into the picture here at ICCS? Do we trust each other? Let me say this hard statement: If you don’t trust each other here—who you do see, how in the world can you say you trust God—who you can’t see?  

Trust is a heavy issue, isn’t it? Do you trust that God has you here for a purpose? Does God make mistakes? Well, He isn’t asking us to slice the neck of our child—or does He? I am in no way suggesting that God is asking you to kill your family member! No, but as a matter of simply trusting God, could you trust Him more? Is He worthy of that trust?

I say He is! And it is not just because I need to preach a sermon on this: I need to live that out in my own life as well.  I must trust Him for my family needs, for my family’s future. I must trust Him for life itself! To trust Him! 

As the hymn writer puts it: O how sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take Him at His Word, Just to rest upon His promise, Just to know “Thus says the Lord!” Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I’ve proved Him over and over! O for Grace to trust Him more!   

Trust Him more!

And here we have Abraham, with knife in hand, with his only son tied to the wood-pile—who is looking up at his father with wide eyes!  Abraham looks at his son—whom he loves and is just about to plunge the knife into the boy’s neck—when he hears—“Abraham, Abraham!”  “Here I am!” 

The Lord sees that He cannot only trust Abraham but that Abraham can totally trust Him.  “Now I know that you fear God, BECAUSE you have not withheld from Me your only son.”

What a joy it must have been for this man!  “I have found favor with God!”  “He trusted me!”  “I was doing what I knew to be His leading and He will give me my son back—as it were—from the dead!” 

His mind was filled with the thoughts of how God was going to honor His Promises to him.  Now that was behind him, he looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.

All Abraham had to do was to show up and let God do what He alone was capable of doing: God provided a replacement offering! God provided it all! And for us today, that replacement offering is the Lord Jesus-His only Son!

 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” אלוהים ייתן In the modern Hebrew, this means: God will give.  In Japanese, it is: 神が提供されます。

God saw Abraham’s need and He provided. 

Jehovah-Jireh: This was the Name by which God revealed Himself to Abraham, "Jehovah-jireh." It may be translated in three ways. It could be translated "The Lord will See," or "The Lord will Provide," or "The Lord shall be Seen." However we translate this Name of our God, Jehovah-jireh expresses the idea of God seeing and of God being seen. For God, to see is to provide. You know how we sometimes say, "I will see to it," when we mean, "I will take care of it," or "I will provide for it." That is the meaning here.

The gift of the Lord Jesus Christ as our Substitute is a provision that secures all other conditions. 
Romans 8:32: "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" 

He will give us all things we need according to His purposes.  He will give us all things promised in the covenant. He will give us all things in heaven. He has given us His OWN SON as our Lord: all we need to do is to do as Abraham did: he looked up and saw his offering.  You-look up and see your Savior waiting for you. He has provided His Son for you all. Put your faith in God.  Trust Him. He provides salvation to all who call on Him.

And then the chapter ends with God remaking His promise to Abraham. “I swear by Myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed Me.”

 19 Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.

Obey God. Look to Him. 
Let Him provide. 
And thank Him by living a life set apart for His Glory.