To what extent will we trust the Lord? As "believers" we say that we know who God is and we know what His Son did, but when God gives a command to do something extraordinary or unconventional, how willing are we to obey in trust? These can be difficult questions to answer, not because of the complexity of the question, but because often times we're ashamed of the truth of our answer. Thankfully the Word is filled with examples of men and women who trusted God in ways that are so amazing, that it should be encouraging to modern day believers to follow their awesome example.
One of the greatest examples of this kind of faith is found in Genesis chapter 22. The Bible explains that God tested Abraham to examine the quality of trust Abraham was willing to demonstrate in the promises of God. The test was difficult. God had asked Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering. God had asked Abraham to sacrifice the son God had given him that was to be the heir of the promises God made. It likely seemed like an unusual command that didn't make sense to the mind of Abraham, but the scriptures reveal that Abraham's faith was able to carry him though the test!
In Genesis 22:3-5 the Bible explains that the day after God gave the command to Abraham to offer up Isaac, Abraham woke up early the next morning and made preparations to do as he was told. The Bible explains that Abraham got up, saddled up his donkey, took two servants with him, and his son Isaac. Abraham had prepared the wood for the burnt offering and headed in the direction that God had pointed out. The Bible does not show that Abraham asked any question or had any complaints. Even though God's command didn't make sense when considering God's promises, Abraham trusted in God's faithfulness to do as He promised, and thereby made efforts to offer up his son to the Lord.
Genesis 22:3-5 shows that when Abraham and Isaac reached the place that God desired the sacrifice to take place, Abraham stopped and told his two servants to wait behind. There are two subtle details that prove to be powerful points provided in this portion of scripture. The first detail concerns the use of the English word "worship." This is the first time that the word "worship" is used in the Bible. As Abraham dropped his stuff and told the two servants to wait behind, Abraham told the two servants that he and Isaac were going to go to the mountain to "worship." One must consider the truth of what Abraham was going to do. Abraham was going to go sacrifice his son. Abraham was not going to sing any songs. Abraham was not going to lift his hands in the air. The Bible makes no mention of instruments of any kind. Abraham was going to take the necessary steps to obey the command of God in sacrifice, and he considered that to be worship. Abraham was going to offer up his son to obey God and considered that worship. Abraham was going to lay aside his will for his son to live in order to obey the will of God, and that was considered worship. In essence, Abraham was going to die to his flesh and his desires in order to submit to the authority and purpose of God - that is worship.
The second subtle detail is in regards to the insight that Abraham had into the future. Before Abraham and Isaac left to the mountain, Abraham told his two servants that they were going to go worship, and that he AND the boy (Isaac) would return. Though Abraham had made preparations to obey the Lord's command to kill Isaac, Abraham was confident that Isaac would return with him. The Book of Hebrews explains that Abraham even considered Isaac dead in his mind because he was willing to obey the command of God, but trust in the promises of God to the extent that Abraham believed God would raise Isaac from the dead. Abraham knew who God was. Abraham knew that God was the Creator. Abraham knew that God was almighty. Abraham knew that God was faithful. Abraham trusted in the history of God to determine what God could do, and what God would do in the future. Since God had already taken miraculous steps to fulfill His promises, Abraham trusted that He would continue to do so, and that if Isaac was to be killed, God would have to raise him from the dead in order to fulfill His promises.
The scriptures reveal that the faith of Abraham was dependent on his knowledge of God. Since Abraham had a relationship with God, he knew who God was. Since Abraham had a relationship with God, he knew that God was almighty. Since Abraham had a relationship with God, he knew that God was faithful. Since Abraham had a relationship with God, Abraham was able to recognize the power and faithfulness of God in his life. Since Abraham recognized the power and faithfulness of God in his life in the past, Abraham trusted that God wouldn't change and would continue to demonstrate His power and faithfulness in the future. Abraham's understanding of God in his past caused Abraham to be confident in God concerning an uncertain future. Therefore, Abraham was able to speak confidently that he and Isaac would return back.
The Bible teaches that "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17)." The scriptures show that Abraham was able to hear the Word of God. Therefore, Abraham was able to have faith. Today the Word of God is presented in perfect form in the Bible. Hence, faith is developed in one's willingness to seek God's Word in the Bible. Then as one learns about how God is, then is willing to acknowledge the work of God in one's life, one is able to develop confidence in God's work in the future. One's knowledge of the character and nature of the Living God as described in the scriptures is directly related to the quality of one's faith. If a person is lacking in faith, that person is likely lacking in their relationship with God through the Word. If a person is strong in faith, that person is likely diligent in the Word, seeking to know God by it.
It is true that the faith of Abraham is monumentally intense and profound. There are not many people on the planet that have faith like Abraham demonstrated in Genesis chapter 22. Nevertheless, as one examines the testimony of Abraham, one should desire to have faith as he had - especially since God was so pleased with his faith as documented in Hebrews chapter 11. Therefore, if one desires to have faith like Abraham, and one desires to trust in the promises, power, and provision of God to the extent that Abraham did, one must seek to hear and know God by His Word.