What's Up With Faith?

Hebrews 11:17-19 - NIV

By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received 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 raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.

A Test

Abraham was originally known as Abram. He moved out of the land of Ur because of a supernatural call on his life; during his sojourn God made a covenant with him and changed his name to Abraham.

There came a time when God ordered Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac, the one through whom all the peoples of the earth were to be blessed. It is clear from the narrative that the reader has a vital piece of information to which Abraham is not privy: God’s directive was a test of Abraham.

The Plot Thickens

The patriarch’s faith was never more real or vital than when he gathered supplies and saddled up a donkey for what was to be a three day journey to Mount Moriah. He proceeded with determined diligence. What was his mood? What did he tell Isaac? We are given no indication of any conversation between father and son until they arrived at the designated spot and made preparations for a sacrifice.

When Isaac remarked that they had everything required for a burnt offering except a lamb, Abraham spoke with a faith-fused confidence that is stunning: “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”

Abraham built an altar, arranged the wood and then he tied up Isaac and put him atop the killing place. Did Isaac squirm and scream in protest or was he docile and submissive? We have no idea; what we do know is that Abraham took the knife to the grim task, but before he could slit his son’s throat God intervened.

We are told that a voice called out from heaven commanding Abraham to stop: “Do not lay a hand on the boy. Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

It was at that moment Abraham saw a ram had gotten its horns all tangled up in a nearby thicket. He caught hold of the animal and proceeded to do what was necessary to sacrifice it as a burnt offering instead of Isaac. Did father and son celebrate in worship together? Were they in awe of the experience? All we can say for sure is that because of how his faith was answered by Divine activity Abraham named the site, The LORD Will Provide.

Faith can be easy & automatic when blue skies are on the horizon, but . . .
Faith can be easy & automatic when blue skies are on the horizon, but . . .
. . .when the cruddy crappola of life darkens our path, faith becomes a deliberate choice.
. . .when the cruddy crappola of life darkens our path, faith becomes a deliberate choice.

Questions

Faith is not the absence of doubts or fears; since Abraham was entirely human he likely had a head-full of doubts and fears. After all, God did not explain that it was a test; God did not want Abraham to kill Isaac; he wanted him to sacrifice Isaac in his heart; he wanted Abraham to let go of this child through whom God was going to fulfill his promises to Abraham.

God wanted Abraham to put faith to work so that he could come to comprehend that all the answers to his questions resided in God’s domain. It was a test to deepen Abraham’s capacity for faith and develop his character.

When life is all blue skies faith can be an easy breezy sail on calm waters. In fact in the good times faith can get lazy and atrophy sets in. It is in those difficult and dark places that the muscles of faith are stretched and take on definition.

Life happens with all its cruddy crappola and the sludge threatens to drown us; we feel like faith is a faraway life-preserver that cannot be reached. The accumulated disappointments of life can be weights around our ankles dragging us to the bottom, where in severe distress we collapse to our knees and cry out:

Why God? Why did I lose my job? Why did my friend die? Why is our son in jail? Why am I getting ground up? Why are our finances always circling the bowl? Why is this happening? Why…why…why...why God?

Questions like these do not take God by surprise; even if our emotions run high as we ask them. His comprehension of our humanity is omniscient; his compassion for us has no limitations; he invites us to cast all our cares and burdens on him.

Answers

What’s up with faith is this: Faith is not a magic pill that makes the difficult crud of life vanish; faith IS an active choice of learning to coexist with all the questions that life generates. Faith transcends understanding; it certainly did so in Abraham’s life. Abraham did not argue with God; he merely reasoned that God was in control; he simply pressed on by taking God at his word.

Abraham’s story teaches us that God desires dependence on him. God did not explain himself to Abraham and God does not explain himself to us. We are tested; we go through hard stuff and have to make difficult choices and decisions. Like Abraham we will be asked to release what we dearly love into God’s care.

We may be a quivering mass of anxiety but faith gains strength as we hold all the questions before God with a determination that he will provide the answers at exactly the right moment; faith gains strength as we cling to the truth Abraham learned in his time of extreme testing: The LORD Will Provide.

When those times of testing come and come they must, we can grumble or we can trust that God has all the answers necessary as he is at work in our lives.

More by this Author


Comments 18 comments

RevLady profile image

RevLady 6 years ago from Lantana, Florida

Ken, this is such a beautiful explanation of faith and how God interacts with His children. I particularly noted and appreciated "he wanted Abraham to let go of this child through whom God was going to fulfill his promises to Abraham." I think this is important for all struggling with "letting go" to understand it in the context of our faith in God.

I also agree that there must have been doubts and fears floating around in Abrahams’ head and pain in his heart. After all, we are talking about His son. Nevertheless, he had faith in his God and was obedient.

Thank you for bringing back to the forefront of my awareness, God truly is the answer.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with His joy.

Love and hugs,


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

RevLady - Thank you for your thoughtful & very encouraging words. They are very much appreciated.

May your Thanksgiving be a celebration of God's goodness & be blessed by family & friends.


auntiesam19 6 years ago

Such a beautiful reminder...just this morning I was talking with the Father about feelings of frustration...feeling like I just have no idea where my life is headed right now, and asking him what it is he wants from me. He said to me, "You just love me, trust me, and keep seeking me; I'll handle the rest" Then I read this, and God "handled the rest" for Abraham. I know He'll do the same for me.


starbug5052 6 years ago

Thanks for the reminder of our faith. Beautiful and encouraging Hub. I enjoyed reading your Hub. Thanks for sharing it. It was very inspiring to me.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Amen, Sam. Lots of time walking by faith means having the perseverance to just keep putting one foot in front of the other even though you do not really know where you are going. Be blessed & encouraged on your journey.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

starbug5052 - Thank you for your kind words. I am grateful this Hub encouraged you. Blessings & peace to you.


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 6 years ago

Ken R. Abell, This is wonderful! It is through FAITH our TRUST and dependency on God is strengthened! The story of Abraham is a wonderful example because we can see what transpired because of His faith.

This is so true as you stated: "God wanted Abraham to put faith to work so that he could come to comprehend that all the answers to his questions resided in God’s domain. It was a test to deepen Abraham’s capacity for faith and develop his character.

As God's children we are going to go through some things on this side of heaven. We must perservere and lean on Him! He is always there and if necessary will again provide "a ram in the bush" in our hour of need! Thank you for sharing, Blessings!


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

DeBorrah - Thank you for your good & encouraging words. Abraham is most definitely a hero from whom we can continue to learn lessons. Blessings to you.


JimLow 6 years ago

Ken,

I absolutely love the definition of "faith" you have given in this Hub - what a blessing it was to read it!

Another thing I see in God's test of Abraham is an aspect of the covenant he made with him. With Abraham being willing to offer his son, this executed that covenant that resulted in God doing the same by offering his Son to the world!

As his word promises - "..draw near to God and he will draw near to you." James 4:8


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thanks, Jim. Peace & blessings to you.


Rose Ella Morton profile image

Rose Ella Morton 6 years ago from Beverly Hills, Michigan

Great hub Ken

I remember as a child i couldn't understand why in the days of Jesus, People kill their best animal for a sacrifice. Even to make it more clear it had to be without blemish. God wanted Abraham to be willing to give what was most sacred to him, which was his son.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Rose - Thank you for stopping by & sharing. Blessings & much encouragement to you.


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 6 years ago from California

Great insight Ken: "God did not explain that it was a test." Based on Abraham's experience, any and every question we have concerning our life in God is answered in the crucible of faith. Truth about ourselves and about God comes through testing. Every time of testing is an opportunity to know God. You have an excellent hub here. Lot's to process and reflect on.


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 6 years ago from California

Great insight Ken: "God did not explain that it was a test." Based on Abraham's experience, any and every question we have concerning our life in God is answered in the crucible of faith. Truth about ourselves and about God comes through testing. Every time of testing is an opportunity to know God. You have an excellent hub here. Lot's to process and reflect on.


HOOWANTSTONO profile image

HOOWANTSTONO 6 years ago

Hi there

Its amazing how many Godly truths are placed on Abraham offering up Isaac.

Abraham carrying out the motions of God the Father Isaac a son carrying out the motions of Jesus Christ on the cross. Yet Isaac was human and born in sin and with blemish also why he would never have been accepted as the sacrifice.

Yet God directed him to the RAM a prototype of Jesus the Adult sacrifice a man a RAM with scars of life, and a thorn bush around its head, like a crown of thorns, all symbols of Jesus yet as with the RAM no sins (animals cant sin), Jesus with no sin and yet blemished by punishment for us scars from the whip.

Peace


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

HOOWANTSTONO - Thanks for your good words. You are absolutely right; there are some profound truths packed into the Abraham/Isaac story. Peace & blessings to you.


Celia Myers profile image

Celia Myers 6 years ago from Canada

I enjoyed this hub Ken. Thank you. So many times in our daily lives our faith is tested. So many times we fail that test. Yet God is ever faithful.

It took me a number of years to realize that God's blessings are as much through the difficult times as the easy ones--maybe more.

Love in Christ


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Amen, Celia. God is ever faithful. Blessings & peace to you.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working