GOD DESIRES RELATIONSHIP, NOT RELIGION (Part 4: Abraham, Our Example)

 “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”  (Rom. 4:3)

Other than Christ, Abraham more than anyone else is to be our example of faith. What is so special about Abraham?

In the book of Genesis, we read of how God chose Abraham and told him to leave his idolatrous home and go to a land that He would show him. Abraham obeyed, and later God told Abraham that his descendants would be as the stars of the heavens for multitude.

In his later years, he and his wife Sarah had a son named Isaac. As Isaac grew into manhood, God told Abraham that in Isaac would his seed be called. In other words, that his descendants through Isaac would be as the stars of heaven for multitude.

Then a strange thing happened. God told Abraham to take Isaac and go to a certain mountain and offer him as a burnt sacrifice.

Most, if not all, believers would not have believed that God spoke this to them and would not have gone. This was contrary to God’s promise. How could Abraham have descendants through Isaac and they be as the stars of heaven if Isaac was dead?

Isaac had not yet married and had any children.

This was also contrary to God’s nature, for God forbade human sacrifice and said that it was an abomination to him. But yet Abraham took Isaac and went anyway. Why?

Over the years Abraham had become so familiar with God that he knew His voice and never doubted. Abraham had walked with God. He had sat in the door of his tent and ate with God.

The more time that Abraham spent with God, the more he knew His voice, His nature, His power, and His plan.

Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice and another they will not follow.” (John 10:27)

Abraham had learned that God always keeps his promise, so he knew that even though it seemed impossible for God’s promise to be fulfilled if he obeyed God, he still knew that somehow God would make his descendants through Isaac as plentiful as the stars of heaven.

Abraham knew that God would never require a human sacrifice, so he knew that something would happen to prevent it. Abraham knew that God’s power was unlimited, so that even if his son suffered death, God was able to raise him up in order to fulfill His word.

And Abraham knew that God does everything by design. He knew that God had a plan, and that everything was for a reason.

So he told his servants, “I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and WE shall come again.”

Even when Isaac asked him, “Father, here is the wood and the fire but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?”

Abraham said, “God himself will provide a lamb for a sacrifice.”

After ascending the mountain, Abraham bound his son with cords, placed him upon the wood, and raised his knife. An angel immediately appeared and called to Abraham.

“And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.” (Gen. 22:11)

“And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” (Gen. 22:12)

“And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.” (Gen. 22:13)

“And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.” (Gen. 22:14)

“And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,” (Gen. 22:15)

“And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:” (Gen. 22:16)

“That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;” (Gen. 22:17)

“And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” (Gen. 22:18)

The word “Jehovahjireh” means, “The Lord will provide”, or more literally, “The Lord will see to it.”

Abraham believed God and never doubted because he had come to know the voice of God. He also trusted God. He had come to know the nature of God.

The Bible says, “God is love.” He knew that God would never do anything contradictory to his nature, and so he knew that everything would work out for his good.

Abraham never doubted, even though the circumstances seemed against him. And because he never doubted but had faith and obeyed, God was able through this situation to foreshadow the coming of the Messiah

God was able to portray a beautiful picture of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God slain for the sins of the world so that we might go free. Because of his obedience, Abraham received a blessing from God which now the Bible says that we have inherited.

How did Abraham have the faith that never doubted, the God kind of faith? By knowing and hearing the voice of God.

Romans 10:17- “Faith cometh by hearing…”

How could Abraham have been so certain that it was God’s voice that he heard? Because he had come to know God by spending time with Him. God’s voice might be imitated, but never His nature.

Romans 10:17- “…and hearing by the word of God.”

Abraham could sit in his tent door and spend time with God to get to know Him.

God has given us His written word so that we can read it, spend time with Him in it, and get to know Him even more so than Abraham did.

“Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,” (Psalm 40:7)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)

As you daily read the word of God, you get to know Him and His nature. As you spend time with God in His word you develop spiritual hearing and learn to recognize the voice of God.

Hearing and recognizing God then causes faith to grow from the “measure of faith” to the God kind of never doubting faith.

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mat. 11:15)

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17)

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” (John 10:27)

“And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.” (Luke 8:25)

On that stormy night so long ago, Jesus addressed His disciples on three issues concerning faith. He addressed the problem of “no faith”, He addressed the problem of “little faith”, and now He addresses them concerning what may be the greatest problem of all: “Where is your faith?”

The same question could be asked of Christians today. Where is your faith?

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Next- GOD DESIRES RELATIONSHIP, NOT RELIGION (Part 5: Faith’s Direction)

All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices