“Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you” (Genesis 22:1–3).
What an unimaginable challenge! Isaac was the son for whom Abraham and Sarah had waited all their lives. He was to be the fulfillment of God’s promises. But now God was going to take it all away?
Three heart-wrenching days after the command the journey to the mountain is complete. Abraham gives instructions to the men with him, “Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you” (Genesis) 22:5). Can you hear Abraham’s voice breaking? See the confusion on Isaac’s face? Hear the father of the faithful weep?
But let’s focus on another detail. “Abraham said to his young men, I and the boy will go..and come again. The boy and I will return?! What about the sacrifice? Abraham and Isaac are familiar with sacrifice. They know the sacrifice must die. It must be slaughtered. It must be burned. How will they both return? FAITH!
FAITH LOOKS BEYOND THE IMMEDIATE
Hebrews 11:17-19 tells us, “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.”
I don’t know what you are going through, but I know that you are going through something. God knows too. Paul suffered much, but he trusted much and accomplished much. He wrote, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Co 10:12–13). Look beyond and trust Him.
FAITH LOOKS BEYOND PERSONAL POWER
Confronted with a situation that was beyond his control, Abraham decided to trust and obey God. That is faith. To know what must be done and to know not how it can be done. Paul described the wonderful power of God in providence in Romans 8:28-30, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
That faith that looks beyond is seen in Christ. Those words, “this day you shall be with me in paradise” reverberate through the centuries and our hearts. What comfort could have been supplied to the thief? Only the comfort that faith would supply. Simply to trust the Savior dying on the cross.
FAITH LOOKS BEYOND TO GOD
Faith is a system of submission. We see that it is a system in Galatians 2:15-16, “yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” The contrast is between the Old Testament system and the New Testament system. Many times we like Abraham will not understand the system, but we can obey God’s system—the law of faith or New Testament Christianity.
The initiation into the family of God, baptism (Galatians 3:26-27), is, in fact, an act of faith. It is trusting in the power of God (1 Peter 3:21). It is a look beyond my personal power to save to the power of God to save (Titus 3:4-5). It is an act of entrusting and trusting as we are born again (John 3:3-5). It is when we are able to live for Jesus, having crucified the old man by faith (Galatians 2:20).
LORD, I BELIEVE. HELP THOU MY UNBELIEF
Dale Carnegie wrote of interviewing Henry Ford when Ford was seventy-eight years of age. He had expected to find a gaunt, nervous old man. When asked if he worried, Ford replied, “No. I believe God is managing affairs and He doesn’t need any advice from me. With God in charge, I believe that everything will work out for the best in the end. So what is there to worry about?” ( G. Curtis Jones, 1000 Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1986), 134).
“LORD, thank you for all you have done. Thank you for the evidence which I may trust. Thank you for the examples of faithful in the Bible and in your church. Thank you for the system of faith I may follow. LORD, build my faith.”