The Faith Of Abraham (The Patriarchs)
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. 20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. 21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
The continuation of Abrahams faith - We are now in part 3 of The Faith of Abraham and it’s significant to note the growth of one man’s faith into a faith bases community. This is a powerful aspect of faith. Faith, by nature, grows beyond ourselves.
28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. 29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
From our passage we can see that Abrahams faith grew and became Sarah’s faith and then Isaac’s faith and Jacob’s and Joseph’s.
As the Apostle deals with this portion of Abraham’s faith he recalls to memory the climax of his faith in the historical account. This story holds great importance and emphasis to the Hebrew people. This story is proof of Abrahams faith and God’s acceptance of his faith and therefore God’s acceptance of the nation of Israel. It’s a picture of the gospel for us looking back and it was a prophecy of the gospel looking forward.
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
Abraham was tried.
God tries our faith. God does not temp to sin but he does put our faith to the test.
2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
He doesn’t test our faith so that He can know how strong our faith is. He knows already. He tries our faith because he wants us to be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
He wants us to persevere, to be overcomer, more than conquerors.
God’s test of Abraham, was for him to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice.
1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. 2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. 3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? 8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. 9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 11 And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. 12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. 13 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. 14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.
How was Abraham able to let go of the promised seed whom he loved
By faith. In what was Abraham’s faith made so strong and sure. Two things mentioned in our passage.
Faith in God’s Word
18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
God had promised that in Isaac his seed would be called, that is the promise given to him at the beginning that God would make him a great nation that all families of the earth would be blessed through this nation. that promise was confirmed to Abraham that this would happen through Isaac without question. And Abraham believed God’s word so much that even though this command seemed to contradict God’s promise Abraham knew that God could not contradict Himself. So he knew that God must have a plan in this that is beyond his own understanding. There are trials that will come into our lives that seem on the surface to contradict the promises of God, that He loves me, that He will never leave me or forsake me, that all thing will work together for my good. When our faith is tried and it will be tried we must have faith that despite the appearance or the situation God Word is absolutely trustworthy and true.
Faith in God’s ability
19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
Abraham’s faith wasn’t that God would raise him from the dead but in God ability to do so. By this point in Abraham’s life God had proven Himself time and time again and most of all in the birth of Isaac. What was it that God said when Sarah laughed? Is anything to hard for the Lord? It was imposable for a man 100 years in age and a woman 90 years in age to conceive a child especially considering that Sarah was bearen. But it was possible with God. So Abraham accounted that it was also possible that God could raise Isaac from the dead. And that He would do so before He would ever break His word. From whence also he received him in a figure. Abraham’s obedience was so sure and absolute that he had already accounted that Isaac was dead and so when the angel stop him and God provided the ram it was as if he had received Isaac back from the dead. When our faith is tried and it will be tried. We must believe that all things are possible with God.
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
We all know the story. Jacob bought the birthright from Esau for a bowl of lentil soup. And so Jacob deceived Isaac by pretending to be Esau with the help of Rebecca. But there were always a couple of things that didn’t seem to add up in this story to me. One, why was Isaac so easily deceived. Jacob used goat hair to make his arms hairy like Esau’s but surely even a blind man can tell the difference between goats hair and human hair. Also why after Isaac realised that he had blessed Jacob instead of Esau could he not just bless Esau instead? And then I read this verse. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau. It was God who had chosen Jacob over Esau
10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; 11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
And so no doubt God allowed Jacob to be successful in his deception of Isaac and so I believe (this is my theory anyway) that Isaac realised when that God had allowed him to be deceived by Jacob and because of his faith that God in sovereign he respected the outcome and for that reason he refused to undo what had been done.
But also it was by faith that Isaac blessed them saying that nations would bow down to Jacob, that Esau would have dominion when in their current state they were still dwelling in tents. Isaac had faith in the promise given to Abraham and it was by that faith that he blessed them
21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
Again the focus is on the blessing that was passed down. When Jacob bless Ephraim and Manasseh they were dwelling in the land of Egypt but Jacob reassures them that God had promised his seed the land of Canaan. Jacob wanted to remind them that this was not their home but that God would certainly take them from the land of Egypt back to the land which He had promised to his seed for an everlasting possession. When our faith is tried and it will be tried we must find assurance that this is not our home but that God will certainly return to take us into our promised heavenly inheritance.
22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
24 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 25 And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. 26 So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.
I don’t believe that Joseph made promise to take his remains with them because he was overly concerned with where he was buried. I believe that he made this request in order to give hope that God would bring them back to the land of Canaan one day. I’m sure that ever time they would see Josephs coffin they would remember we have been given a land and God will take us back to that land as he promised. Israel went through one of the most trying times during the 400 years they were in Egypt. They became salves to the Egyptians, were beaten over worked and treated very poorly. But they had the hope that they would be delivered. In these four examples of faith we can see what empowered the patriarchs to endure the trying of there faith. So when the trying of our faith comes and it will certainly come. Lets learn from the patriarchs, believe God Word regardless of your circumstances, have faith in God’s ability. Nothing is imposable for our God. Trust in God’s sovereignty. He is in control and He does have a plan. Find assurance in the promises of God and place your hope securely in Christ and remember that God tries us because He loves us and He wants to perfect us through patience.