Faith on Trial
Text: Genesis 22:1-18
I. People of Great faith are Sometimes Tested by God.
A. Through Dumbfounding inconsistencies
Abraham had been promised a land, that at present was inhabited by the enemy. God had promised descendants through Isaac, and now He was demanding His death.
Proverbs 3:5 (NIV)
5Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
Joseph trusted His Dream, even when He was a prisoner.
B. Through Demanding Sacrifice
Your Only Son
Whom You Love
Sometimes God Asks of us, Those things we feel we can not part with.
* Marquis de Lafayette was a French general and politician who joined the American Revolution and became a friend of George Washington. An influential man in the U.S. and France, Lafayette was also a man of compassion. The harvest of 1782 was a poor one, but the manager of his estate had filled his barns with wheat. "The bad harvest has raised the price of wheat," said his manager. "This is the time to sell."
Lafayette though about the hungry peasants in the villages and replied, "No, this is the time to give."
Real love is often measured by our willingness to let go of what we possess.
Sometimes the thing we grip most tightly in our hands is the very thing God asks us to hand over to Him.
II. People of Great Faith are Swift to Respond to God.
A. No Protest
To voice an objection is to voice mistrust.
*Whenever you find yourself disposed to uneasiness or murmuring at anything that is the effect of God’s providence, look upon yourself as denying either the wisdom or goodness of God.
William Law (1686–1761)
B. No Procrastination
No delay when God has spoken.
* "Delayed obedience is disobedience."
"Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if
you just sit there."
III. People of Great Faith are Sure to Trust in God.
A. Trust in God's Word
He will do what he has said.
* You must train the faith. Is that possible? Yes, I will give you an
instance. Richard Cecil one day went into a room where his little girl
was-bright-eyed and happy as she could be. Somebody had just given her a box of very beautiful beads. The little child ran to her papa
immediately to show this little gift. "They are very beautiful, my
child," he said; "but now, my dear, throw them behind the fire." The
little girl looked for a moment. It was a great trial. "Now, I shall
not compel you to do it; I leave it to you. But you never knew Papa to
ask you to do a thing that was not kind to you. I cannot tell you why;
but, if you can trust me, do so."
It cost a great effort, but the little child began in her own way
to think, "Father has always been kind to me: I suppose he is right."
And she took the box and, with a great effort, threw it behind the
fire. The father said no more for some time. The next day, however, he
presented her with something far more beautiful, and which she had
long desired. "Now," said he, "my child, I did this to teach you to
trust in that greater Father in heaven. Many a time in your life He
will require you to give up and to avoid what you cannot see the
reasons for avoiding. But, if you trust that Father as you have
trusted me, you will always find it best." That was training the
William Moses Tidwell, "Pointed Illustrations."
B. Trust in God's Ability
He is able.
*I dn't have to be the little engine that says "I think I can, I think I can." I can say "I know He Can."
IV.People of Great Faith are Sweetly Recognized by God.
A. Through Present Commendation
I know that you fear God.
Can God say to you right now that you are faithful?
A great reward is a commendation that comes from one who is great.
B. Through Eternal Preservation
As God provided the preservation of the promise to Abraham, so he provides our eternal preservation through Christ.
* Until I learned to trust, I did not learn to pray, And I did not learn to fully trust Till sorrows came my way. Until I felt my weakness, His strength I never knew, Nor dreamed till I was stricken That He would see me through. Who deepest drinks of sorrow Drinks deepest too of grace, He sends the storm so He himself, Can be our hiding place. His heart that seeks our highest good Knows well when things annoy, We would not long for heaven If earth held only joy. One by one he took them from me, All the things I valued most, Until I was empty-handed; Every glittering toy was lost. And I walked earth's highway grieving, In my rags and poverty, Till I heard His voice inviting, "Lift your empty hands to me." So I turned my hands toward heaven, And He filled them with a store Of His own transcendent riches, Till they could contain no more, Then at last I comprehended, With my stupored mind and dull, That God could not pour His riches Into hands already full.