Abraham's Big Test
when you attended School? Did you like pop quizzes?
Did you like the fact that your teacher would say something like this? I'll look you're always responsible for the ceremony privation and you never know when I'm going to test you on this. So you may just have a pop quiz once in awhile.
An eighth grade. Mr. Goodman love to have pop quizzes. They were usually between 10,000 to 100000 points.
There is only 10 questions, but he just like in everything a high point value. You know, if you think about it though, how many times in life have you felt like life? Just threw you a pop quiz, if you know what I'm talking about, like all of sudden this happening and all the sudden you're just sitting there with a blank piece of paper with 10 numbers on it and you're supposed to write stuff down if you ever had that experience. I tell people that are dating that that it's really important to create pop quizzes in your dating relationship, you know, do hard kind of annoying things because you're going to find out something about the other person going to write things down on the list that you wouldn't normally in dating because dating as a whole usually is going places. I don't normally go wearing clothes. I don't normally wear and talking about things that don't normally talk about So that I can get to know a person in the normal way.
Today in our scripture. We're going to be watching God go ahead and give well Abraham quite a doozy. I'm a pop quiz. I could be the kind that we probably hated the most it was more like write a thousand-word essay about a subject that I'm just going to bring up but I really want my answer to be in a few short words or I should few short actions did to tell you about the store though. We need to just do a little bit of History to kind of set the story up and and give it the strength that is supposed to so last week we talked about the fact that Abraham was now a hundred years old and Sarah was ninety years old and the guide was going to keep his promise in in chapter 21 of Genesis where we're studying right now. It says the Lord visited Sarah as he had said and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. And we talked and we chuckled in fact quite a bit about the reality is what God did is he finally opened up the womb? Are Sarah and at age 90 Sarah had a baby? And we talked about just this reality of this incredible story. That was the first scene in the story is the first scene is that they had this baby in and they responded in having this baby. Okay, and the name this baby Isaac Isaac which means laughter or crack up and it really was kind of funny saying that such an old person was having this, you know, they probably had just become senior citizen of the year I D line and they also are a new parent. I'm so it just an interesting thing, but as we read on in that we find that because God was faithful and did what he said we see even in the smallest little things also. Can we see Abraham and Sarah become? obedient You know, sometimes it's easier to be obedient to God when we know that God has been faithful to us when he's asking things of us, but we don't have him tied it to a relationship or the faithfulness of God. Sometimes trusting in Him more than trusting him obeying him. It's really hard but they have just experienced this incredible promise that God gave them 25 years ago. And so they're finding a pretty easy to love you beauty and not only that but they're finding great Delight in it. And so it when Isaac is weaned at 8th Street, they're delighted. To celebrate this special day, but then we find out scene to scene 2 we find out that sometimes faithfulness causes a crisis and the crisis was Abraham already had another son named Ishmael and Ishmael like to pick on Isaac.
and Mama Bear at age 90 wasn't going to have it until she basically talked to Abraham and she he said we're not it's not going if either my way or the highway and my way is we have one son. His name is Isaac and there are no other suns in this house. This is probably incredibly hard for Abraham, but the scripture says is amazing thing in the middle of chapter 21 added. The scripture says that God spoke to Abraham and told him to do what his wife said.
And so you see that the crisis now is that the son and Hagar her mother is pushed out.
And you watched how Abraham handles all that, but the most amazing thing is you see that God is faithful even in that he takes care of his meal. We didn't get to see three last week, but seeing three like this scene 3 is Allison abimelech. Who is the the the king of that are they lived here Abraham, who's going to be God's niches going to come from Abraham is living in the land of the Philistines, which is kind of interesting to think about considering what will happen with the Philistines as we go forward. And he's already had a run-in with abimelech. He has lied to abimelech because even though in this era was 9 years old. She must have been pretty good looking and he was afraid to tell him that he was married to her. And so he said this is my ICE sister. And so abimelech takes this 90 year old woman into his Harem, you know, and remember that story and we won't get into the details of that story. But basically Abraham a Glide could have kind of a rocky relationship at this point, but it says it been Alec and by Cole the commander of his army said to Abram God is with you and all that you do until they realized that God was with Abraham and so that was an interesting opening line because in verse 23, it says now they're for swear to me before. To me here by God that you will deal you will not deal with me falsely or with my descendants or with my Prosperity posterity. But as I've dealt kindly with you, so you will deal with me and with the land where you have sojourned and so basically he's kind of he's digging out of a little bit. Nice is okay now, I'd like you to make a promise to me that you know, you've lied to me before I passed that you'll be honest with me in the future. And that we can have this honest relationship.
All of a sudden because he saw it the god work in the life of Abraham. He decided that he wanted Abraham's blessing. and Abraham's promise and Abram said I will swear this but see this interesting because before I think that he would have immediately try to figure out how can I how am I going to finagle a situation, you know because he was kind of a nervous Nellie and he was trying to figure out how to do this and all the sudden now because he's seen God working in his life all the sudden he has his new confidence and so he can approach people with confidence. And he can see things differently. You see that confidence and what he does next it says when Abraham reproved abimelech about a well water that have been like servants has seized and so all is not only did he say what you say, but hey, by the way, we got an issue now, it's interesting to think about this issue because years ago when he first came in the land, he was there with his with his nephew and they had issues over water. And so we decided the only way to solve this is for us to separate. Okay, but I also need is confidence. He said you know what? I'm I know I'm where God wants me to be right now and there's this issue where God wants me to be. So instead of being namby-pamby. I can with with confidence approach the person that maybe can solve this issue and we can solve this together. I don't think we understand that one of the things that comes along with our faith in Jesus Christ is not only do we have a different standing between ourselves in God, but we also have a different confidence to live our lives. Balsam you think God's in control and God can bless him. God can do amazing things all of a sudden when stuff happens in life instead of going home to get home. We have a confidence and that's what you see and Abraham here and we haven't always seen this in him. We've seen that he's listen to God. He's gone kind of where God wants him to go. But we've also seen just some fear into him now. Listen, he's handed was different and it's interesting as you read on to this passage. It said that have been like said he didn't know about this or he hadn't heard about this.
And then Abraham took sheep and oxen gave them to abimelech and the two men made a covenant. Does it sound familiar? If this is what God has been doing with him got it kept his promises got it done these things now all the sudden we see Abraham imitating his faith in real life in the same way. God made a covenant with me. I want to make a covenant with you. I want to handle life different in the same way. God has been gracious to me. I'm going to be gracious to you in the same way. God has kept his word to me. I have the bouncing baby boy then crack up.
I know that I now can be confident in my relationship with you. You know, I hear things occasionally and they kind of blow my mind when I hear a politician say I'm a religious a person but it doesn't affect my politics and blows my mind. Because my faith affects everything I do. It affects every way I think it affects every decision that I make it. So for you to say that you can compartmentalize your life and you want to make moral decisions to help my nation, but you want to take your faith and you want to detach it from that that just freaks me out. I can imagine it. My mind doesn't work that way that would be my faith wasn't very real as witness, but not listen to watch Abraham and he is imitating this relationship of a guy who made covenants with him. And so now he's willing to make Covenants. WhatsApp emelec Where's before when you had problems with light? It was like, okay. Here's the deal you go over there. I'll go over here. We'll just have our own thing. Now is this is I want to get along and let's see what God is getting along with me. I want to get along with you. I said you read on this is passage. It just talks about kind of the details of what that goes on but I don't want to spend time with those details.
When I want to spend time with your son, what's next I want to spend time on the pop quiz. God has been faithful to Abraham. God gave him a son. But now all the sudden in chapter 22, there's a pop quiz. After these things God tested Abraham and said to him now. This is after these things. Think about. What was that? He gave him a son. He was faithful to him. Even when you had to do hard things and an abandoned his first son. He promised his first son that he would make him a great nation. They would take care of him. Even though Abraham. Was it going to take care of him? He gave them he was so blessed that other people could see that he was blessed and the God took care of him. after all of those things that says that God tested him And said to him Abraham. but he said here am I
You know one of the things that hopefully happens as we grow in our relationship with the Lord is that we recognize Our God speaking and we immediately go hello.
You're here. Am I?
The pop quiz verse 22 verse 2. He said take your son your only son Isaac whom you love.
And go to the land of Moriah an offering there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall tell you. Wow.
Big Pop Quiz, huh? This is an essay Pop Quiz. This is not an easy pop quiz. Think of even the words that he saying here. Take your son. damn Then what is Easter next year for only so now before he had had two sons, right? He had Ishmael and Isaac, but now all the sudden he only has Isaac israels no longer in the picture God's taking care of him and he's going to turn him into a great nation. But all he has is the sun. They think that probably Isaac was somewhere in his early teen years when this took place take your son. You're only sent that this next phrase whom you love that is the first mention of the word love in Scripture.
Has not been in any of the chapters before.
But we hear that word later on Don't Lie. This is my son Jesus. God says whom I love. With him, I am well pleased. And go to the land of Mariah Mariah.
Optimum there is a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you. This a big paw quiz. Now when God asked me to do hard things, I like to ramp up to them. How about you? You know like to think of who let's confirm that you really said this and it wasn't a burrito. You know, I want to get all the facts together, you know.
Oh just interesting. This is just I'll just take us on a little side path here. this mountain that he ends up at Is the Temple mount? Is that cool? The the place that God is asking Isaac to be sacrificed will eventually be the Temple mount in Israel. Because that's where Solomon built. the temple I just think that the fact that we'll just Blitz put that in your head for a second cuz I think that fits into what happens next first three. So Abraham Rose early in the morning saddle of his donkey and took who is Ian with him and his son Isaac that he immediately obey God. This is amazing to me. He immediately a big guy. I think that that would I think that's what we need to work towards in a relationship with God. Get rid of the delay in my obedience to you and to get rid of the Hem hawing and by the feed dragon in my relationship with you. Move me to a point because you have been so good to me that I will immediately obey you. The next verse says that he cut wood from the burnt offering and Rose and went to the place which God had told him now in my mind when I read this story or when I was rethinking this or I'm thinking it's like from here to Ampersand very far away, but on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. So we immediately obeyed God and then he has to think about it for three days. Do you have to be on this journey of obedience or 3 days? For three days he watched his son banter with his friends.
And had to think about the reality of what God was asking him to do. I think the three boys were having a great time. I think Abraham was quiet.
What's one maybe Isaac would look at mrs. You look like you have a lot on your mind.
long trip then Abraham said to the young his young man stay here with the donkey and I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.
You know, I love listening to this church thing. Can you guys do a great job leading us and I'm grateful for that.
buddy obedience It's the worship the God loves the most.
He was basically saying to those boys. I'm going to go. Obey God and worship him.
You left the boys there.
And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife and so they both of them and so they went both of them together. Think about that. He took the wood of the sacrifice and placed it on his son. So that he could sacrifice his son. Does this remind you of anything?
Jesus Christ carried his cross So that they could sacrifice him.
Go on and we're seven. It says this and Isaac said to his father Abraham my father and he said here I am my son. He was attentive. We know that Abraham had been hearing, okay. He said behold the fire in the wood. But where is the Lamb for the burnt offering? You know what? I think it's really interesting here. I looked at this question of the sun and the only reason that he knew to ask this question is there must have been a regular pattern of sacrificing to the Lord in their lives? He said he knew the pattern. So all the sudden he's walking and he's got this wood on his back and his dad walking along with him and he has the knife and he has the fire somehow they're taking the fire and put it in something because they didn't have Bic lighters back then and so that you know, they didn't you know, and if you've ever watched Survivor, you can't do things if you can't start a fire, you know, and so if all of that was together and they were walking along and I'll send the sun was just like Dad. something missing here
Listen to what the father says. Edward said God will provide himself the lamb for the burnt offering my son. Until they went both of them. together
God will provide god promise me a son and today he's asking me to sacrifice their son. God will provide gave me the one thing that I can't imagine when I'm a hundred years old and I'm about a hundred and fourteen 115 and I'm climbing up this mountain with my son and it wasn't the switchbacks of Colorado know he was climbing here and the North country, you know, it was straight up that Creek Pass. That's what he was climbing up and they were doing Rock hopping and it said I was interested in Where's the lamb? And he's like looking at the Rocks, you know and The Roots and he's not wanting to look up. But he says the truth destiny. God will provide the lamb
when they came to the plates which God had told them Abraham built the altar there and he laid the wood in order. He bound his son. He laid him on the altar. top of the wood
years ago we were in the inner city and we were I was telling the story about the great sacrifice
the kids stood up in the center City Club, and he looked at me and he said would you let your son die for God? I only had one son. He was four.
I might be headed Blondie. And without hesitating I said, yes. Because that moppy had to Blondie with a lot of work to raise.
And I didn't know what I was doing and I can remember scooping up up and away arms one night. And walking him over to window is he slept in that cry message. I don't know how to race.
Keisha horse Whatever you want Ryan.
The reason I could say yes at that moment.
Was it because I'd already said yes to God. Not knowing that Stephen would get into stuff. He wasn't supposed to do that night and get into Tylenol in at 3 on that morning. We'd be in an emergency room because if he took too many Tylenol he would die.
When I say I sad. now waiting room and that downtown Chicago Emergency Room. I said this God I was kidding. I don't want my son to die. I want to live.
What's next for it just kills me. It says then Abraham reached his hand and he took the knife to slaughter his side.
This is not a fun pop quiz.
This is an easy moment. This is an incredibly hard Momin.
How can you do it? How could Abraham do that? Hebrews gives us the reason it says in chapter 11. It says by faith Abraham when he was tested offered up Isaac. And he who had received the promise was in the act of operating up his only son of whom it was said through Isaac. Shall your Offspring be named?
He considered the God was even able to raise him from the bed from the dead for which figuratively he did receive him back. I can't imagine having a mindset is like, okay. I'm going to slaughter my son because I know you're going to raise him from the dead. I can be obedient today because you have been so strong in my life. And I trust you that I can do this incredibly crazy thing because I believe that you will answer. It seems insane to me. It seems like child abuse. I actually listen to public radio talk about this every once in awhile and they just talked about it is his gray quandary. And the reason it's a great quandary is they haven't read the whole Bible. They don't understand how it's a part of a bigger story. They don't get it.
first 20 the angel of the Lord came to him from heaven and said Abraham Abraham and he says here I am. Here I am. You said do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything for him for now. I know that you fear God seeing that you have not withheld your son your only son from me.
The first commandment says this the love the Lord your God with all your heart soul. Am I that's what it says. I am the Lord your God.
I think that in every one of our life there are going to be these pop quizzes where God shows us that there's something that we're loving more than him. There's something that we worship more than him. There's something that we want more than him. There is something that is taking up space in her head that he wants to enjoy with us. It's not because he's a jerk. It's just that God's All In. God's all in and he wants to love us 100% And when we say I'm at 90% guy to goes want the other 10% What is because I love you. I want to be your complete God that you're kind of God that you're partial God that you know your weekend. I don't want to be your second home God. I want to be your God.
And the reason I put this test here is because I want to make sure in the pop quiz of your life. I'm the one you fear and not something else because see what we fear is what we worship.
Is security is what you fear. And that's going to be what you give your worship and for some of you that's going to mean that's shows how you spend your money. What you fear is what you worship what you spend your time on if you're really afraid and you don't want to think about maybe you watch too much Netflix. Maybe you drink too much. Maybe it's the way you take care of your life instead of God being the wonderful counselor, you know marijuana is your wonderful counselor because you have to self-medicate because you don't believe that. I can be 100% there for you. So you have to take somebody something and you got to put it in his place. It might be as simple as a Snicker bar.
When I am afraid. I go to Stewart's and get a Snicker bar.
And it is my comfort. God puts a pop quiz into a life just like you did Abraham and he wanted to make sure that he was still the god of Abraham's life and that this son hadn't become the god of his life. Now, none of us who are parents of every Circle that they're our kids become our gods.
God is going to play Spa quizzes in her life. Because he's a jerk but because he loves us so much that he wants all of us.
Does it and sometimes the most interesting ways for me? I've had crisis in my life and I have a great network of friends and I have good mentors and good counselors. I have all of those things in my life, but occasionally God just wants to be my wonderful counselor and social bring a crisis into my life and none of those people will be available. I can't phone a friend. I can't Google it and it's just God. It'll be really frustrating on the go. I want you to come to the mountains where your help come from your help comes from the Lord.
He doesn't want you want to be my default. He wants me to be the one that I worship.
And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked and behold behind him was a ram caught in a Thicket by its thorns. The ram was not having a good day.
Abraham went and took the RAM and he offered it on the burnt offering instead of his son.
The reason why this is important and this passage is so pivotal. It's because this is what God did for us.
Romans 8:32 says he did not spare his own son, but gave him up for all of us. How will he not also with him graciously. Give us all things.
Some of you might be struggling and taking God's been kind of a jerk and he's been kind of meeting and he cannot believe that you're thinking that because he gave you the very best thing that he had. Maybe it's not give me the little thing you want right now. We give you the very best thing that you had which was his son.
And it's uncured the wood of the sacrifice to the altar called Golgotha for you. So that you could have a relationship with God and his son much like Isaac his son knew exactly which is happening Isaac didn't figure it out until he was bound. But his son pleaded with him it gets 72. I don't want to do this. But it's not my will it's your will be done because his will was done. We are forever changed.
That's what it says here. It says this. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
The 3-day wait that Abraham had for the sacrifice was the 3 days that they waited for the Son of God to raise from the dead. He's not dead He's Alive.
And each one of us has to figure out what we're going to do with this great sacrifice that God has made for us. And realize that because he made such a great sacrifice that when we ask him to be our savior. He's already been all in for us and he's asking us to be all in for him.
He's not asking us something unreasonable. But he will create circumstances and hardships and challenges in our lives to test us.
Either so we will turn to him for the first time or we will surrender more fully to him each day.
I don't want you to be Jesus Christ estranged friend. Yeah, I knew Jesus once have you met people like that. So you go to church. No, I don't go to church. What about Jesus when you decide about you, but I'm just not into you anymore.
How many of you want to hear somebody talk about how they kind of love their wives, you know? Can you imagine a wedding ceremony that says I will honor and obey you kind of and I will love you sort of. No. This is a lease. This isn't a contract.
This story that is just so hard to understand in scripture showed that even in this crazy moment that the reason that Abraham could be immediately obedient is because he'd already figured out what he thought God was going to do. I'll sacrifice in but you'll raise them. You know you already made this promise. I know you're going to keep it. But see all the sudden we decide that we are disconnected from the promises. Don't we go there's no way this is going to work out. Got got got me be faithful to other people or we'll hear about who God is working. Somebody else's life and like I wish that would happen.
But God never really listens to me. He just listens to other people. And then instead of the body of Christ growing together and celebrating. We're like, I'm never going to go to one of those meetings again. People are going to talk about how good God is to them and he's never good to me and I don't want to hear it, so I'm not going. that's crazy doesn't but we do that don't we? in our Humanity We forget the God out of love for us.
Puts these tests in the keep us nudging back to having greater commitment to him. And in the midst of them somehow he floods over us the ways that he's already been faithful to us and he's already in the process of transforming us. The Abraham of chapter 21 is not the same as Abraham of chapter 12.
The Abraham chapter 12 could have done this. Abraham of chapter 21 new God's Great faithfulness, and so God called him to an even greater level of faithfulness cuz here's what's happened sometimes. You probably never do this. But occasionally God is just so good to me.
Then I think it's me.
I am awesome. God is using me God is doing these great things. He is so lucky to have me.
But then in the midst of that God creates another pop quizzes like wait a minute here. God is awesome. I am nothing without him. And she is so faithful to me. So here's where we're at today. For some of you you need to decide today that you're going to follow Jesus Christ for the first time. It's your day. You don't have to wait any more days. You can make another excuse today, but today could be your day. And did they say where you say Jesus Christ? I need to be my Saviour. I I can't do this myself. So I'm asking you to be my savior. Today is my day I Surrender today. I asked you to be my savior today. That might be where you're at. For some of you today might be the day where you say today. I surrender to Jesus more. I trust God more. I realize that he's placing a pop quizzes so that I'm not trying to worship Him and somebody else. But I'm worshipping him alone. Today is my day. We're out of love for me. God is saying one up the Annie and I want more of you. I don't want part of you. Part of you will get you into heaven. The part of you will not be the relationship that you desire that God desires to have with you. That's why he's wrestling with you and he loves you so very much.
In the quietness of your heart right now. What is that thing? That is the pop quiz of your life. What is he talking about? Are you willing to surrender to him today?
What's the date today? You just at the day of your salvation or today of your continue television. We began the service by singing Hosanna, didn't we do you want Hosanna means? Save me.
You need to call out to your lord and ask him to save you today. Let's friend.
Dear God I I pray that you would give us.
The ability to trust you, even in the hardest pop quizzes or what seems incredibly hard for us today. I can't imagine what you put Abraham through but then bore I can't imagine what you put yourself through. You didn't spare your sign even though you spared Abramson. He became the sacrifice that we needed to have a relationship with you. And so I pray for those people that don't have that relationship today. And I pray that today would be the day that they would ask you to be their personal suit. They pray just a simple prayer of saying they need your forgiveness. They accept you as their savior. If they want to learn to live for you and die for those of us who already have that relationship. If you put pop quizzes into our lives and show us how our heart can be divided in that. We don't fully completely. Surrender and trust you. God help us to be like Abraham and not warm up to obedience or I'll obey eventually but God make us of people that obey you immediately that obey you today and make the changes today that you are calling us to make God. Give us the Faith of Our Fathers. The faith of men like Abraham to trust you in all things. We pray this in the name of your son that great sacrifice. And all God's people said amen won't you stand with me? I'm going to Charlie to lead us in a song and
And if there's some way we can pray for you during the song. I'd courage it come forward that we have several people that that pray and we would love to help you on your journey today.