I hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving. My day (and weekend) was blessed with a house full of family, fun and FOOD! Now back to faith.
The ultimate faith producer, in my opinion, is to believe. Believe that God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for your sins. Believe God’s promises of the Bible. Believe that He has a plan for your life. Believe that He loves you and stands by you every moment of the day.
If it weren’t for my belief in God’s plans for me, I would probably want to stay in my home and never face the world. The desires He has placed in my heart and the promises He has spoken to me keep me going. I've been waiting for quite awhile to see those plans accelerate. There are days, though, when the world overwhelms me and I question that plan. That is when I need to head directly to the word of God or on my knees in prayer. I need to strengthen the beliefs of my faith.
I look at Abraham -- when God asks him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac.
God had promised Abraham many offspring and told him He would make Abraham into a “great nation.” Abraham was 75 years old at this time, and he and his wife, Sarah, were unable to have children.
When Abraham was 86, Sarah tired of waiting for a child and offered him her maidservant to bear one for him. Ishmael was born and caused nothing but problems in their lives because they had gone outside of God’s plan for them.
Abraham waited 11 years from God's promise before Ishmael is born. I would imagine Abraham knew all along that having a child with Hagar was not right. He wanted to please Sarah, though. He forgot, for a moment, about God’s promise to him. So, he and Sarah took the human footsteps. (Happy wife, happy life.)
At the age of 99, Abraham again heard from God who tells him in Genesis 17:2-4, “I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers…you will be the father of many nations.” Sarah has their first child at the age of 90, 24 years after God made His initial promise to Abraham.
So Abraham and Sarah, FINALLY have this miracle child whom they’ve longed for and what does God do? He asks Abraham to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering to Him.
What?? All those years of waiting and God wants Abraham to give Isaac back?? What about His promises?
Abraham, obviously, would be a bit upset by this, but he faithfully proceeds with what God asks him. Although his human circumstances contradict God's promises, he chooses to believe all God has spoken to him. He hoped God would resurrect Isaac because of His promise of offspring. That is what enables Abraham to continue.
I can’t even allow my mind to wander down this road. That would be the ultimate sacrifice to me, giving up a child. But Isaac’s faith sees him through. And what does God do? He stops Abraham at the last moment and spares Isaac’s life.
In Genesis 22:15, the angel of the Lord says to Abraham, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.”
That is the kind of faith God desires for us to have.