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Trusting God’s Providence

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
September 6, 2021 12:01 am

Trusting God’s Providence

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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September 6, 2021 12:01 am

When Isaac asked his father what they would sacrifice on Mount Moriah, Abraham replied, "God will provide for himself the lamb" (Gen. 22:8). Today, R.C. Sproul considers how the faith of Abraham teaches us to trust in the providence of God.

Get R.C. Sproul's Teaching Series 'Providence: God In Control' as a Digital Download and a copy of R.C. Sproul's book 'The Invisible Hand' for Your Gift of Any Amount:

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What will you do in your faith in Christ is challenged. Hi Steve Nichols here. I want to invite you to join us on September 18, on the campus of Reformation Bible college for always ready youth apologetics conference with licking your ministries designed for Christians ages 12 to 18. This event helps you defend the gospel and talk about your faith with non-Christian friends.

Learn more and register ready in obedience to God. Abraham took his son Isaac up to the mountain to sacrifice Isaac asked Abraham father. We have the wooden fire but where is the lamb for the offering here is the first concrete reference in biblical history to the doctrine of providence, the words that Abraham speaks to his son. Are these Jehovah Chai the Lord will provide. What's Abraham say the only hope we have right now son is the providence of God.

That's next on Renewing Your Mind.

This story found in Genesis chapter 22 is an astounding account of a man who trusted God's goodness. Abraham didn't just believe in God, he believed God this week on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. RC Sproul examines the often neglected doctrine of providence, explaining that God works up all things for the good of his children doctrine is life. That may sound strange to you but is worth studying the doctrine of providence. It's easy for us to make the fatal mistake, but doctrine is something abstract something that is relegated merely to the level of cognition that never touches us where we live. I can't think of any doctrine that touches us more frequently or more deeply than the doctrine of providence because this doctrine is about how God is intimately related to my daily life. And again. It's easy for us to say that we believe in the providence of God in terms of a mere intellectual assent of its truth but to believe in the New Testament, meaning is to trust someone or to trust something and the trust in the providence of God means to trust God for my very life in the Scriptures we see not mere abstract doctrines, but we see concrete examples taken from daily life and the lives of the people of God when they are called upon to exercise faith in this sense, in the sense of trusting God for their lives and I think one of the most poignant examples of that found anywhere in Scripture is in the story of Abraham on the occasion when God called Abraham to exert faith and trust in divine providence, to a degree that was excruciating. I say of course of the record that we find in the 22nd chapter of Genesis 1, God comes and puts Abraham to a test and this test is a test of one's faith in providence. Let's look at it briefly together. Genesis 22 begins with these words.

Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham and he said to him, Abraham again before we look at what follows here. We have to notice the important distinction between a test and a temptation, the devil comes to human beings with temptations, but Scripture says let no one say when they are tempted that they are tempted by God. God never tempts anyone in the sense of enticing or provoking them to sin, but he will put us to attest, and the test is a test of faithful obedience and now it's time for Abraham's test and God calls him saying Abraham and the Scriptures continue and he said here I am, then God spells out for Abraham. The content, the terms the life situation of the test. Then God said, take now your son, your only son, the one whom you love, Isaac 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 what a test this is the same Abraham, who had years before heard an incredible promise from God when in Abraham's advanced age and when his wife was past the age of childbearing. God had appear to Abraham in a night vision and told him that he would be Abraham's exceedingly great reward and you remember Abraham struggled with that. He said how can you give me any reward. There's no reward that you could give me that could make up for what I don't have. I don't have a child, the heir to my fortune is Ely Azor my servant, and God said Ely Azor will not be your heir, but your heir will be one from your own. Once this child of promise that I will give you and you will be the father not only of this child, but of a great nation whose descendents will not be able to be number to be more than the grains of sand on the seashore more than stars in the sky. We are told in Genesis 15 that on that occasion, Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.

He trusted in God's promise for the future. That's what faith is all about. So I came home, he told his wife are going to have a child and she laughed and the Hebrew word for laughter is a high sake and Abraham was all excited. He couldn't wait. The next morning. I'm sure he sang the seraph that do you feel anything different or are you with try and Sarah was still barren.

Not for one month not for six months but for years. The promise did not come. Abraham grew impatient, you know the story and Sarah gave Abraham her handmaiden. The Hagar and from that union.

Abraham produced a son called Ishmael, but Ishmael was not the child of promise, deceit, Abraham and Sarah tried to take the providence of God into their own hands to make it happen on their own. God said this is not the child, and then finally after years of struggle and wrestling with her confidence in divine providence.

Finally Sarah in the midst of her barrenness conceived and God's providential promise became a reality and you can imagine the delight in the joy and the relief from anxiety that came into Abraham soul.

Now I know that I can trust the promise of God. I know that he is faithful in all that he says, and now we can all live happily ever after. Because I have an air even Isaac and every father doted on his son.

It was Abraham this joy this comfort. This piece, this hope is rudely interrupted when God comes and said Abraham take your son and offer him to me as a sacrifice on the mountain were I will show you if you're following the text closely you know that I didn't just give the whole text that I is that's not exactly what God said to Abraham you just say to him, take your son because of God's okay Abraham now to fulfill this test. I want you to sacrifice your son to me. And if that's the only thing that God will send Abraham if you would've been Abraham.

If I were Abram, what we've done, we were gone straight for Ishmael and we would've offered him, but God didn't give Abraham that option today. He said Abraham take now your son, your only son, you know the one I mean Abraham, the one whom thou loudest are still any doubt in your mind what I mean. Abraham high sake take Isaac and offer Isaac as a sacrifice to me on Moriah Scripture in his typical understatement and an economy of language continues almost brusquely in verse three when we read so Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son and he split the wood for the burnt offering arose and went to the place of which God told Soren Kierkegaard once wrote her a little book called fear and trembling, where the Danish philosopher tried to to get a handle on the internal agony that often accompanies a believer's exercise of faith, but so often our life of faith is not characterized by a go live kind of assurance, but it takes place in the midst of dread in the midst of fear in the midst of trembling and in order to give a historical example of that struggle.

He points this episode in Abraham's life and he asked the question why did Abraham get up early in the morning but doesn't answer the question, but Kierkegaard speculates in many different ways to six. Maybe it was because he was so devout, so godly, so spiritual so willing to obey every command of God that even when God comes to him and says give me your son on the altar sacrifice. Abraham said so let it be said, so let it be done. I'll set my alarm clock for 5 o'clock. I can't wait to comply with this command.

Maybe Abraham was like that, but if he was he was like any other believer that were not. I like to think that he got up early in the morning because he couldn't sleep because of his bed all night Anisa. How can this be God. How can God asked me to do such a thing. The Scripture said he did get up early and he went out and he chopped the wood for the sacrifice himself again after you let me speculate here. Luther said when he would be overcome with depression or fear or anxiety to calm his soul, he would seek the relief of physical labor to get his mind diverted from scary things. Here's Abraham the richest man in the world.

Servants in abundance. They had picked up an action years they could just say to a certain go trap that would and they would go in saddle his own livestock.

He had servants to go and get the saddle and put it on the beasts of burden. But this morning Abraham got up and he took the ax and began to trust the word and with every thrust of his arm with the acts all the emotion all the fear was going out of his heart from his chest down his arm through his hands into the ax handle in the wood as he's contemplating the unthinkable and so he embarks on the journey and we read that on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place to far-off and Abraham said to the young men stay here with the donkey the lad, and I will go yonder and worship and we will come back to you.

I don't know whether Abraham was stating a bald-faced lie here if he was trying to protect his servants from the tragedy that Abraham was anticipating or if this was a manifest expression of unprecedented faith. What he said we will come back to you. If he said he had his fingers crossed.

Because this is what he was hoping against hope that somehow God will provide a way out a resolution of redemption of a seemingly un-redeemable situation. On the other hand, what could he say to the servants wrote you guys stay here, I'm going further with my son and I'll come back by myself afterwards. I don't think he could've said that either. So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son and took the fire in his hand and a knife and the two of them went together, but Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said my father and Abraham said here I am, my son and then he said, look, the fire and the wood but where's the lamb for the burnt offering. Isaac is stupid, but he cannot contemplate what's going on here is father you, you've given me the wood you were carrying the fire. We have all the implements we need to make a sacrifice, except the one thing that's most necessary.

Father, you forgot to bring only God requires an animal. He requires something in living to be killed on the altar sacrifice. We don't have anything and Abraham said my son, God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt off, here is the first concrete reference in biblical history to the doctrine of providence, the words that Abraham speaks to his son. Are these Jehovah Chirac which is become a title for God because it captures the very essence of God's character and his activity towards his people Jehovah gyrate the Lord will provide. What's Abraham saying what he saying, somewhat cryptically. Perhaps, is that the only hope we have right now son is the providence of God. If God wants a lamb for the sacrifice he will provide it. We must trust to his providence. I've spoken on this passage many times in preaching and teaching of told the story of the occasion.

I had when we first moved to Western Pennsylvania and began licking their ministry.

We were given the gift of two young German Shepherd puppies. Both of them bread from Champion stock in the mail of this pair was the actual son of the Canadian grand Victor a magnificent handsome specimen of an animal, and I love this dog and when he was still a puppy for five months old he went out in the early morning, and then he came back inside through the dog door and when I looked at him. I was horrified because his head was swollen to twice its normal size and size were close and I thought oh my goodness he's gotten his head into a hornets nest in this been stung many many times and so I took the dog and took him to the vet and the vet came to me and he said RC so I found three fine marks on the face of your dog and this is the worst case of snakebite in an animal I have ever treated.

And I don't think your dog is going to live, said the first 24 hours are crucial. Will the dog made it through for 24 hours into the next day and the day after that and finally after about two weeks. The vet called me and said the dog is going to live you can come and pick him up now he's out of critical care unit of the veterinarian infirmary can take them home and I went and I got the dog and when I looked at them. I was horrified because necrosis headset in the running of the tissue of his skin. His face had literally fallen off and in its place it in the sinus cavities were open to take a drink of water come right out of his face. He was grotesque and the smell of putrefying flesh was more like a bear, but the doctor said if you're going to have the cinema live. You have to treat him every day with this appointment two times a day you're going to have to rub it on his face so the space will heal and so he gave me rubber gloves to use and when I took the dog home and put them in our garage and stooped to apply the first application of this appointment.

I almost vomited and I could hardly bring myself to this horrible face and the animal seem to sense that he kind of shrunk back in embarrassment when I apply the ointment to his face. His response was, as a wounded person who was totally at the mercy of his physician. It was a tender moment. I want to get sentimental. It was a tender moment between me and the stock and all of a sudden all the repugnance of this business left me and I took the gloves off and I use my bare hands. The spread the ointment on his face and I did that every day twice a day for weeks until his face healed up into a massive scar tissue is face was frozen into a perpetual smile is the way I look at other people thought of this tomorrow.

Never in my life had a relationship with an animal like ahead with that dog than two years later residual effects of the poison took place so bad that his situation became incurable and the doctor said he had to be put away. I said to my wife. We have to put him to sleep. I said I can't take him to the vet you get a student you get somebody to take him there and tell me when it's over because I could not take Mike my dog and put them in my car and drive him to the vet, knowing that I was taking him to my death, the beloved.

This was my not my son. Abraham was taking his son. So they came to the place where God had told him, and Abraham built the altar and placed the board in order bound Isaac his son laid him on the altar upon the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to state his son, and you know what happens at the last possible second.

Abraham raises this dagger over the heart of his own board. Isaac is looking up at him with ropes binding his chest is fixed to the owner. It dawns on him that his father is about to kill him and his Abraham raises the knife at the last possible second.

The voice of God comes to him and says Abraham strikes, not thy hand against thy son, for now, I know that you trust me, you passed the test. Behold, Abraham turned in their array him caught by his horns in the thick drop the knife ran to the Thicket took the animal took Isaac from the altar and offered the substitute in his play. 2000 years ago in exactly the same spot God took his son, his only son, the one whom he loved Jesus and put him on an altar of wood to be sacrificed. But this time nobody hollered stop and the ultimate provision for God's people was made by Jehovah drive the Lord will provide. This Dr. RC Sproul from his series providence God in control only does God supply all things, but he arranges them according to his plan and for his glory and as Christians we find great peace and comfort in that fact, even when it appears that all is against us were returning to the series. Each day this week. Your on Renewing Your Mind while wearing only five of the messages would be happy to send you all 15 lessons as a digital download. When you give a donation of any amount to look at her ministries when you contact us today will also send you the 25th anniversary edition abductors postclassic book the invisible hand in this book you will rediscover the comforting truth that God is concerned with every detail in our lives and in the universe. Request these resources online today at Renewing Your Mind.Oregon because of the holiday today. This is an online offer only. So we invite you to go to Renewing Your to make your request and give your gift and we thank you for your generosity.

It is your gifts that equip us to continue this important work. You can always visit our online archive of past Renewing Your Mind programs and the 1 Easy Way to do that is with our free look at your app downloaded today and begin exploring the resources available there, you'll find audio and video clips, devotionals, and that many articles on the providence of God to search for linear in your app store. You know when we talk about God's providence and sovereignty. The question is often asked is God also in charge of suffering and sin. Every time my body aches and every time my heart thanks I second-guess the wisdom of God because it sure doesn't seem redemptive to me at the moment. Please join us again Tuesday for Renewing Your Mind

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