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Abraham: The Test of Faith, Part 2

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
September 24, 2021 8:00 am

Abraham: The Test of Faith, Part 2

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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September 24, 2021 8:00 am

Even if we say we trust God, we’ll never really know until that commitment could cost us somethingmaybe even something precious. What are you willing to lay down in order to stand up for the Lord? Find out when you join Dr. Tony Evans in this lesson.

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Don't look at people, they'll discourage you.

Don't look at circumstances, they'll flip the script. Dr. Tony Evans says believing is not dependent on seeing. If you only operate by sight, you'll never see what faith can do. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of The Urban Alternative. Even if we say we trust God, we'll never really know until the time our faith could cost us something, maybe even something precious. Today, Dr. Evans helps us examine the depth of our faith as he looks at one man whose commitment to the Lord was put to the ultimate challenge.

Let's join him in Hebrews chapter 11. When God is ready to give you a new level of experience with Him, it comes with a test. Now the bad news of a test is that it's a test.

The good news of a test is that it's preparation for a higher level. So today we want to look at the test of faith, Abraham's final exam. Hebrews 11 says that God told Abraham to offer up Isaac, who was the son of the promises. In Genesis chapter 22, where the story is unfolded for us in that chapter in detail, God tells Abraham these words. He says to Abraham in Genesis chapter 22, Now it came about, verse one, after these things that God tested Abraham and said to him, Abraham, and he said, Here I am. And he said, Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering on the mountain of which I will tell you. That made no sense.

Let me show you why. Because it is full of contradictions. Theological contradiction, number one. I made a promise that through you, I'm going to birth a nation via your son Isaac, now kill him. But Isaac is a teenager. He's not married.

He has no children. You told me through him, you're going to build a whole nation and affect the whole world. How can he be the extension of the lineage that you promised if I kill him? It's a contradiction. When God is giving you a major exam, it makes no sense. It looks like God is contradicting himself. Not only was it a theological contradiction, it was a biblical contradiction, because in Genesis chapter nine, God condemns murder. He says, You cannot take the life of another person. Yet he just told Abraham to take the life of his son. So God not only has contradicted his promise, he's contradicted his whole biblical teaching. God, right now, what you're asking doesn't make sense.

Not only was it a biblical contradiction and a theological contradiction, it was an emotional contradiction. Because he says, Take your son whom you love, your only son, your only son through Sarah, and I want you to take him and sacrifice him. I love this boy.

I've waited 100 years for this boy. You're asking me to give up the thing I love most? Watch this. You're asking me to give up the very thing you bless me with. It says, Get up and go to the mountain to the place I will show you. He had to obey without all the details. God didn't give him all the information. He says, After you get up and after you get to the mountain, then I'll show you the spot I want you to go to. But I'm not going to give you all the details up front.

I will only give you more details when I see you moving. See, one of the reasons that we do not see more details from God is he can't get us to move from where we are. Because remember, faith is acting like God is telling the truth. Faith is defined by your foot movement, not by your feelings.

It's your life, not your lips. It's your walk, not your talk. Faith is measured by movement.

If there is no movement, there is no faith, no matter how faithish you feel. And so they make their way to the place that God said. And so he takes his son up. He puts him on the altar. Verse 9, he built an altar, arranged the wood, bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. Can you imagine what he's thinking, feeling? And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

Because guess what? That was what he was told to do. Verse 11, but the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, that's Jesus in the Old Testament, the angel of the Lord. Abraham, Abraham, whenever God calls your name twice. See, when he told him to obey, he only called his name once in verse 1, Abraham. But now in the middle of his crisis, he calls his name twice.

That means there's something special coming down the pike. Abraham, Abraham, and he said, here I am. Do not, verse 12, stretch your hand out against the lad and do nothing to him.

For now I know you fear me, since you have not withheld your son, your only son from me. Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, verse 13, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering in place of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place Jehovah-Jireh.

The Lord will provide as it is said to this day, in the mount of the Lord it will be provided. That's one of the great names of God in Scripture, Jehovah-Jireh. Let me talk to you about the word Jireh, provide. The Hebrew word Jireh means to see beforehand.

That's a literal translation of Jireh, to see beforehand. The word Jehovah is God's covenant name. God has somewhere between 85 and 100 names in the Old Testament. And the reason why he has so many names is he wants us to discover different aspects of his nature. So whenever he wants to reveal something new you hadn't seen before, he nicknamed himself.

In fact, all of eternity will be discovering God's full name, because it will be the discovery of God's nature. It means to see beforehand. So God's—watch this now, stay with me—his provision is tied to his provision.

Let me say it another way. What you get to see in his provision, you get to see it because of what he's already seen in his provision. So he pre-sees what you're going to be provided. What you're provided over here when he comes through, he's already seen over here before you get to it. So while Abraham is coming up one side of the mountain, a ram is coming up another side of the mountain. God pre-sees before he provides, but what he provides, he's already pre-seen.

So you're going to be the surprised one, not him, because when you're shocked by what he provides, it's only going to come because of what he's pre-seen. This is the quietest ram in the history of rams caught in a thicket. When a ram is caught in a thicket, it's moving and jerking to get out of being caught.

This is the quietest ram in history. The ram is in the vicinity of the sacrifice, because it says it looks up and towards the ram. So God keeps the provision quiet, even though he has already made provision in advance, because he's seen beforehand what he's going to do that you don't see yet. The question when you face this trial is, how can I move from God's provision and get a hold of my provision? We all want the provision. God is operating for the provision.

But what is this? You only move from God's provision to your provision when obedience has been completed. In other words, just getting up in the morning wasn't going to show his provision. Just starting on the walk to the mountain was not going to give him his provision. Just tying him up on the altar was not letting him see what was pre-seen that has not yet been provided. Sharpening the knife would not give him his provision. Lifting the knife up would not give him his provision. His provision was only revealed when the knife was to come down to slay him. Until he completed his obedience, provision didn't become provision. Whatever God is going to do in your life and circumstance, he has already pre-seen, but you won't see it provided until you have completed what he's asked you to do.

Most Christians are part-time saints. They'll do a little something-something and wonder why God hadn't come through yet. But the question is, have you finished what he's asked you to do? You ever ask your kids to clean up the room and they clean up half the room and they want you to congratulate them for having done a little something-something of what you asked them to do? You ask them to wash the dishes?

They wash the dishes and leave the sink dirty. They do a little something, but they do not complete. And you say, come back and finish what I asked you to do. Well, what you say to your kids, God says to his kids, and he said, yeah, I saw you do a little something-something, but you didn't finish what I asked you to do. God's provision doesn't become his provision until obedience has been finalized. So if you take 50 years to finish it, it may take 50 years for you to see his provision.

If you delay obedience, you delay provision becoming provision. We want you to be one of the first to receive a copy of this new book as our thank you gift when you make a contribution to help us keep Tony's teaching on this station. Along with it, we'll send you the companion Kingdom Heroes Bible Study Workbook and all 13 messages in Tony's Heroes of the Faith series as a bonus.

You can get the messages from both volumes on CD or digital download, whichever works best for you. But this is a limited time offer, so be sure to get in touch with us today to get the details and make the arrangements. You can do that online at tonyevans.org. That's tonyevans.org. Or reach out to our resource center at 1-800-800-3222 any time of the day or night.

That's 1-800-800-3222. I'll repeat that information for you right after part two of today's lesson and this impactful, amazing, intense, thought provoking. That's how just a few students describe their experience since enrolling in the Tony Evans Training Center. The best part is the training center is wherever you and your online connection are going beyond a Sunday sermon. These compelling Bible study courses take a much deeper look at Scripture, the Bible's writers, social issues of today, and so much more. Log on today to learn more at tonyevanstraining.org.

tonyevanstraining.org. Explore the kingdom anytime, anywhere. The Bible uses Abraham in James 2 when it talks about faith. And in James 2 when it talks about faith it says, by faith Abraham was justified by works when he offered up Isaac and he was called a friend of God because he was willing to believe God against the backdrop of the ridiculous. If you've never seen God move against the backdrop of the ridiculous, of the final exams in life that makes no sense, where folks would call you a fool, but it was clear to you that this was what God said based on his word spoken to you by the Holy Spirit, then you've not seen what faith can do. And if you only operate by sight, you'll never see what faith can do because you'll only see what you see and if what you see is all you see you do not see all there is to be seen.

God says to him, verse 15 of Genesis 22, Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you, I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore, and your seed shall possess the gate of the air enemies, in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice. It says, I swear. The Bible says by two immutable things it is impossible for God to lie.

He couldn't lie if he wanted to. The two things are his promises and his oath, his swearing. You know, you go to court, put your hand on the Bible, you hold up your hands, I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God. That means what I am about to say in this courtroom is reliable and I put my hand on the Bible and I swear by God that I'm telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That's swearing.

God makes people do it. God makes promises and then he swears. A promise says what he will do, but a promise doesn't tell you when he will do it. It only tells you what he will do, and there are thousands of promises in the Bible. The promises, unless it specifically says otherwise, only tells you what he will do.

It doesn't tell you when he'll do it. That's different than an oath. When he says, I swear, God had made this promise to Abraham in Genesis 12, Genesis 15, Genesis 17, and now he makes it again in Genesis 22.

This is the first time he said that. He'd been promising this to Abraham since Genesis 12, and then Genesis 12, you know, he's like 75 years old. So this is over 25 years now that he's been hearing the same promise. Promise, promise, promise, promise, promise. Now he's over 100 years old.

I think he's a teenager. There's a promise, promise, promise, promise, promise. When is this promise going to happen? All he's had is a promise. He's not yet had an oath. But now, after he does this, past the final exam, a promise becomes an oath. What's an oath? Oath is where God repeats a promise, but then now has attached a time to it. When God makes an oath, it means I'm ready to do it now, and you have nothing else to do but watch me do my thing. That's an oath.

Oath is when you watch God do his thing because he's no longer looking to you to do anything. Why? Because you passed the final.

You don't have to do anything to get your next grade level. See, many Christians want a PhD experience with God when they're unwilling to pass a kindergarten exam. He says, Abraham, I got it now. The good news here is that Abraham has had failures in his past.

He's blown it a few times over these 25 plus years. God just gave him retesting. Some of us are here today, and we've been retesting and retesting and retesting and retesting and retesting and retesting and retesting and retesting. God says, I'll wait till you pass because I want to give you an experience with me. You want the provision.

I want the experience. Give me the experience of your commitment, and I'll show you what I can do with Rams caught in the thicket waiting to move when I tell it to. But that raises a question. On this journey of faith, you're struggling. You're walking with your Isaac. You're holding Isaac's hand. You're holding that situation by the hand, and God is telling you to kill it even though you love it.

And you're just, you're walking. How do you make it? How do I make it? Because I don't know when God's going to do it. I don't know how God's going to do it. I don't know.

I don't know how am I going to make it? You remember verse four? It says on the third day, Abraham looked up, and he saw the place. In Saint John chapter eight, Jesus is talking to the Pharisees, and Jesus is telling them who he is.

And Jesus is talking about the fact that he is the Son of God. And the Pharisees are looking at him like he's crazy and saying, you aren't even 50 years old, they say. You aren't even 50 years old. And you're talking about Abraham like you knew him.

You're not even 50 years old. You're talking about Abraham. And Jesus said, before Abraham was, I am. That's the Old Testament name for God. God, Moses said, who shall I tell you that sent me?

He said, you tell them I am sent you. That's the name for Yahweh. So Jesus says, before Abraham was, I was God.

Okay? In fact, Jesus goes on to say, in the last few verses of John chapter eight, he says, watch this, Abraham saw my day and was glad. Genesis 22 verse four. Abraham is on his way to Mount Moriah and he looks in the distance and he sees something. Jesus in the New Testament tells us what Abraham in the Old Testament saw. Jesus said, Abraham saw my day. Mount Moriah is located a few hundred yards from Mount Calvary.

They're just a few hundred yards that separate Mount Moriah from the hill of Golgotha. Jesus said, Abraham saw my day and he smiled. So Abraham is walking to kill his son, looks up, he goes, yeah.

He says, Abraham focused on me. And while he kept his eyes focused on me, that's why Hebrews chapter 12 verse two says, looking under Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. It says, while you're on your journey, in your final exam, keep your eyes on Jesus. Because if you'll focus on Jesus, he'll get you up the mountain of your exam until you pass the test. Don't look at people, they'll discourage you.

Don't look at circumstances, they'll flip the script. He says, keep your eyes on Jesus as you obey God. Because when you keep your eyes on Jesus, he will sustain your faith until you reach the finish line of your test. When you're in doubt, look at Jesus. When you're afraid, look at Jesus. When you're unsure, look at Jesus. When you're tempted, look at Jesus. When you fail, look at Jesus. When you're frustrated, look at Jesus.

When you don't think you can make it, look at Jesus. Keep looking at Jesus because if Abraham could look at him in the Old Testament, and he hadn't even come yet, how much more should you and I look at him now that he's come, died, and arose, and it all happened on day number three. Dr. Tony Evans with an encouraging message on Abraham's test of faith and how you and I can learn from it today.

If you've never taken the step of looking to Jesus and putting your faith and trust in him, there's no better time to do that than right now. Visit tonyevans.org and click on the link that says Jesus. Tony will explain what it means to be a real Christian and how you can start a brand new life. That's tonyevans.org. While you're on the website, don't miss the chance to take advantage of that special offer I mentioned earlier, a three-part faith resource package including all 13 messages from volumes one and two of Tony's current audio series, Heroes of the Faith, along with his brand new book and Bible study, Kingdom Heroes. They are yours with our thanks when you make a donation to help keep this listener-supported program coming your way. Just visit tonyevans.org to make the arrangements or call our resource center at 1-800-800-3222 where team members are standing by to assist with your request. Again, 1-800-800-3222 or online at tonyevans.org. It is smart to make plans to protect the assets you want to pass on to your children. On Monday, Dr. Evans will talk about the most important inheritance you can possibly leave behind. Be sure to join us for that. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative, celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-19 22:30:17 / 2023-08-19 22:39:01 / 9

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