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December 5, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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Continuing our “Origins: The Promise” series through Genesis, this past weekend Pastor Doug shared a powerful word from Genesis 22. In this message, we broke down one of the most fascinating and profound stories in the entire Bible: the binding of Isaac, how it points to Jesus, and how we can walk in faith as Abraham did.
Watch the video below to see a few highlights from the teaching and share it with your friends via social media. To watch the message in its entirety, click here.
Let’s recap some of the key talking points from Pastor Doug’s message this weekend:
The limits of your faith will be tested (Genesis 22:1–2). Satan tests us to bring out the evil in our hearts, lead us away from God, and get us to a place of hopelessness, distraction, and despair, but God tests us to pour His goodness into our hearts, to bring about His good plans and purposes, and to draw us nearer to Him.
God has a proven track record of faithfulness. He is the ONLY One who is faithful, dependable, and upon whose promises we can always rest. So what should we do when He speaks something to us that doesn’t make sense? In this section of Scripture, we see God direct Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac. Why would He do this? Did God doubt Abraham? It would seem to be contradictory to everything that has been stated about God and His power, character, and nature to believe that He was testing Abraham because He was uncertain of Abraham’s true heart and level of dedication and trust in God. After all, God is omniscient and omnipresent. He surely would have known Abraham’s heart, his level of faith and trust in the Lord, and the outcome of this testing.
God didn’t doubt Abraham nor did He need to test Him to really be sure of his faith. In fact, God knew Abraham would go through with it because Abraham knew God would never contradict His promises. Abraham completely trusted God’s promise, so he knew God would provide another sacrifice and not make him kill his own son . . . Abraham knew they’d both return.
Instead, what we see here is God foreshadowing the gospel and declaring it in all its fullness to Abraham (Galatians 3:7–9). God was also giving us a picture of what true devotion and faith in Him looks like. Abraham provides us an amazing example of being a faithful servant, evidenced by his only words in this passage, “Here I am,” which beautifully mirrors what the author of Hebrews wrote about Jesus, “Here I am, I have come to do your will” (Hebrews 10:9 NIV).
For us today, we can take heart because no matter how crazy or hard God’s calling may seem, we know that He is faithful, His plans for us are going to bring us joy and Him glory, and our lives of others will be enriched and blessed by it! So, as His faithful children, like Abraham, like Jesus . . . when the call comes, we too can say, “Here I am.”
Tests of faith often come when we least expect it (Genesis 22:3–8). This test of faith came seemingly out of nowhere. Abraham had already done so much. He left his country and family, he believed God’s promises, he even exiled Ishmael. And then this command comes light a bolt of lightning on a clear day. But Abraham didn’t question or argue; he simply obeyed. He said, “YES” to God. Why? Because true faith doesn’t demand explanations; it rests on promises.
Have you developed the habit of saying, “Yes” to God? With your money, with your time, with your sexuality, with whatever you hold dearest? Are you willing to say, “Yes” to God and sacrifice anything for Him?
Faith doesn’t make sense, until it does (Genesis 22:9–14). In this passage, we see one of the most profound examples of true faith you’ll ever see or read about on display. After receiving the command to sacrifice his son Isaac, the next morning Abraham obeyed and began making preparations. Then he set out with Isaac and some of his servants. On the third day—let that sink in—he saw the place he would go with Isaac and they went up on their own. And look at what he said to the servants: “We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
This is faith at its finest. It is in this idea right here that we can find our greatest source of boldness, strength, and faith, even in the midst of trials, even when all seems lost, even when we don’t have answers or understanding, even when we’re surrounded on all sides . . . Abraham knew God’s character, he knew God’s plan, and he knew God’s history of faithfulness. And just like Abraham, we can have faith in the midst of great difficulty because we know the character of God, we know we have victory in Christ, and we have seen, heard, and experienced countless examples of God’s faithfulness.
Our journey of faith points to Jesus (Genesis 22:15–19). Look at the amazing parallels that take place in this story and point us to our Savior . . .
If that’s not enough, consider this truly beautiful fact to ponder about this promise. It says Abraham called the place where this all happened “The Lord Will Provide.” A mountain of promise, a mountain of hope, a mountain of expectation. Now listen to this: 2 Chronicles 3:1 (NIV) says, “Then Solomon began to build the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David.” The Lord Almighty put it on Solomon’s heart to build His temple upon the site of His greatest promise, the site Abraham named “The Lord Will Provide.” But it goes beyond that . . .
In John 19:16–18 (NIV), it says, “So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him.” That place was LESS THAN HALF A MILE from the spot where King Solomon stood in 2 Chronicles 3 . . . the place Abraham named “The Lord Will Provide.” It was the same place!
As we ponder Abraham’s word, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son” (Genesis 22:8 NIV), we can stand today assured in knowing that, like Isaac, we were spared from death because God did indeed provide the Lamb as an offering for us, to take our place. Why? Because on the day Jesus hung on the cross and died for our sins, that spot ceased to be called “The Lord Will Provide” and forever became “The Lord Has Provided!”
We are living proof that on that day, “on the mountain of the Lord,” our salvation, forgiveness, justification, redemption, reconciliation, restoration, atonement, and eternal hope was provided. Because of this fulfilled promise, because of the Lamb God provided, we who believe are now sons and daughters of Abraham, heirs of the promise. May our lives act as monuments to this fulfilled promise so others will come to receive the promise and experience all that God provided for us on that mount.
Quote to Remember: : God has a proven track record of being faithful.—Pastor Doug Sauder
As you think about this weekend’s teaching, here are a few questions to reflect on and consider on your own, with your family, or in your group.
1. Think about—or discuss with your group—a time where your faith was put to the test in a way you didn’t quite understand. What was your response to God? What did you learn from that time? What was the outcome?
2. What would it look like for you to say, “Yes” to God in the areas of life He is calling you to lay something down and make a sacrifice unto Him?
3. How can you use the experiences and journeys of faith you’ve been on with God to help point others to Jesus?
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There’s no other feeling like worshiping the Lord with other believers! Join us this Wednesday for a powerful and refreshing time of worship and heartfelt prayer as we reflect on God’s goodness and experience His presence together.
With only two weeks left in part two of this three-summer journey through Genesis, this weekend, we’ll study Genesis 23–24. In this message, Pastor Doug will take us through the death of Sarah and the coming together of Isaac and Rebekah.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.