Articles/Illustrations of Faith, Quotes, poetry and devotions…
Smokey Barn News Sunday November 2, 2014 Robertson County, Tenn.
The Greatest Trial
has been said that the Old Testament is the New Testament enfolded and the New Testament is the Old Testament unfolded. The point is that we will never understand the New Testament as we should until we first understand the Old Testament. When we begin to read Exodus God assumes we have already read and understood Genesis. The Old Testament is just filled with practical lessons for life and with types and foreshadows of the Lord Jesus. Long before we get to the Christmas story we meet Christ in the story of Abraham and Isaac. We find Him in Isaiah 53 and in Hosea, and in the Ark of the Covenant, the Tabernacle, the Passover, and in a hundred other places.
Some of God’s greatest treasures about the Lord Jesus are stored in the types of the Bible’s Old Testament. Thus, the story before us this morning is one of the best of those types we have. A word about TYPES is in order.
American Heritage Dictionary defines a type as a figure or representation of something to come, such as an event in the Old Testament that foreshadows an event in the New Testament A TYPE in the Old Testament is a PICTURE of Christ that can be found in people, places, events, some other representation. Glimpses of Jesus Christ may be found in illustrations or in symbols or signs that we encounter in such things as the Ark of the Covenant or the Tabernacle. Just as your shadow in the afternoon sun is a type of the reality of your body so types in the Old Testament testify to the reality that will soon appear in the real Person of Christ. Types have sometimes been called FIGURES as well.
The story before us today of Abraham and the love for his only son Isaac reveals the great trial of a father facing the loss of his only son is a picture and a wonderful type of the Lord Jesus and God the Father. How fitting that this TYPE is the unrivaled story of a great trial, at least it is unrivaled in the Old Testament. A trial so awful that most of us would never even consider it!
But trials have a purpose and are necessary for our growth. As soon as we are saved we enter the school of faith and that school will always bring a test at certain times so God can monitor our progress. Trials are never intended to hurt us.Really they are God’s vote of confidence in the one being tried. Trials are intended to draw us closer to God. They can confirm a strong faith or they can reveal a very weak faith if we turn away from God when the hard time comes.
Today’s text is one of the two most beautiful of all the Old Testament types that pictures in a shadow God the Father and His only begotten Son. READ with me the first 8 verses of Genesis chapter 22 and the story of Abraham and Isaac.
Genesis 22:1-8 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt (to test) Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
This is the story of a father’s love for his only son not just a son but a MIRACLE boy born to Abraham in his old age. Not only that, but the son of promise by which God would make of him a great nation. Look at verse 2 “thine ONLY son Isaac.” Is that a true statement? Did Abraham have only one son? In the will of God he did have only ONE SON. What was the other boy’s name? Ishmael. (GEN. 16:12) But Ishmael was born out of the will of the flesh. This was a lesson in itself that God’s work must be done God’s way.
Genesis 22:2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of
In the realm of Bible study there is something called the Law of 1st Mention. It simply means that the first time something is mentioned it is usually important and introduces a theme that God will build on as the Bible progresses. The first mention of LOVE in the Old Testament is right here and it is the the love of a father for a very special son. Is it not significant that we find the first mention of love in New Testament is ALSO the love of a Father for a very Special Son?
Matthew 3:16-17 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
But now what an unbelievable trial is coming to Abraham. God is going to ask Abraham to offer up Isaac as a Burnt Offering. But look up in VS. 1 it says “it came to pass.” An old time preacher said that was his favorite portion of Scripture: (IT CAME TO PASS) It didn’t come to stay. When trouble comes to God’s child it will always pass. It never comes to stay for very long. As a matter of fact the Bible says that everything we can see is what? TEMPORAL!
2 Cor. 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
God wants us to display a strong and a growing faith before an unbelieving world…Always! How intrigued the world is when it sees a child of God go thru a great trial with a great faith. God is always honored by faith and men are always drawn by it. Here Abraham is tested and tried but it is not a temptation to sin. GEN. 22:1 “TEMPT” The Hebrew word used for tempt means to prove or to approve. To test. It is so translated in Psalm 26:2 and Deut. 8:2
Ps 26:2 ….same Hebrew word… Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.
Deut. 8:2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.
Abraham saw this test as awesome and awful but he also saw it as another chance to trust the same God he had been trusting in for the last 50 years.
When God called him his answer was swift and in complete obedience. BEHOLD, HERE AM I. How much better was Abraham’s response than that of Adam in the garden of Eden. (TURN back to Gen. 3:8-10) Why didn’t Adam answer immediately when God called him? The same reason we often don’t. (SIN) Adam had sinned and was hiding from God. Did God not know where Adam was? Of course He knew, He wanted Adam to know where Adam was. Out of the will of God and separated from God by his sin. Abraham answered quickly and God told him to take Isaac to the land of Moriah. Moriah is only mentioned 2 times in the Bible and both are very significant. It is mentioned here and again in 2 Chronicles 3:1. Do you remember where Moriah is located? It is a long mountain ridge with a city on one end named Jerusalem. On the other end of the ridge is a place called today Calvary. Moriah is the place of the first temple built by Solomon.
2 Chronicles 3:1 Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the LORD appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. (ORNAN: 1st Chronicles 21)
In this place Isaac was to be offered (key word “offered”) up as a burnt offering. NOTE: The burnt offering FREE WILL connection with sin. It was a sacrifice that was totally dedicated to God. The priest took no part of the animal. In the case of the Lord Jesus it pictures the total and complete dedication of Christ work on the cross to God for the benefit of all who would come to Him in faith believing. It would be the same place the Lord Jesus would be offered up some 2000 years later. (Perhaps)??? The place where Jesus was scourged, taunted, beaten, went through three illegal trials, and was crucified. It is the place where Jesus was handled more roughly than any man had ever been handled. BUT after His death no one accept believers ever touched Him again. Have you touched Him this morning? Have you touched the Savior?
Some have been critical of this story of Abraham and Isaac saying that it teaches human sacrifice. Some say it was a dirty trick God played on Abraham. May I say to you today it does not teach human sacrifice. God told Abraham to make the offer, not to carry out the deed. It’s NOT a dirty trick but a demonstration of GOD”S faith IN ABRAHAM! AND A MIRACLE OF God even greater than creation IN A TYPE!… God wants all of His sacrifices alive.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Reasonable service is the least you can do. What do you think went thru Abraham’s mind on that three day journey to Moriah? Isaac was the miracle child. He had waited for him for 25 years since God had promised him. Born in Abraham’s old age of 100. Sarah wasn’t much younger at 90. Isaac was the child of the COVENANT. (Stars and sands of the sea) When God told old Abraham he would have a son he laughed. When Sarah heard about it she laughed too. BUT in the fullness of time God did as he had promised:
Genesis 18:14 At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a sonAnd 9 months later the Son of Laughter was born for Isaac means laughter.
In this Book and Chapter God wants us to know that Isaac is “NOT” a little boy but a grown man of maybe 30 years old or better and thus a (picture as a type) of Christ and obedience to His Father as Isaac was obedient to Abraham. How do we know Isaac was not a child? Because in the first verse of the next chapter we have recorded the death and the age of Sarah. She is the only woman in Scripture who has her age given at death. (127 years old) She died soon after the offering of Isaac and he was born when she was 90, some 37 years earlier.
Isaac was a man in his prime and could have easily overpowered his Father BUT He didn’t even open his mouth but was obedient and would have been obedient to death. He demonstrated complete obedience to his father. Isaac had suffered on this trip and knew what his fate was to be. Does this sound familiar to you?
Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
It was the hardest trip of Abraham’s life as this boy of his old age was now three days dead in Abraham’s mind. Abraham knew that HUMAN SACRIFICE was wrong but he wasn’t about to substitute what he thought for what GOD had said.
Suppose you had met Abraham the morning he started out for Moriah with Isaac and the young men with which he traveled. Maybe your conversation would have gone something like this.
Good morning Abraham, where are you headed this fine day?
To offer Isaac as a burnt offering before the LORD!
But, Abraham, don’t you know it is wrong to kill your children.
Yes, I know it, I know the heathen around here offer their kids to Chemosh and Molech, but I have been taught better.
Then WHY are you doing it??????????………..(Pause and Silence)
Well all I know is that I have been following Jehovah God for 50 yrs and He has never told me a wrong thing. He has never failed me. I don’t understand it but I am GOING to do His will. You know God has promised to make a great nation of me and He can’t possible do it if I kill Isaac but that is what He has ordered me to do. There is no way God can give me descendants that number like the stars if I kill this boy………………. UNLESS…… unless…… Unless…….God raises Isaac from the dead!! And we would never know this except we read all the way into the N.T. Book of Hebrews.
Heb.11:17-19 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
In verse 4 Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw Moriah a far off. Isaac is dead in Abraham’s mind for three days……and God looked and saw NOT Moriah BUT Calvary and not Isaac but His only begotten Son.He spared Abraham’s son but His own Son He spared NOT. The Lord Jesus was offered up for the sins of the world, Nailed to a cross and at the point of a spear he hung naked so you and I could have a garment of righteousness. The Creator of rivers and oceans said, “I thirst” so we might have the the Water of Life and have it freely, without money and without price.
Isaiah 55:1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Verse 5 tells us of the transaction that took place on Mt. Moriah alone between Isaac and Abraham. The young men did not see it as they had been left behind. Nobody knew what happened on that mountain except the father and his son, and so it was on Calvary too. Darkness set in for three hours while Christ hung on the cross. No man saw the transaction that took place between God the Father and God the Son.
Mt 27:45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
Notice again the young men were told to wait while Abraham and the lad went and worshiped. Abraham understood the resurrection and he understood worship too. Notice Abraham said WE will return to you again. What faith it is that looks past death to the resurrection when it is your only son on the altar. What insight this passage gives us into true worship.
What would you say worship is? Singing hymns? Hearing a sermon? Closing your eyes while someone prays? Taking offerings? It is none of these things by themselves but may consist of all these things IF THE HEART IS RIGHT….WORTHYSHIP Worship literally means to BOW DOWN. It means submission to the will of God.
Mt 18:26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Definition: to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore):–worship.
Worship always involves sacrifice. Worship will always cost you something. If a thing doesn’t cost much it is not worth much. Worship is an attitude of the heart and it is an act of love and devotion.
It means giving God what He does not already have. Your love, your will, and you life, and your testimony for Him.
In verse 6 all the elements of the Burnt offering are in place. We see the knife, the wood for the fire, and the altar. (Fire speaks of judgment) The knife speaks of the shedding of blood. (without the shedding of blood there is NO remission of sins) The altar speaks of sacrifice but something is missing and it brings the most important question of the Old Testament. Where is the Lamb? This is the question that has come down through the ages. It is the question of men in need of a Savior.
Isaac shouts: I see all these things but WHERE is the Lamb? And the answer comes back to us in verse 8. God will provide himself a lamb NOT for Himself but provide HIMSELF a Lamb!…FOR US!!
Note: Abraham answered Isaac’s question but he didn’t answer mine. Abraham found a ram in a thicket but that didn’t help me very much.
No, the thing that helped me was that day when John the Baptist was baptizing in the river Jordan and he looked up to see Jesus coming and he said: behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. God wants our worship today. He wants our submission. He wants our willing offer of everything we have. He wants our children, our car, our home, our money. He wants our faithfulness and when He calls we must not delay but quickly say: Here am I. So let us thank God when the trials come. We know that it is trials that build our faith. And we know that hard trials only come to those who are able to bear them. And we know that the Vinedresser is never closer to the fruit than when He trims the vine. And the shepherd is never closer to His sheep than when He shears them of their comfort. Nothing can happen to us except it be for our own good or for God’s own Glory.
Lastly, do you love the GIFT more than the GIVER. That was Abraham’s test, to see if he loved Isaac more than he love God. It might do us good if we asked ourselves that question. Do we love anything more than we love God? He gave us all things but we must never love the gifts, be it a child, or a spouse, or a home, MORE than we love the Giver who is God.
– Pastor Brown Sims
As in the song below……May we say today, “Holy is The Lord, Holy is The Lord, and the Lord I will Obey, help me I don’t know the way”
AS YOU WATCH THE VIDEO below with the beautiful song written about Abraham and Isaac PLEASE REMEMBER that as we learned earlier Isaac was NOT a small child but about the age of Christ at Calvary and just as our Lord he WILLINGLY obeyed his Father.