By Xunguang, the United States
“And God said to Abraham, As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give you a son also of her: yes, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell on his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born to him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?” (Genesis 17:15-17).
“But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear to you at this set time in the next year. And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham” (Genesis 17:21-22).
“And he said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and get you into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you 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 split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which God had told him” (Genesis 22:2-3).
“And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar on the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son” (Genesis 22:9-10).
“And said, By myself have I sworn, said the LORD, for because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son: That in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is on the sea shore; and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed my voice” (Genesis 22:16-18).
Many brothers and sisters like to read the story of Abraham’s offering Isaac in the. Through reading it, we all have some personal understanding, having the knowledge of Abraham himself or that of God, and some brothers and sisters have new practice in their . In the following, let me share with you some knowledge of God that I’ve gained from the story.
1. God’s Almightiness is Unfathomable and His Words Accomplish All
The scriptures record that when Abraham was at the age of 100 and Sarah at the age of 90, God promised them a son. But at that time they had grown old, and Sarah was past the age of child-bearing, so after hearing, Abraham fell on his face, laughed and thought to himself, “Shall a child be born to him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?” (Genesis 17:17). To Abraham, that was impossible: God created man, but He seems as if He has no idea that someone so old is unable to bear children. This matter, in our eyes, is unachievable for man, but to God, it had been accomplished. So, just as Jehovah God had promised, Sarah really bore Isaac at the age of 90.
This matter shows me that God’s almightiness is unfathomable and His words accomplish everything. As soon as the word leaves God’s mouth, the task is accomplished. Just as in the beginning God created the universe and all things, He did that with his words. God said “Let there be light,” and there was light, and then everything was established and made complete by His words. God’s words have authority and power, and His words are with Him. Just as God’s words say: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1-3).
After we have some knowledge about God’s almightiness and sovereignty, His authority and power, we will develop true faith in God, so that we will be able to submit to His sovereignty and arrangement rather than define Him based on our notions and imaginations. This is just like Abraham. After having experienced these facts, he came to have some true understanding and knowledge of God’s almightiness and wisdom. Thus, when God asked him to offer Isaac as a burnt offering, he obeyed God without conditions. In the end, due to his sincerity and obedience, God blessed him tremendously, promising him that his offspring would be as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the sea shore.
2. No One Can Impede the Work God Will Accomplish
Abraham was selected by God after the destruction of the world by flood. God decided to start carrying out His work of saving mankind through Abraham. But Abraham didn’t even have a son at that time; how was he capable of bearing this work? When God promised Abraham would gain a son at the age of 100, he thought: “Shall a child be born to him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?” (Genesis 17:17). From the thought of Abraham, it can be seen that he didn’t believe that he would obtain a son at the age of 100, for he and Sarah were too old to bear children. But the fact turned out to be a great counterattack against his conceptions, as well as ours: Isaac was born at the time set by God.
From that, we can see God’s work was not hindered because of Abraham’s little faith. This matter, regardless of what Abraham thought, would be accomplished as God planned. Just like the word “shall” in this verse “But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear to you at this set time in the next year” (Genesis 17:21), it expresses God’s authority and power. The work God is to accomplish cannot be hindered by anyone and will be done precisely according to His plan. This is God’s disposition and authority, and a reflection of His omnipotence.
When thewas incarnated to do His work of redeeming mankind, His ordinariness and normality and His being low-born were incompatible with man’s notions and imaginations, so a great number of people didn’t believe that He was the coming Messiah, nor did they follow Him. The chief priests, scribes and Pharisees, in particular, did their utmost to condemn and resist the Lord Jesus, to the point that they eventually crucified Him in concert with the ruling regime. However, God’s redemption work wasn’t in the least hindered. After the Lord Jesus resurrected and ascended to heaven, His of redeeming mankind spread through His disciples. Two thousand years later, the Lord Jesus’ gospel has spread to the ends of the universe. We can see from this that the work God wishes to accomplish can be hindered by no one.
Only after having this knowledge of God do we know that however incompatible God’s work is with our notions, we shouldn’t measure, analyze or study it based on our own imaginations. Instead, we should obey God’s work and guidance, and do as He says. This is the sense we should possess and what we should do as created beings.
3. What God Cares About is Man’s Sincerity
In the story of Abraham’s offering Isaac, when God promised him a son at the age of 100, he had some minor thoughts and was a little suspicious of God, as recorded in the scriptures: “Then Abraham fell on his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born to him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?” (Genesis 17:17). However, the fact was accomplished. Afterward, when Isaac grew into a teenager, God asked Abraham to give Isaac as a burnt offering. At that time, Abraham didn’t reason with God or complain about God, much less did he resist God; rather, he just did as God asked. The scriptures record: “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 split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which God had told him” (Genesis 22:3), “And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar on the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son” (Genesis 22:9-10).
God saw the entire process—from the start, when God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, to when Abraham actually raised his knife and was about to slay his son. God saw Abraham’s sincerity. In his heart, God was his one-and-only and God’s place far surpassed that of Isaac. So he sacrificed his only son Isaac in order to satisfy God. His sincerity and obedience toward God were just what God wanted. God didn’t care if he was foolish, or speculated about or misunderstood Him formerly; He only saw his sincerity. So when God saw his sincerity and obedience in his sacrificing Isaac, God greatly blessed him with a progeny as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the sea shore.
Through this, we can see thatis as boundless as the sky and the seas and He is full of mercy and love toward us humans. He won’t reprimand and condemn us because we make some small mistakes or transgressions, or have some speculations, doubts or misunderstandings about Him. What God values is our sincerity, loyalty and obedience. Many times we cannot understand God’s work thoroughly, but if we know that God’s essence is love and all His intentions toward man are good, we will obey the work He does on us. Then we will certainly receive God’s blessings like Abraham.
4. God Blesses Man Based on a Principle
When God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham submitted to God and did as He asked without conditions and excuses. His sincerity, loyalty and unconditional obedience led God to bless him with descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the sea shore. Through this, it can be seen that in blessing man, God has His own principles, and not everyone can receive His blessings. Those who truly love God, those who sincerely obey Him and those who can bear witness for Him can receive His blessings.
Take Job for example. he was blessed after he borefor God in trials. When God took away his untold masses of wealth and all his children, he didn’t sin through his words but still praised . Later, when his whole body was covered with sore boils and he was in unbearable pain, he still obeyed and revered God and shunned evil, having these testimonies of obeying God. Eventually God doubled His blessings upon Job and extended his life expectancy twofold.
After having these knowledge of God’s principle of blessing man, we come to know His righteous disposition. With these knowledge, we will not hold onto the belief that we are fortunate, and that we can win God’s blessings by following the trend of believing in God. Rather, we hope that we can believe in and obey God like Abraham and Job, and thus win His blessings.
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