We walk by faith, and not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7
He was human after all.
The Bible is fascinating because it is inspired by the spirit of God. The same spirit who hovered over the waters and who gives life to man, having been formed of dust. The stories passed down speak of a majestic, all seeing and all powerful God. Many people debate whether God is real or not, until they have their own personal encounter with God. And to me Abram/Abraham’s encounter with God transformed His life. In Genesis 12, God calls Abram out of Harran and away from his family. God tells him ‘I will make a great nation of you and will give you blessing and will make your name great.” Even though Abram didn’t know where God was taking Him, he was obedient.
God gave him something to believe in, to look forward to and Abram trusted the word of He who created him. A few chapters later God tells Abram I will give you a son. Abraham could have forgotten or misunderstood God (as we do!) and was willing to adopt Eliezer and make him heir. Before he was able to move forward with his logic, God clarified that he would bear a son from his own body. God is so lovely: He will not let us wander around in confusion! Abram shares God’s promise with his wife Sara, but she rationalizes with God. She was thinking in humans terms; looking at her age and how in all her life she had not had a single child- so she came up with a plan of her won. She told Abram, to sleep with their Egyptian slave, Hagar, who became pregnant. But because this plan was born of flesh and not God’s perfect will, jealousy causes Sara to treat Hagar with resentment, until she runs away.
God appeared to Hagar in the desert and told her to have no fear, because He is “EL Roi” who watches over her (Genesis 16:12). God made her a promises, and told her to go back to serve Sarah. But after a few years, when Ishmael is a teen, God told Abraham to let Hagar and his son go! What!? God reminded him that Isaac was the promised child, and it wouldn’t work out with . I’m sure that was a challenging time for Abraham. Imagine having to go through that yourself. Then a few verses later, God tested Abraham telling him to offer Isaac as a blood sacrifice! What do you mean God? What are you doing?
As a human with emotions and thoughts, it must have been devastating to Abraham to let go of his son Ishmael; in Genesis 21:10 it says “the matter was exceedingly bad in his sight“. It may have been hundreds, even thousands of things that crossed Abraham’s mind when all this was going on, even though the bible does not mention any turmoil or questioning concerning God’s instructions. Possibly at this point it seems to Abraham, and the readers, that maybe God’s promises were just an illusion, maybe Abraham heard God wrong. Maybe his dreams were just imagination, maybe he just wanted children and God gave them to him for a while, maybe the voice that had been speaking to him was just his own subconscious. Maybe God changed his mind, and chose someone else to be a father of many nations. Maybe God was promising a bunch of people the same things. Maybe God would give him another son.
When Isaac asks his father, where’s the sacrifice? Abraham tells him that God will provide one. I believe this was to prevent Isaac from panicking, and maybe that was his way of reminding the Lord ‘hey I’m still believing you God!’ Faith is the evidence of things not seen but hoped for, as in I don’t see it yet but I believe and hope it to be/happen; therefore also letting God know ‘hey I told my son you would provide a lamb, so don’t make yourself look like a liar‘. To me, it could have been a moment of defining trust for Abraham: possibly he imagined God would raise him from the dead or give him another son… No big deal! I also believe that Abraham was praying in his mind, for God to provide himself a sacrifice: you know how we do! Going through a situation, we are in our minds praying for mercy, “oh God, please, oh God have mercy, please don’t allow this to happen“, etc. But ultimately what we do learn is that Abraham’s faith was based on things not seen, but hoped for, Abraham was a man of blind faith.
God did show his miracle working power to Isaac and Abraham, by providing Himself a sacrifice! I can imagine the joy and relief they felt! Even us, we can now breathe and believe God again. I love the faith that Abraham had, although the scriptures don’t speak of Abraham being emotional- I know that he was. He was human after all!
Lord Jesus! I will make this short, easy and to the point: help us in our unbelief! Any and every area where we may be afraid instead of confident, worrying instead of believing, doubting instead of expecting, and hesitating instead of trusting help us in these areas! In Jesus mighty name, Amen.