Abraham and God had a covenant together. A covenant was the most formal, most serious type of agreement of the day. It was a legally binding contract that said if either party broke the contract than that party was to be put to death. In other words, it was a promise till death.
God made a covenant with Abraham to give him a son and make his descendants as vast as the stars in the sky. That promise started to come true when Isaac was born, but now God was asking Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, to give the thing the entire promise rested on over to God literally.
Abraham could have called God out on a breach of contract. But he didn't. He couldn't have sued him, but he didn't. Abraham could have refused on the grounds of the covenant, but he didn't. What he did was trust God and did as God asked him to do. This was the moment Abraham proved to God he was ALL IN. He proved to himself that God was bigger than everything, even the promise between them.
Batterson explains that God gives us tests for two reasons:
Batterson isn't saying here that God changes, that he is untrustworthy, or that he needs to prove himself. What he is saying is that through tests and trials, God reveals his character to us. The character of God that never changes. It's us that needs to have things proven to, not God that needs to prove things.
The flip side is that in that same trial, when we realize how much we can trust God no matter what, we are given the opportunity to show God that we are with him, no matter what. We realize that we can show God that his sacrifice for us through his son Jesus wasn't wasted. We can show God he is the essential thing in our lives. It's an opportunity for growth.
Batterson then goes on to say that there is a difference in having 25 years of Christian experience and having 25 years of the same Christian experiences.
It's kind of like living out a spiritual version of the movie Ground Hog Day. We keep living out the same spiritual experiences, the same spiritual test and trials, the same spiritual events, but we never grow from them. We never progress to a new level of our faith.
"Two thousand years ago, Jesus gave the command to charge! And He's never sounded the retreat!"
Learning from Great Persons of Faith:
Abraham -- Read Genesis 22:1-14; Hebrews 11:8-19.
Paul -- Acts 9; 1 Corinthians 11
- What can I learn from each of these persons of faith?
- What actors can I take from what I've learned?
- What was challenging about their stories?
Read Matthew 21:12-13, 15:1-9; Luke 4:31-37.
- What do you notice about Christ's character in these passages?
- How is he bold and strong?
- How are these passages different from the ender and soft images we have of Jesus?
- How can these passage of Christ influence the way we live our lives?
Prayer for the Week:
God, help me find the places in my life where I need to charge forward with strength and boldness. Help me not be afraid of how people will perceive me but instead trust your guidance. Remind me that you walk with me so that I will make a difference in the lives of people around me. Help me go deeper in my life with you.