All-conquering faith prevails

Friday September 16, 2016 Written by Published in Church Talk
An early engraving gives a graphic illustration of the situation faced by Abraham when he was faced with the situation of having to sacrifice his own son. It is often cited as the ultimate test of faith. 16091519 An early engraving gives a graphic illustration of the situation faced by Abraham when he was faced with the situation of having to sacrifice his own son. It is often cited as the ultimate test of faith. 16091519

GENESIS 21:1-7 NKJV reads: “And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had spoken.

 

“For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him - whom Sarah bore to him - Isaac. Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him.

“Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, ‘God had made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me’. She also said, ‘Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age’.”

God is consistent. We are not. Having the same heart with God involves faith. Abraham and Sarah begot Isaac and they were astonished because they were in their hundreds and it was impossible for them to bear a child.

This is the amazing work of God. Even how the earth spins and produces its seasons is also the work of God. Can we comprehend how the earth spins or fathom its consistent rate of spinning? We having this consistent heart of God is called faith.

“I have made you a father of many nations in the presence of Him whom he believed - God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became father of many nations, according to what was spoken, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what he promised He was also able to perform. And therefore it was accounted to him for righteousness.” (Romans 4: 17-22 NKJV)

There is the heart of God towards humans. When God tells us we are righteous and we accept this heart, it is called faith. Abraham received the promise of God at 75 and saw it to completion at 100 years old. This means that Abraham walked with God by faith.

Abraham had faith in his heart and so could not ignore the situation. When we have the Word in our heart, we can despise what we see and rely solely on faith. When the Word entered Abraham and Sarah, even though Abraham was 100 years old, he was able to father a child. Through this incident, Abraham’s faith became firmer. He realised that whatever God says becomes true. Folks, this is what is called faith.

“Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth.” (Hosea 6:3 NKJV).

Just as His going forth is established as the morning, God is consistent. When God says He will do it, then He does it. Believing in the words of God is believing in God. Because the words of God entered Abraham and Sarah, they could despise the situation that their bodies were useless for child bearing.

Just as God worked through Abraham and Sarah, God is working accordingly for us as well.

“Thus says the Lord who made it, the Lord who formed it to establish it (the Lord is His name) ‘Call to me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you do not know’.” (Jeremiah 33:2-3 NKJV).

It is God who does the work, who formed it to establish it. He is the one who forms and He is the one who establishes.

When Abraham was 75 years old, God said that his offspring would be as many as the stars of the sky. During that time, Abraham had no child and tried to bear on through Ishmael. However, when he was 100 years old, then the son according to the promise was born. Thus, when Abraham and Sarah saw this, they were in great shock. For how could people in their 100s and 90s bear a child?

However, the promise of God completed in their hearts. When the work of God was completed, their lives changed completely. At another time God said to Abraham, “Listen to your wife and cast away the Egyptian maid servant and child”

This was not easy. Ishmael was also the son of Abraham. Even though it was not easy, Abraham did it. Abraham and Sarah by then already knew that their own thoughts were wrong. People who know this can listen to the words of God. So when Abraham heard the words of God to cast away Hagar and Ishmael, he did it so.

Then God tested Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. In fact, Abraham woke up early in the morning to do so. Let’s say we do not like to come to church. We will wake up late, won’t we? And we will wake up early if it’s in the opposite case, right?

Abraham knew the heart of God. He woke up early. He knew the promise of God very well and that He keeps the promise very well. Do we humans keep promises to the very end? No we don’t. We falter. But God does keep them. Abraham had the heart that even if his son should die, he would live again because of God’s promise that He would give him many offspring, as much as the stars in the sky. So Abraham had this faith that even if his son should turn to ash, God could still raise him.

Isaac said to his father, “Dad, we have the wood, but where is the burnt offering?” Abraham could not say it was him but said, “God has already prepared,” so Abraham called that place the “Lord will provide.”

“And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.” Genesis 21:1-2 NKJV.

Here we can see that it is God who does everything according to his Word of promise. These words entered the heart of Abraham. This is why he could form the heart of faith that even though his son Isaac should die, God would still raise him. Accordingly, as Abraham listened to the words, his heart moved.

According to the words of God, are we perfect or not? We are! So we just need to fix our hearts towards the word of God. It may seem that there is no hope, that there is only distress…but what is the word of God saying to us? When we fix our heart to the Word, this is called faith.

After Isaac was born, Abraham lived a completely different life.

“And the servant said to him, Perhaps the woman will not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I take your son back to the land from which you came?”

But Abraham said to him, “Beware that you do not take my son back there. The Lord God of Heaven who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my family, and who spoke to me and swore to me saying, “To your descendants I give this land, He will send angels before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. And if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be released from this oath, only do not take my son back there.” (Genesis 24:5-8 NKJV).

These are not words of formality. The heart that Abraham had in him had been since the Word of Promise was in him from God that He would provide him many offspring. Therefore, this faith translated into such behaviour as to search for Isaac’s wife in this manner. He had a clear heart and mind that this was not his business, but the work of God. He had the heart that God would work. He had a clear faith.

I hope that you also experience the words and work of God. When the Words of God hold your heart, you will gain faith. I hope that this faith leads your life. I believe God will give you such blessings in your spiritual life.

            Rev Iana Aitau,

            Principal Takamoa Theological College

 

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