A Big Act of a Big Faith
Read James 2:22 (ESV)
You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works…
Has God ever called you to do something that was a big act of faith? What was it? How did it turn out?
I believe the story of Abraham offering Isaac up to be sacrificed is one of the greatest acts of faith recorded in the Bible. Can you imagine? Put yourself in Abraham’s shoes as we follow his story.
In Genesis 12, we read that when Abraham was about 75 years old, God promised to make him a great nation. In Genesis 15, we read of the covenant God made with him in which He said, “Look toward heaven and number the stars, if you are able to number them… So shall your offspring be” (Genesis 15:5). But Abraham pointed out to God that he and his wife were still childless. He couldn’t understand how God was going to give him numerous offspring if they didn’t even have one child when they were so old!
In Genesis 16, we see Abraham and Sarah, his wife, take matters into their own hands. Abraham took his wife’s servant, Hagar, and slept with her, resulting in a son named Ishmael. But in Genesis 17:15-21, God told Abraham and Sarah that His covenant was not with Ishmael, but that Sarah would have a son after all, and they were to name the child Isaac. When Isaac was born, Abraham was 100 years old (Genesis 21:5). Abraham had waited 25 years for God to fulfill His promises to him!
But then, God asked Abraham to do the unthinkable. In Genesis 22:2 God said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” Did you notice that God knew exactly what He was asking of Abraham? He knew how much Abraham loved and cherished his son, Isaac.
We have no record of Abraham talking back to God or even asking why. We only have a record of his obedience. Genesis 21:3 says that Abraham obeyed the very next morning. How could he be willing to obey God, even in this? It was his son! His long-awaited son! The one God said would be the start of a whole nation! How could he sacrifice him?
In today’s verses, we see the answer. Abraham was acting out of his great faith in God. He was putting his faith to work. In Genesis 22:5, we see that Abraham trusted that no matter what happened, he was going to return to his servants with Isaac alive and well: “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.”
When Isaac asked where the lamb was for the burnt offering, Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering…” (Genesis 22:8). He fully believed that either God would provide a lamb in Isaac’s place (which He did!) or maybe he believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead (see Hebrews 11:17-19). Regardless of what he thought, he had enough faith in God to obey even His toughest commands.
Friends, moments like these are called “acts of faith” for a reason. These moments are great examples of faith in action! More than that, James said today that Abraham’s “faith was completed by his works.” Other translations like the NASB say Abraham’s “faith was perfected.” Meaning, his faith had come full circle and bore fruit. His act of faith proved that his faith was full-grown, mature, genuine, and complete. Today, let’s show God just how much we trust Him by walking with Him in total obedience. Let’s act in faith.
Lord, thank You for Your patience with me. I know that sometimes I hesitate to act in faith out of fear and doubt. Please forgive me. Grow and mature my faith, Lord. I want to show You and the people around me my big faith in my big God. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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