ABRAHAM, FRIEND OF GOD(Pt. 3)

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called’ concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he received him in a figurative sense”. (Hebrews 11:17-19)

ABRAHAM, THE WORSHIPPER

The call of God may take on many forms but none more important for the believer than the one the apostle Paul makes known. “You were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord”(1 Co 1:9b). Is this what Jesus had in mind when He said, ” Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56)?

It had been twenty five years of walking both in fellowship and witnessing the faithfulness of God. But now Abraham was about to go on the steepest (And no doubt the longest) journey with God that a friend could require. “Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham…and said to him…Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Mariah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on the mountains of which I shall tell you”(Genesis 22:1-2).

Abraham had faced many tests along the way. Some required him to retrace his steps where he had to return and call on the Name of the LORD presumably to restore his fellowship with God. But even in his mishaps and adventures God did not forsake or break His friendship with Abraham. This no doubt only further strengthened their friendship. It further strengthened Abraham’s faith in the God who he could not see but had come to find trustworthy.

THE TENT AND THE ALTAR

Two things that marked Abraham’s life of friendship with God were the “tent” and the “altar”. Each of these represents his pilgrimage of faith. He had learned to travel light in his land of sojourn as Paul likened our pilgrimage here on earth with the ultimate knowledge that our true “citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ”(Philippians 3:20). Be careful of holding onto earthly things (even relationships) too tightly. A friendship with God requires that we learn the lesson of our father Abraham…Hold everything loosely so God won’t have to pry it from our hands. If He requires it, it is only because He has something better in mind for us. As Jim Elliot observed, “He is no fool who loses what he cannot gain to gain what he cannot lose”.

One of the things that made Abraham a favorite friend of God was that he had learned the secret of “offering up to God”. He left his land of origin; he was separated from his natural family (Later parting ways with Lot); He offered up his relationship with Ishmael, although God promised to make Ishmael a great nation. All along the way he learned the lesson of self-denial. And all along the way he was learning “the secret of the LORD is with them who fear Him…He makes known His covenant”. He who has God has ultimately the only lasting friendship that will last for all eternity. David discovered this secret, “Truly God is good to Israel, to such as are pure in heart….Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My heart and my flesh fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever”(Psalm 25:1,25-26). He is not saying that other relationships don’t matter. He is contrasting friendships that cannot last due to the human condition; through separation by distance or loss, however it occurs. God is the only constant and permanent friendship in the life of the believer. He is the only One who can say with certainty, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”…”I will be with you even to the end of time”.

MT. MORIAH

The friendship of God over twenty five years had produced a strong faith in Abraham. His trust was such in the unseen One that he knew that “no good thing would He withhold to him whose walk was upright”. Therefore when the LORD tested his friendship by asking for  Isaac, his only son whom he loved, he trusted in the fact that God would do no less than reciprocate His request. He was confident in His God, he said in faith to his servants, “Wait here while I and the lad go up there to worship. We will return to you”(Gen.22).

Like Abraham, we too must learn that true trust and faith in the One Whom we worship IS the sacrifice acceptable to Him. For YAH-YIREH, “Sees for what He sees and in the Mount of the LORD it is provided”! Even as Abraham found the ram stuck in the thicket on the mount and realized that it was a suitable sacrifice in place of Isaac, be assured that our “Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world”(Rev. 13:8). Thus, Abraham’s friendship and  trust in the LORD God was rewarded with the revelation of the Good News, “In your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice”(Genesis 22:18).

The writer James declared, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ And he was called the friend of God”(James 2:23NKJV).

Copyright(c) 2011, Walter Fletcher Jr., All rights are reserved.  This article may be copied free of charge provided that it is not altered in any way from its original content.  Send any correspondence to:Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: