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came and Abraham failed to trust God,   The significance of offering Isaac is em-
        he afterwards came back to his first altar   phasized by the description of Abraham
        and called again on God. He persevered   as “he who had received the promises”
        when his nephew, a believer, went to live   (v17). Isaac had been a miracle baby; he
        in a wicked city.                     was the heir through whom Abraham’s
          We, too, must learn to trust God. When   descendants were to be as prolific as the
        things are ordinary and mundane, we   sand of the sea. So it would have seemed
        must trust Him. In the face of personal dis-  to Abraham that this request was contrary
        appointment and failure, we can always   to God’s purposes and promises. Would
        count on Him. And when other believers   his obedience now mean the forfeiture of
        turn away from truth and are conformed   his future and the invalidation of God’s
        to this world, we must continue to trust   promises to give him a posterity as numer-
        God.                                  ous as the stars?
        His Vision (v10)                        But God was testing Abraham (v17; Gen
          Abraham did have a vision, an appear-  22:1). Would there be anything Abraham
                                              valued more than God? Would Abraham
        ance of God, but he also had another kind   be constrained by his ideas of what it
        of vision; he was looking for a city beyond   meant to serve God or his perception of
        this world. Perhaps he was tempted to lay   what acceptable service looked like? There
        a footer, pour concrete walls and build a   is no hint that Abraham wavered for a
        mansion, but he recognized the transient   moment as he readied to do what God
        nature of this world and looked for a city   had asked. Obedience to God came first,
        with eternal foundations – the city built by   and Abraham left no room in his mind
        God. Abraham was a wealthy man, for he   for alternatives. He didn’t know what this
        was not negligent about his business, and   turn of events meant, but he calculated
        God blessed him plentifully. Yet he lived   that God could raise Isaac out of death in
        with a sense of God’s claim on him and an   order to fulfill His promises. But before
        awareness of eternal values.          Abraham could carry through with the
          What about my outlook on my pos-    sacrifice, the angel of the Lord intervened,
        sessions? Do I hold my possessions with   saying, “Now I know that you fear God!”
        a loose hand, accounting that they are   (Gen 22:12).
        temporal? Is my worldview calibrated to   There may be specific times of testing
        the Word of God, or has our materialistic,   in our lives when God tests our hearts to
        self-obsessed culture shaped the way I   prove our loyalty and devotion to Him.
        think and act? When have I last reflected   In the middle of our perplexity and un-
        that my eternal citizenship is in heaven,   certainty, God is looking to see if we are
        that we are but strangers here (physi-  willing to sacrifice our comforts and no-
        cally and spiritually), and that my stuff is   tions in simple obedience to Him.
        merely earthly?                         The testimony of Abraham’s faith chal-
        His Sacrifice (vv17-18)               lenges and encourages us. He knew the tri-
          This is perhaps the pinnacle of Abra-  als and triumphs of walking with God. But
        ham’s trust in the character of God. God   through it all, he trusted in the character of
        asked Abraham to offer his son Isaac as   God and aligned his life with God’s word
        a burnt offering on a faraway mountain.   and promises. He lived by faith.

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