PATRIARCH IN FAITH (4)

The grace of Almighty God will take us to our destination.

FAITH IN TRIAL

In episode after episode, Genesis shows how Abraham’s faith is severely tested. Yet, when everything seems lost, God intervenes. In Egypt, for example, Sarah is in danger of being taken into Pharaoh’s harem. Had this mishap befallen the ancestress of Israel, the promise of a great progeny would not have been fulfilled. But the divine plan, so solemnly initiated, is not to be thwarted, and God’s hand intervenes. The God of Abraham is Lord in Egypt; the protection of His chosen ones are not circumscribed by space.

Again, when it is necessary for Lot and Abraham to part, Lot is given the freedom to choose where to go. The future of Israel depends upon his decision. Lot chooses, not the land of promise, but the Jordan Valley that would later know the Moabites and Ammonites. The promise of the one land, made to Abraham, has been safeguarded and the promise is now renewed (Genesis 13:14).

The totality of Abraham’s response of faith is demanded when God tells Abraham: “Take your son, your only son Isaac whom you love…and offer him there (in the land of Moriah) as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you” (Genesis 22:2). It seems that God is asking him to destroy in faith the only concrete evidence that faith could be fulfilled. Isaac is the only visible hope for the ultimate fulfilment of God’s promise. Although Abraham realises that God has the right to demand this sacrifice, the test to his faith is unimaginable. God is satisfied with his readiness to obey; a ram is substituted.

The near-sacrifice of Isaac is understood by Abraham and the people of God to mean that, unless we are willing to lose our life for God’s sake, we shall neither find nor save our life. This total demand of faith expects a complete, unqualified response, a total commitment. We find a strong echo of this in the succinct statement of Isaiah: “If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established” (verses 7:9b). For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength”. And you would not…(Isaiah 30:15). Just as the history of the people of God begins with Abraham, so too, the spiritual life of this people begins with faith. Salvation comes to him who believes in God’s promise and accepts life on His terms. Only thus can the promise be fulfilled.

TO BE CONTINUED …….

Sir Godfrey Gregg

Divisional Patriarch

Author: Godfrey Gregg