God Will Provide
God Will Provide
In Genesis 22, Abraham displays one of the most impressive acts of faith in all of Scripture. God promised Abraham that a great nation would descend from his son Isaac. When Isaac is a boy, God tells Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering, (Genesis 22:2). As you read through the account of Abraham's life, you see that he is not afraid to ask God questions. Abraham questions God on numerous occasions, yet he does not question God here. As the time of the offering approaches, it is Isaac's turn to ask his dad a question in Genesis 22:7, "where is the lamb?" Abraham's response in Genesis 22:8 is perfect: "God will provide."
What did Abraham mean? In Genesis 22:5 Abraham tells his servants, "the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you." In all likelihood, Abraham did not completely understand what God had in mind here. How would He provide? When would He provide? God does not give us those answers. He just gives us an assurance of His providence. Abraham displayed faith in the chapters leading up to Genesis 22, but we also his faith grow stronger as time goes on. It takes a person of tremendous strength to understand, God will provide, even in the most dire of circumstances. There are a few things we learn from Abraham's faith.
Faith should grow. Abraham's faith was not always as strong as it was in Genesis 22. Earlier in Abraham's life, he tried intervening on God's behalf. He and Sarah plotted together that he should have a child with Hagar to "help" bring about God's promise. There are times in Abraham's life we can point to and see a lack of faith in God's promises, (Genesis 17:17-18 and Genesis 20:11). However, as the years pass, and as Abraham's eyes are open to God's faithfulness, Abraham's faith grows stronger.
Faith requires boundless patience. Our idea of patience is often different than God's idea of patience. When God made His promise to 75-year old Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3, he had to wait 25 years until Isaac was finally born! Abraham actually waited 10 years before having a son with Hagar. Ten years seems like a long time to be patient. The thing is, faith requires boundless patience. Our faith begins to fail when we put a limit on patience.
Faith obeys without all the answers. Abraham struggled with this earlier in his life. Genesis 15:6 tells us "And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness." Yet just two verses later in Genesis 15:8, we see Abraham asking, "Lord God, how shall I know that I will inherit it?" Isn't that exactly like us? How, God? When, God? Abraham is no different than us in his desire to know more about how God plans to fulfill His promises. After 10 years of waiting, Abraham thought he figured out the answer when he had a child with Hagar. Of course, just like us when we come up with answers on our own, it was the wrong answer. It took Abraham a long time to learn that he did not need to know all the answers. This is why, years later, as he is preparing to sacrifice his own son, he can honestly tell Isaac, "God will provide." Faith does not have to have all the answers. Faith is knowing God will provide, without understanding anything else.