“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17
In Genesis Chapter 22, Abraham is asked to do something that is beyond imagination. Genesis 22:2 says, “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.” (NLT)
Now growing up in church and Sunday School I always heard that God asked this of Abraham to “test his faith.” I have to be honest and say that every time this was mentioned, something in me seemed unsettled. Because I was taught never to question God and His sovereignty I would never give voice to it, but I always thought to myself, “what a cruel way to just test a man’s faith.”
Look closely at Genesis 22:1 and notice exactly what it says, “Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Did you notice that the words “tested his faith,” are never actually mentioned? So why then do so many use that term? I believe it is simply based on a traditional assumption, that rises form our need to give some reasonable explanation to what would otherwise seem so bizarre. God was not into human sacrifices, in fact He detested such pagan practices, as we can clearly see throughout scripture. So why then, would God ask Abraham to do this?
The word “test” here is from the Hebrew word nacah, with one of its primary meanings being to “prove.” God wasn’t just testing Abraham for the sake of testing him. He was proving something. Webster defines the word “prove” as, to establish the existence, truth, or validity of (as by evidence or logic). God was proving the establishment of the covenant He had made with Abraham.
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden, by listening to the lie of Satan, God could not violate His own law that He Himself had established and just come down into the earth to right this wrong. He had already given authority and dominion of the earth to man, and although Satan stole it in an illegal manner by taking on the form a serpent, God would have to come into the earth in a legal way, as a man, to win this authority back. God prophesied this to Eve and the serpent in Genesis 3:15, that one day her “Seed” would bruise his (Satan’s) head, which would be the death blow to Satan. The “Seed” God was referring to in the Garden was Jesus, His only begotten Son, who would later be known as “Sod of God” and “Son of man.”
You see, according to the Law of Covenant, when you are in a covenant agreement with a party and they give you their best, you must reciprocate and give them your best in return, regardless of what both “bests” are. God was proving the covenant agreement He had established with Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his only son on a specific mountain in the land of Moriah, which would later become known as Jerusalem.
Abraham did as God requested, and although God did not allow Abraham to kill Isaac, his obedience to the covenant agreement proved that the covenant was legitimate giving God legal access through Abraham’s blood line to bring Jesus into the earth. Abraham probably had no idea just how prophetic his statement was when he answered Isaac’s question about where the lamb was for the sacrifice. Abraham replied, “God will provide Himself a Lamb.”
Abraham is not called the “father of faith” because he had the greatest faith of all time. No, in fact he had moments where his faith wavered. He is known as the “father of faith,” simply because he allowed God to establish and prove the covenant agreement through him.
There was no lamb sacrificed that day. God had caused a ram to be caught in the thicket and showed it to Abraham just as the Angel stopped him from killing his son. Isaac that day, was as good as dead in all manner of perceiving and some scholars believe that it was there in that exact spot, that Jesus Himself, the Lamb of God that would take away the sin of the world, would be crucified.
You see, it was more than a test that day for Abraham, it was the proving of a covenant agreement between one man and the Most High God. The covenant, that would give Him the legal right to bring His Son into the earth to be the sacrifice for all of man’s sin and to provide us with complete Sozo salvation.
Today’s Thought: Because Abraham proved the Old Covenant and Jesus proved the New Covenant, we have legal right to the Sozo salvation that Jesus died to give us.