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             Abraham kept on trusting in God. Even when Abraham's body was almost dead from old age, his faith was still alive and strong. Abraham believed that God would keep his promises.

            When Abraham was ninety-nine years old, God made an agreement with him and promised that Sarah would have a son. Sarah was eighty-nine years old--far too old to be having a baby. Yet, Abraham believed that God could fulfill his promise.

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             Later, the Lord came to Abraham and said, "Where is your wife Sarah?"

            Abraham said, "She is there in the tent."

            Then the Lord said, "I will come again in the spring time. At that time, your wife Sarah will have a son."

            Sarah was listening in the tent. When she heard these things, she did not believe them. She laughed and said, "Now I am old and my husband is old. I am too old to have a baby."

            The Lord said to Abraham, "Sarah does not believe what I say. She laughed and said, `I am too old to have a baby.' Is anything too hard for the Lord? No! I will come again in the spring, at the time I said, and your wife Sarah will have a son."

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             The Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. All these things happened exactly like God said. Sarah gave birth to a son, and Abraham named him Isaac, meaning "Laughter." Abraham circumcised Isaac when Isaac was eight days old, like God had commanded.

            Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born. And Sarah said, "God has blessed me and made me happy. Every person who hears about this will be happy with me. No one thought that I, Sarah, would be able to have Abraham's child. But I have given Abraham a son even though he is old." Sarah's laughter of doubt was thus turned to laughter of joy.

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            When Isaac was a young man, God put Abraham's faith to a test. God said to him, "Abraham!"

            Abraham said, "Yes."

            Then God said, "Take your son to the land of Moriah. There, kill your son as a sacrifice for me. This must be Isaac, your only son--the son you love. Use him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains there. I will tell you which mountain."

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            We can only imagine Abraham's grief. Abraham could have cried out, "How can you ask me to do such a thing, Lord? You promised that I would be the father of a great nation. You promised to give this land to my family. You promised that you would bless all nations through my descendants. You promised that you would make an agreement with Isaac like the one you made with me. You promised! How could you ask me to kill my son Isaac and burn him to ashes?"

            But out of Abraham's heart came a belief that God would somehow keep his promises.

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            Early in the morning Abraham got up and prepared his donkey. Abraham took Isaac and two servants with him. Abraham cut the wood for the sacrifice. Then they went to the place God told them to go.

            On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place to which they were going. Then Abraham said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey. I will take my son and go to that place and worship. Then we will come back to you later." Abraham believed that he and Isaac would come back together, no matter what happened on the mountain. Abraham believed that God would keep his promises.

            Abraham took the wood for the sacrifice and put it on his son's shoulder. Abraham took the special knife and fire. Then both Abraham and his son went up the mountain to worship. Abraham believed that God would keep his promises even if it meant raising Isaac from death.

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            On their way up the mountain, Isaac said to his father Abraham, "Father!"

            Abraham answered, "Yes, son."

            Isaac said, "I see the wood and the fire, but where is the lamb we will burn as a sacrifice?"

            Abraham answered, "God will give us the lamb for the sacrifice at the right time, my son."

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            So both Abraham and his son Isaac went to the place that God had chosen. There, Abraham built an altar and laid the wood on it. Then Abraham tied his son Isaac and laid him on the wood.

            We must remember that Abraham was a very old man at this time, and his son Isaac was young and strong. Isaac might have overpowered his aged father and escaped if he had tried, but he did not. Without a struggle Isaac surrendered to his father's will.

            Think of the emotions that Abraham felt in his heart as he laid Isaac on the altar and raised the knife to kill him. Faith pulled in one direction and love pulled in another. Faith said, "Trust in God at all cost." Love said, "Untie the boy and let him go." Abraham's trust in God won the tug-of-war.

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            As Abraham's knife flashed toward Isaac, the angel of the Lord called from heaven. He said, "Abraham! Abraham!"

            Abraham answered, "Yes?"

            The angel of the Lord said, "Don't kill your son or hurt him in any way. Now I know that you respect and obey God. I see that you are ready to kill your son, your only son, for me."

            Abraham looked and saw a ram. The ram's horns were caught in a bush nearby. So Abraham took the ram and killed it. Abraham used the ram as a sacrifice to God.

            With joy and thanksgiving in his heart, Abraham gave that place a name. He called it Yahweh Yireh, meaning "the Lord sees," and "the Lord gives." The Lord had seen Abraham's faith and had given Isaac back to him. It was as if Abraham had received his son Isaac back from the dead.

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             The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time saying, "You were ready to kill your son for me. This was your only son. Because you did this for me, I will make you this promise: I, the Lord, promise that I will truly bless you. I will give you many, many descendants, as many as the stars in the sky. There will be as many people as sand on the seashore. Every nation on the earth will be blessed through your descendants. I will do this because you obeyed me."

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            Abraham and Isaac went back to the servants who were waiting for them. Then they traveled back to Beersheba.

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             1. Abraham's faith is a model. Abraham believed that God would fulfill his promises no matter how impossible they seemed. This is the kind of faith that God wants us to have.

            According to the laws of nature, it was impossible for Sarah to have a baby at the age of ninety. But Abraham believed that God could do anything. Abraham trusted God so much that he was willing to kill his own son when God commanded it. He still believed that God would bless the whole world through Isaac--even if Isaac had to be raised from death. Abraham's faith is amazing. Abraham's trust in God is a model for everyone. Abraham's faith made him right with God. We, too, are made right with God when we trust and obey.

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            2. Nothing is too hard for God. From a doctor's point of view, it was physically impossible for Sarah to have a child. God, however, is not limited by natural law. He is all powerful. God gave Abraham and Sarah a son after their bodies were almost dead. 

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            3. God accepted a ram as a substitute for Isaac. Offering animals to God as a gift was nothing new. Abel had brought the best parts of his best sheep to God as a gift. Noah had built an altar and burned birds and animals on it as a gift to God. But on Mount Moriah, we come to something new and different. An animal is substituted for a man.

            Abraham's faith in God was so strong that he was willing to sacrifice his own son to the Lord. But God stopped him from killing Isaac and provided a ram instead. One life was put in the place of another. The life of the ram was substituted for the life of a human being. The ram died, and Isaac lived.

            Many years later, Someone would come and offer himself to God as a sacrifice for all mankind. God would accept his life as a substitute for our lives. He would die that we might live. He would be called "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."

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            4. God wants to rescue us from sin. When sin entered the world, God set in motion a plan for saving humanity from the power of evil. In the Garden of Eden God promised that a descendant of Eve would crush Satan's head. Later, God revealed that all families of the earth would be blessed through a descendant of Abram. Both of these promises pointed ahead to the same Person. Some was coming to defeat Satan and to bless all nations of the earth.

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 Scripture References: Genesis 18 through 22; Deuteronomy 18:10; John 1:29; II Corinthians 5:18-21; Hebrews 6:13-20; 9:22; 10:4; 11:4, 8-19; 12:24.


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