Why did God ask for Isaac?


In Genesis 22 God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, his firstborn son of his old age. Why? Many people, pastors included, preach that it was a test of Abraham’s faith and it was but there is another reason. The firstborn belongs to God, of animals and men, if the firstborn is not redeemed by another sacrifice then they must die. Now, today the sacrifice could be service to others or service to God. My mother prayed to God that my life would be used by Him when I was a baby. She told me that she dedicated me to God when I was born. When she told me this many years ago, I didn’t want to know what it meant and I didn’t really care because I was angry about the way that my parents were in court fighting over child support.

It took many years for me to realize what she was saying, but since I became a pastor I have learned what the phrase “first fruits” really means. In Abraham’s case, Isaac had not been redeemed by the sacrifice of an animal so when Isaac got old enough, he was around twenty years old at the time, God asked Abraham to sacrifice him on the mountain. I’m sure that didn’t make Abraham very happy. In fact, he likely did not sleep much during the night prior to the trip.

But his faith shows up even before they make it to the mountain. When he and Isaac leave the servants with the donkeys or camels that they were riding, he told them that “I and the boy will go to the mountain yonder and worship and we will come again unto you. Abraham had the faith to believe that if God allowed him to sacrifice his son of promise, then God would raise him to fulfill the promise that He had made about Isaac and his descendants. Because God had made that promise and He would have to raise Isaac from the dead if that promise was real!

The promise was real but God didn’t have to raise Isaac from the ashes of sacrifice, He provided a substitute for Isaac just as God provided a substitute for our sins in His firstborn Son, Jesus. Many of the Old Testament saints and prophets looked forward to His coming and they saw Him and rejoiced. Have you come to know Jesus as your Savior and Sacrifice for all of your sins? All that we have to do is have enough faith in God and in Jesus as our Savior believing that He gave His life as a ransom for each of you. He redeemed you just as the ram in the thicket redeemed Isaac many years ago.

Give your life and your heart to Jesus because your life needs to be redeemed. If you don’t then your life, your eternity will be in hell with Satan and the rest of the people who rejected Jesus as their Savior. That is the only sin that leads to an eternity outside the presence of God.

Faith, what is it?


Have you ever wondered what faith really is? Faith according to the Bible is defined by this:  Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

In Ephesians our faith is part of the equation which brings us to salvation through our Savior: Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.

Also, without faith it is impossible to please God in anything that we do: Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith, it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

When God calls you or me to Himself through the conviction that we need Him, He gives us the faith which we need to believe in Jesus for our salvation. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have the faith which is necessary to bring us to that knowledge. It is a gift of God to us so that we can effectively believe in the promises which He has made to us in Scripture. That is what Biblical faith is.

We have faith in gravity or in our heart to keep beating and to keep us alive, yet we don’t usually acknowledge it. We have faith that the sun will rise in the morning, not gifted to us by God but because it has always come up each morning. That is faith in things which are seen. Faith in things which are not seen but are hoped for with a conviction that we will have them one day is the faith which is spoken of in the Bible.

This kind of faith cannot be proven or shown to anyone who doesn’t believe in God or Jesus or the Bible because it takes faith to believe in those things. If you don’t have it, you can’t get it except by belief in Jesus and His atonement for your sins and you won’t believe that unless God gives you the faith to do so!

I know, it is a spiral which goes from faith to faith to faith but if you have it, you’ve got it and if you don’t then unless you are seeking Him, you won’t get it then either.

Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.” Reading God’s Word and seeking Him in it will bring you into a closer walk with Him so enjoy His Presence in your life by cultivating a friendship with God. He is always present with you so treat Him as a treasured friend and talk to Him, walk with Him, seek His advice and act on His advice that is given to you.

By faith in Him and through Him we can conquer any problem in our lives, so make sure that you seek Him and His Son’s friendship while you can. Life only lasts for a little while, so make sure that you are friends with the Author of Life!

Faith is powerful!


Acts 3

1 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. 2 And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; 3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. 4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. 5And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. 6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. 7 And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God: 10 And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.

Peter had preached the sermon on the day of Pentecost just before this healing event occurred but what made this healing special? The lame man had faith. He didn’t know Jesus, but he was expecting something from Peter and John. It is that expectant faith which brings the miracles of God into our lives! Some of us who have given our hearts to Jesus and asked Him into our lives and our hearts have faith because without it we wouldn’t have felt the pull on our hearts to come to Jesus.

But many times our faith is tested in ways that we don’t recognize as a test and we don’t expect anything from that experience. We go through it and we may pray for God to give us the strength to get through whatever it may be, but we don’t expect a miracle from it. But…we should!

While the lame man was actually expecting money from Peter, it was that attitude of expectancy which brought his miracle into his body. He expected something, anything from Peter and when Peter said “in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk”, he did! He expected something and he got more than he expected from the encounter.

So, why don’t we get miracles today? Some say it is because miracles only happened at the beginning of the church age. I think it is because of our stubborn hearts and minds which have been “programmed” to discount things which science can’t explain. But miracles do happen today. Some of them are part of a medical treatment or surgery which God uses to bring a miracle into that person’s life. Which allows doctors to see that their treatment works in concert with prayer and faith.

Some of the doctors may not see the recovery as a miracle but there are times when a healing happens and the doctor can’t explain it because it happened through his treatment but not because of the treatment. In other words, the doctor wasn’t expecting a healing in this instance but the patient and their family were and God honored that. I imagine that many of these miracles happen more often than we realize. They just happen in the background and unless there is faith involved the healing might not have happened at all.