The Triumph of Faith

Scripture: Genesis 20:1-18, Genesis 21:1-34, Genesis 22:1-24
Lesson: 9
Abraham is called to the ultimate test of faith: the sacrifice of his son Isaac.
When you post, you agree to the terms and conditions of our comments policy.
If you have a Bible question for Pastor Doug Batchelor or the Amazing Facts Bible answer team, please submit it by clicking here. Due to staff size, we are unable to answer Bible questions posted in the comments.
To help maintain a Christian environment, we closely moderate all comments.

  1. Please be patient. We strive to approve comments the day they are made, but please allow at least 24 hours for your comment to appear. Comments made on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday may not be approved until the following Monday.

  2. Comments that include name-calling, profanity, harassment, ridicule, etc. will be automatically deleted and the invitation to participate revoked.

  3. Comments containing URLs outside the family of Amazing Facts websites will not be approved.

  4. Comments containing telephone numbers or email addresses will not be approved.

  5. Comments off topic may be deleted.

  6. Please do not comment in languages other than English.

Please note: Approved comments do not constitute an endorsement by the ministry of Amazing Facts or by Pastor Doug Batchelor. This website allows dissenting comments and beliefs, but our comment sections are not a forum for ongoing debate.

For a fresh, practical look into God's Word, join us now for "central study hour." Pastor Doug Batchelor and the pastoral team share new insights into the weekly lesson study. Receive power for practical living today. Good morning and Happy Sabbath. Welcome to sac central this morning for Sabbath school. I would like to welcome our visitors and our members that are joining us here in the sanctuary.

And a special welcome to you that are joining us from across the country and around the world, live on the internet this morning, through radio and television, any way that you're worshipping with us this morning, we welcome you. And thank you for joining our Sabbath school family. This morning we're going to start our song service with hymn number 223. Due to technical difficulties with debbie who is in india, we have no requests this morning. So this morning we're going to sing my two favorites.

Hymn 223, "crown him with many crowns." We'll sing the first and the last verse... If you have a special hymn that you would like to sing with us on a coming Sabbath, just go to our website at, and click on the music link. And there it will lead you through on how to request one of your favorite hymns. And we would love to sing that with you on a following Sabbath. Our next hymn this morning is .

"All hail the power of Jesus' Name." We're going to sing the first and the last verse. Hymn 229... Our Father in Heaven, we thank you for this beautiful Sabbath morning to come and worship and your feet, to worship you as our creator, our Savior, our Lord, our sustainer of life. We ask you to please be with us today as we study Your Word. Please be with pastor white as he brings us Your Words that we can learn more about you, how much you love us.

And that we can take that love that you give us to share with the cold, dark world and let them know that you are coming soon. We pray these things in the precious name of Jesus. Amen. Our lesson study this morning will be brought to us by pastor harold white, the administrative pastor here at sac central. Thank you very much and welcome to each and every one of you.

Again, we appreciate so much the music that we enjoy each Sabbath morning. We want to extend a very warm welcome to all of you who are listening from other parts of the world, by computer, satellite tv, whatever it is. We are happy that you are joining us this morning. And I just wanted to just say this one thing about that. You know, we enjoy receiving emails from our listeners around the world.

And many of you have send in your prayer requests. And we certainly take those serious. In fact, our secretary prints them out on a little sheet. When we have our staff meetings, we gather around and we kneel before our God and we bring those petitions before him. And so we just enjoy hearing from you.

We enjoy hearing about answers to prayer. And all your comments, good and bad, we get both. And we enjoy that because we always want to continue improving. Don't you think that's important? Continuing improving whatever we do for the glory of God. So again, we welcome you.

We're in the quarterly this quarter of "beginnings and belongings." And we're on lesson number 9, "the triumph of faith," a wonderful lesson. And we have our memory verse there in the lesson taken from Genesis 22:12. And I would invite you to read along with me this morning this memory verse. "'Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me.'" Now, I forgot to do a little something this morning. And that is to remind everybody there is a free offer.

It's entitled, "is obedience legalism?" It's offer number 706. And all you have to do is call -788-3966, or go to "Is obedience legalism?" You'll not want to miss that if you haven't got that in your library already. So we have this wonderful text, a wonderful story, probably one of the most astounding stories in all the Bible. I'm sure you will agree to that as we get into it this morning.

Now some of you have the King James version, the old king James version. And just two more verses down from Genesis 22:12, you have Genesis 22:14. And there, if I threw out the terminology "jehovah-jireh," how many of you understand what that means? Yeah, many of you do. Right? If you have the old king James, it says, "jehovah-jireh" in verse 14. In the new king James version, it's already translated for you, meaning, God will--"the Lord will provide.

" So jehovah-jireh is a wonderful, wonderful little term. In fact, I believe that's kind of a term that we should have on the tip of our tongues. Whenever you have a problem, a trial, or any kind of a situation comes up in your life and you don't know how you're going to see your way through it, all you have to do is say, "jehovah-jireh." God will provide. the Lord will provide, won't he? Have you experienced that in your life? When you just seem like you're up against a dark wall. And then you just turn everything over to the Lord.

And God is amazing how he works things out for all of us. Now we're going to get to this story in just a few moments. But as we address Sunday's title, Sunday's title is "lying through silence." And I wanted to just have us note that first paragraph in our quarterly and just share it this morning. It says, "soon after the destruction of sodom and gomorrah, Abraham moved to a region near the border of Egypt, approximately 80 miles southwest of hebron, before traveling north to gerar, located in a fertile valley southeast of gaza. The city-state of gerar was then ruled by a philistine named abimelech.

" Now, to get us started, we need to have someone read for us, if they will, Genesis chapter 20. Do we have a volunteer? We have a volunteer right over here. Okay, mike. We want to actually have a few verses to kind of get the setting of where we're going this morning. Genesis chapter 20, and we want mike to read 1 through 12.

I know that's a lot of reading, but I know you can do it, mike. Okay. "And Abraham journeyed from there to the south, and dwelt between kadesh and shur, and stayed in gerar. Now Abraham said of Sarah his wife, 'she is my sister.' And abimelech king of gerar sent and took Sarah. But God came to abimelech and in a dream by night, and said to him, 'indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man's wife.

' But abimelech had not come near her; and he said, 'Lord, will you slay a righteous nation also? Did he not say to me, she is my sister?' And she, even herself said, 'he is my brother.' In the integrity of the heart and the innocence of my hand I have done this.' And God said to him in a dream, 'yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against me; therefore I did not let you touch her. Now therefore, restore the man's wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.' So abimelech rose early in the morning, called all his servants, and told all these things in their hearing; and the men were very much afraid. And abimelech called Abraham and said to him, 'what have you done to us? How have I offended you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? And you have done deeds to me that ought not to be done.

' And abimelech said to Abraham, 'what did you have in view, that you have done this thing?' And Abraham said, 'because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will kill me on account of my wife. But indeed she is surely my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.'" Okay, thank you very much. So there you have the story. And first of all, we'd like to note out, make a note the fact that it's a wonderful thing that God intervened before anything happened, so that there could never be any questions about whom Isaac belonged to.

Because he was going to be conceived in a very short time, and so there was no question that it was going to be Abraham's son. God intervenes very quickly. But my question after having read that story: is this lying through silence, or is this lying audibly, or is this what you call half lying, half telling the truth? And you kind of think it's kind of half the truth and half not the truth. And so in a way, yes it is lying through silence because he's not sharing that which would of made it the complete truth. Now I venture a guess that there are people that read this story all over world, that have read this story maybe for the first time, or reading it again.

And they might say, "what is the problem with that?" I mean here it was, he wasn't exactly telling a lie. He was telling something that was truthful. And if he, he thought if had shared the whole truth, he might, his life might have been in danger. So what is wrong with that? Well, the thing that was wrong with it was here was a man of God, representing God and he's telling something that's less than the truth. And that's when it gets serious, isn't it? Because we cannot be anything less than the total truth.

Now, what's happening in our world today, I don't if you're aware of it, you probably are. Dishonesty is rampant. In fact, I was reading a book. It's entitled, "the day America told the truth." And it says, it gives some statistics: 91% of those surveyed, 91% say they lie routinely on matters that they consider trivial, now 35% say they lie on important matters, % of those surveyed said they regularly lied to their parents, so parents take heed to that, % of those surveyed said they lied to their friends, friends take heed to that, and 73% say they lie to their siblings. And 69% of those surveyed, this is the worst I think, say they lie to their spouses.

So you can understand why divorce rate is about 50% at least, when there's that much lying going on. Man alive, that's really incredible to me, those kind of statistics. We live in a lying world. Dishonesty is ramped. It's terrible.

Now pastor wanted to kind of check his congregation, so he said, he decided in his mind he was going to preach a special sermon. And so he, one Sabbath morning, he tells his congregation, he says, "next Sabbath, I'm going to preach a very special sermon. And in fact, it's so special I want you to do a little homework." So he says, "between now and next Sabbath, you go home and you make sure you read the 17th chapter of the book of Mark." And so he comes next Sabbath, he stands in the pulpit, and he says, "now," he says, "this is important subject. How many of you did your homework? How many of you read Mark chapter 17?" And almost every hand shot up in the air. And he says, "you're the ones I want to talk to because there's no 17th chapter of Mark.

And I'm talking about lying this morning and liars." Boy, these pastors, you gotta be careful of them. They're tricky. You gotta be careful. Well, the lesson tells us that this is an example of someone trying to stick to the letter of the law, but not really telling the exact truth, missing the principle of telling the exact truth. Now I've had experiences like that.

And I'm sure you have too. People come along and they say they're teaching something, but they say, "no, I'm not teaching that." In fact, I just had a recent experience with the "I'm not teaching that." Because they didn't come right out and say the exact words, but when you examine everything they taught, they were teaching that. You know, they're trying to keep to the letter of the law while getting around it by teaching something different. Now how serious is lying? Pretty serious. Do you know, do we have to be reminded that it's number nine in the Ten Commandments, where it says, "thou shalt not bear false witness?" It comes after the big three.

"Thou shall not kill," "thou shall not commit adultery, "thou shall not steal," and then you have number nine, just as important as the previous three, don't you think? In fact, they're all very important. I think it's a kind of a sad commentary when preachers have to try to get people to feel guilty about lying. That's the kind of world we're living in today. Sometimes you think of preachers, you know, preachers trying to help them, help their people not to feel guilty, to get around guilt, to get over guilt, to do away with guilt. But when it comes to lying, it seems like sometimes maybe we have to inflict a little guilt upon people in our world today.

Well, there's one giant point I think we need to make before we move on in our lesson. And in fact, I would like to have somebody read John 14:6 if they would. "Jesus saith unto him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto The Father but by me.'" Thank you very much. We have an advantage living today because we can know implicitly how to live a life of telling the truth.

And that is to have Jesus, because it says very plainly in this text he is the truth. So if you have Jesus, can we assume that you will tell the truth? If you are in Christ, does that mean you will not lie? Let me ask you a little differently. If Jesus is truth and someone claims to be hid in Christ, he won't lie. Is that right? I believe that's a fair assessment. But let's be honest with ourselves.

Do we sometimes convince ourselves that, you know, "a little white lie here and a little bitty lie over there doesn't matter all that much. I'm still in Christ. I still believe in Jesus." I don't think so. I think if we lie, we better confess it. And we better get right with God and say, not only confess it, we need to repent of it.

Repent means we don't want to lie anymore. So Jesus is truth, period. If you are in Christ, you will tell the truth. Now the proof is in the pudding, as they always say. There was a man who was sent to spain by his company.

And the reason he was chose this assignment was because going overseas he was going to make quite a bit more money than he would just working normally in the plant there in America, here in America. And the reason he wanted to make more money was because he wanted to go ahead and get married to his long-time girlfriend. So their plan was the both of them were going to save up as much money as they could, that when he came back they'd have enough money to put down on a brand-new house. And then they could go ahead and finalize their plans on getting married. So here he was, he took off to spain.

And as the lonely weeks went by, she began back home expressing some doubts about his faithfulness. After all, over there in spain there's a lot of beautiful women. How many of you ever been to spain? Well there's a lot of beautiful women all over the world. But over there in spain, there's beautiful women. And so she was beginning to express her doubts about how faithful he might be.

But he said, "no, no, no," he says, "I'm holding myself for you." He says, "I admit that now and then I'm tempted. But I just, I fight it, I'm keeping myself for you." Well in the next mail he got a package and a little note, a letter to go along with it. It contained a note and a harmonica. He says, "I'm sending this to you," his girlfriend wrote, "so you can have something to take your mind off of those girls." Well, the young man wrote back and says, "oh, thank you, thank you. And I'm practicing my harmonica every night," thinking only of her.

Well, when the young man returned to the United States, he got off the plane. His girlfriend was waiting for him right there. And he was ready, ready to run up to her, embrace her. And she says, "wait, just a minute. Let me hear you play something on that harmonica.

" The proof is in the pudding. Isn't it? That's right. We bill ourselves as Christians, we better come through as Christians. And coming through as Christians mean that we tell the truth. Right? Christians tell the truth.

The marquee of our lives says, "we belong to Jesus." And a little lie will make our performance sound really off-key, and we'll be booed off the stage, you might say. Now Abraham, as a great a man of faith as he was, he slipped up big time I believe, lying like this as he did. This is actually the second time he did this. Twenty years before he did it back in Egypt to the pharaoh. He should have learned his lesson after one time, but as human nature is sometimes it takes more than once for us to really learn something.

But as we move on in our lesson, God is so, so, so, so, so good. Because he does fulfill his promise of giving them that blessing that he kept telling them that they were going to have. They were going to have this son. Evidently, and we know he did, Abraham repented of his sins and God blessed him with this looked for, wonderful birth of Isaac, which is the next lesson, Monday. And most often when we think about a new baby coming into this world, we think about all of the excitement and all the happiness that is generated.

Right? Don't you get excited when you know there's going to be a baby in your family? A grandchild maybe, a great-grandchild even. A baby brings a great amount of excitement. But that wasn't totally the case here in this story. And we all know that it had to do with something that existed already in Abraham's family, namely hagar and ishmael. And we'll get to that in a moment.

But in the naming of this baby, there were painful reminders of their sin. And this brings out in the lesson that the word--name Isaac means, "and he laughed." This would forever be a lesson to Abraham and Sarah reminding them that when God had given them this promise, in separate instances, incidences, they both laughed. And even God had to question, why did Sarah laugh? She kind of tried to lie about it, but they both laughed at God. And it's never good to laugh at God or scorn his messages. Do you agree with that? It's never good to do that.

Now let's consider the problem of their unbelief. And we want a couple texts here. Genesis 21 if somebody would read Genesis 21, look that up. Somebody else look up Genesis chapter 17. Okay, Genesis 21 over here.

And let's see, Genesis 17 back there. Genesis 21 is verse 1, 2, and 3. And Genesis 17 will be verse 17, , and 19. "And the Lord visited Sarah, as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age.

But Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bore unto him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being 8 days old, as God had commanded him." Okay, thank you very much. And let's then turn to Genesis :17-19. "Then Abraham fell upon his face and laughed, and said in his heart, 'shall a child be born unto him that is 100 years old? And shall Sarah, that is 90 years old, bear?' And Abraham said unto God, 'oh, that ishmael might live before thee!' And God said: 'Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed, and thou shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him." Okay, and thank you very much. I think there's something that needs to be pointed out here in the fact that when you read these texts you understand that these promises given to Abraham and Sarah, I think they were kind of overlooking something.

These promises were more than just for their immediate desire to have a son. That little phrase there, it would establish a covenant with him and his descendants, a long-time blessing. It was to be a blessing that would be, well as I said, a long time, not just for them. They were so focused upon their desire to have this son right here and now, that I think they forgot to look or listen to the long term goals of God. Now I believe God has short-term goals and long-term goals, just like we probably should have.

And I think that's one area that they were overlooking. There was a caption I saw once where a little character was, he said, "I think it's important to establish goals in life. I've set both short-term goals and long-term goals." And as he nibbles on some food, he explains, "my short-term goal is to get fed again in 4 hours. My long-term goal is to get fed again in 8 hours." Now there's a man that had both short and long-term goals. But Abraham and Sarah, they were just totally focused on the here and now.

And when you and I do things like that, when we are focused only on the here and now, what's in it for us right now, then it is easy to scorn some of the messages of God. It's easy to forget what he's really trying to do. Long-term goals for a Christian is not just to become a Christian yourself, but what God may do through you for others. That's what God is really looking for. Think about some of the great Christians in this world and how many multitudes they brought to Jesus.

That's the long-term goal. I think that is important for us to understand. But you know how human nature is very resilient. What does Sarah say after the birth of Isaac? Someone read Genesis 21 for us. Genesis 21, if we have somebody with, raise your hand please, right here, pancho.

Genesis 21 and we'll want to take a look at verse 6 and 7. "And Sarah said, 'God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.' And she said, 'who would have said unto Abraham that Sarah would have given children suck? For I have borne him a son in his old age.'" Okay, well that's very interesting because as you think about that and you read that in light of this whole story, what I believe Sarah was doing here was trying to put a good spin on this name. Now it's something to be thought of as a person having no faith when you are proclaiming that you are in the faith. And that's really what this name was saying. "You had lacked faith and this is going to be a forever reminder of you.

" But she turns it around kind of and puts a good spin on it. And in fact, we're often all very good at that, putting a good spin on things. They're exceptionally good at that in the world of politics, right? In fact, they have what you call spin doctors. Isn't that what they call them? Spin doctors. And they put a good spin on a terrible--we heard a lot of that after this election, right? Trying to put a good spin, "oh we're going to work really good with each other now.

" You know, "we're going to do our best," and all that putting a good spin on the elections. But that's what I think she was doing actually. Human beings are very good at doing that. I ran across a couple examples of how we might do this. It's very interesting.

Listen carefully. Someone trying to describe an inept person might say, "I enthusiastically recommend this candidate with no qualifications whatsoever." Or describing an ex-employee who had problems getting along with the fellow workers, "I am pleased to say that this candidate is a former colleague of mine." Someone trying to describe an unproductive candidate might say, "I can assure you that no person would be better for the job." One more, describing an applicant not worth consideration, "I would urge you to waste no time in making this candidate an offer of employment." Well, we're pretty good, aren't we? Putting spins on things around especially when it adds a little relish to a bad situation. Now another reason I say this, I believe Sarah was doing this because of the way she treated hagar. I think she might have been a Godly woman in many respects throughout her life, but this was not her finest hour. I mean she treated hagar terribly.

And she was not really close to the Lord, I believe, at this particular time in her life. I mean just the way she said it, "God has made me laugh and all who hear will laugh with me." Well, not all who hear was hearing was laughing. I can assure you hagar wasn't. And ishmael of 17 years of age by now, he I doubt was laughing along with Sarah. In fact, it got so bad that God had to intervene and talk to Abraham and told him to do exactly as Sarah was saying and send them away.

And think how terrible that must have been for Abraham. This was, this was his son. And this was a woman he had a son with. And these two lessons, these two things, the very next lesson is when he had to get the message from God about Isaac. So imagine those two profound, dramatic experiences for Abraham.

Amazing. Great men of faith suffer as everybody else does when they fall into sin. Right? I don't care how much faith you have. If you fall into sin, you're going to suffer for some kind of consequences. In fact, some sins bring about lifelong consequences.

Isn't that true? And I believe that's very true in the case of Abraham. I believe if we are all honest with ourselves, we'd have to admit that some of the trials that I've experienced are some that I brought on myself. Not because I'm righteous as job was, you know, that kind of thing, but because I have sinned. And I believe that Abraham understood this very clearly. And the pain he was having was as a result of his sin.

So yes, and we talked about this last week, the division between ishmael and Isaac has brought turmoil to this world year after year after year ever since. Hasn't it? Now as we move on, let's have someone read Genesis 22. This is the most astounding story in all the Bible. If somebody would, right over here. Genesis chapter 22 and we need the first 8 verses of Genesis, the 22nd chapter.

"Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, 'Abraham!' And he said, 'here am i.' Then he said, 'take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains in which I shall tell you.' So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God has told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young son, 'stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.' So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, 'my father!' And he said, 'here I am, my son.' Then he said, 'look at the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?' And Abraham said, 'my son, God will provide for himself the lamb for the burnt offering,' so the two of them went together." Thank you very much. As I read through this again, one of the things that just jumped out in my mind was: why Abraham, why didn't you with this most astounding message that you just received from God, why didn't you even ask a question about it? Isn't that amazing? He didn't even question God with one little question.

To me as I read through it this time, that's the thing that just leaped out at me. So I started considering what are some of the possibilities? Why did he accept this so readily? Of course, he knew it was God's voice. He was used to hearing God. He was used to communicating with God. But do you suppose perhaps he was feeling a little guilty because of his past sins? And these were, he was thinking, "well, I just deserve this because of some of the terrible things that I've done.

" Well, pardon my saying it, but isn't that borderline morbid religiosity to think that God is just ready to strike you terrible when you do something wrong? Now I understand, I've done this in my life. I've done this with my kids. I thought, "boy, something bad happens to my kids it's because of my sins." And there is the principle that the sins of The Fathers will visit the children to the 2nd, rd generations and so forth. And we reap what we sow and all of that. But I think once you carry over to the point that God is not able to take these situations and turn 'em out around into something good, then you've carried it too far.

In fact, the Bible says he doesn't want anyone to perish. He wants everybody to be saved. And so I don't believe that was the reason that Abraham accepted it so readily in a sense, but could have been. Another thing perhaps could ask ourselves: "did, could Abraham have misunderstood God some way?" Well as you read through this, I don't believe there's any way to come to that conclusion because it says he took all the necessary provisions with him for the sacrifice, except an animal, for he knew the message was from God to take his son. And just the two of them went that last distance, left his men behind and left the two of them.

And in verse 6, says, "and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife." Can't you just picture that in your mind? Going up a mountain, Isaac is ahead of Abraham, Isaac is carrying the fire, and he's also carrying the knife, a sharp, sharp bladed knife. And he takes a look at that knife as he's going up the mountain and he looks at the knife from time to time and looks at his son. He looks up to heaven. You gotta be thinking that he's just thinking all these thoughts. "This knife is gonna take my own son's life with my own hand.

How can this be?" I'm sure he was praying all the time. But what a powerful, dramatic lesson or a picture you get in your mind as you think about these texts. Now there was no mistaking that it was God's message. So I believe that it was his awful message, it was a bleak picture, more than any man could ever have been presented with. But I just don't, somehow in Abraham's mind he knew, he knew God well enough by now that somehow God was gonna work this out in a positive way.

That's where we all need to be I believe. Now there's one sentence I don't want us to overlook from this lesson itself. It's found in the first big paragraph on Tuesday, where it says this, and you can read along. It says, "whatever else we can get from this story it should show us all the paucity--" that was a new word for me by the way. It means scarcity-- "of our own faith and realization that in the Great Controversy between good and evil, we are dealing with issues that go far beyond what we as sinners can understand fully.

" I truly believe that with all my heart. There are things that we simply cannot comprehend because God is so much higher than we are. And there's things on this earth we can't really fully understand yet. In fact, would somebody turn to Isaiah 55 and verse 8 and 9, --this is a text that goes along with this concept very well. Somebody want to read that for us this morning? Okay, right over here.

Isaiah chapter 55. And would you read for us verse and 9? 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,' says the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your own thoughts.'" Okay, thank you very much. You know, God is so much bigger than we are. That text really spells it out so very clearly.

Can we know God? Well, you know there's a text in Jeremiah that says, "when you seek me, you will find me, if you search for me with all your heart." So we can find God. We can find a relationship with God. But there is some aspects about God, especially in our human form here on earth that are just beyond us, his dimensions of time and space and knowledge are way beyond our frail minds. And what a sermon Abraham's son, Isaac, was preaching. He was preaching quite a sermon.

In fact, if you turn with me to Isaiah again, Isaiah chapter 53. This Isaiah 53 is a messianic prophesy of Christ, a very familiar passage. But I think that there's some things in this prophesy about Christ that are very applicable to Isaac himself. For you see in verse 3 it says, "he was despised and rejected by men." Certainly you can feel the sense that Isaac could have felt rejection even by his own father, his own father was going to take his life. And then it says, "a man of sorrows.

" Think of this, he was in the prime of his life. And he was going to be, he was going to be dead in just a few minutes. And then it says, "he was led as a lamb to the slaughter," in verse 7, "and as a sheep before his shearers is silent." Isaac put up no protest. "But dad, what do you mean?" Nope. "Dad!" Nothing.

No protest. As a-- "he was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before his shearers is silent." Amazing. Amazing the faith and devotion this young man had to his earthly father and to his Heavenly Father, preaching sermons throughout the eons of time for all of us to be inspired with. I read about a young man named steven. He was an exceptional young person, a poet, a photographer, a musician, a student on the dean's list at New York university, an avid reader, but he died at age 24.

Before he died though, steven made out a $5 dollar check and joined the cryonic society. Then he instructed his mother that to make sure once he was pronounced legally dead, his body would neither be buried or cremated, but frozen. So upon his death, five members of cryonic society promptly took charge, helping a long island funeral director pack steven's corpse in ice cubes for a 2-hour drive to the funeral home. There it was drained of all of its body fluids and infused with a kind of an antifreeze type solution to help preserve the tissues. Then it was packed with dry ice in preparation for placement in cryonic suspension in a crypt capsule, a giant bottle filled with liquid nitrogen.

In that state, steven will remain indefinitely maintained by the cost of $200 dollars per year that he had set up a foundation for. And this society will keep him in that state. And one magazine titled the story, "soul on ice." When his mother was asked if she expected steven to be raised from his cryonic capsule, she made this significant comment: "I have only a remote hope for my boy's resurrection." That's, I mean, there wasn't even that much hope that he was going to be resurrected from that ice thing. But I believe Isaac understood the concept of the great resurrection. And if God wanted him to lay down his life, he knew one day he would be raised to live with God forever.

And that's the joy, that's the peace, and that's the great thing about being a Christian today. If God asked you to lay down your life, or if it comes time for you to lay down your life, it's just for a short time. And then you'll be part of that great, great resurrection. And I got good news for you. You don't have to have your soul put on ice.

Just place your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee. That's all. I believe they understood a concept that's so relevant from a verse in Hebrews 13:5-6. Let's turn over to that. Hebrews 13:5-6.

It says, "let your conversations be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have. For he has said, 'I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.' So that we may boldly say: 'the Lord is my helper; and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.'" I was reading some commentary especially on verse 5 there and that phrase, it says, "the word never really is, in the original language, is a compounding of five negatives. Not that these negatives would be added to one another, but rather a multiplication by the other." So I understand this is really how this "never" should be translated: "I will never, no, not ever, no, never leave you or forsake you." Then the word "leave" in that verse in the original language, it something, it says, let's see, the word original Greek means "to leave behind, to abandon, to give up on, or to send back." So as you read that little phrase completely the way through, originally in the original language, it should go something like this: "I will never, no, not ever, no, never leave you behind, abandon you, give up on you, or send you back." That's a lot of assurance. Don't you think? That's the kind of relationship that I believe the Holy Spirit was filling Abraham and Isaac with so that they could actually take one step after another to go ahead and proceed with the instructions God had given them. Otherwise, how could you explain it? It's something totally divine there.

Something totally beyond us. Now some people might say, "well, what about these people we call in our world today, "suicide bombers." They sacrificed themselves because they think they are getting messages from God. Don't they? Well, let me just say this first. Anybody who sacrifices themselves is most undoubtedly being filled with some kind of spiritual power other than themselves. It's either good or bad.

In the case of Abraham and Isaac, it was a power of God that was leading them. Now what's the difference? Abraham was a man. Well, he was a patriarch and prophet. Right? He was a patriarch and prophet and God spoke to him audibly, gave him special messages. Whereas we have the Word of God.

And if we somehow get a message that contradicts with the Word of God, then we know it's not true. Right? That's the way we test that kind of thing in our world today. That's the difference of getting a message that says, "go and blow up this building with all these people in it." Where do you find that in the word? You won't find that no place. And you'll find God not teaching us to do that kind of thing in our world today. So, as we think about Abraham, let's go back to Genesis 22.

These are the most wonderful words. Abraham lived to be how old? Years old. And these are the most wonderful words Abraham ever heard in all years. And let's pick it up with verse . It says, "and the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven and said, 'Abraham, Abraham!' And he said, 'here am i.

' And he said, 'lay not thy hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him; for I know now that thou fears God, seeing thou has not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me." Don't you think those are the most wonderful words Abraham ever heard in all of his life? Absolutely. Oh, man. It's hard for me really to put myself in his place. I just can't really begin to comprehend it. After this is all over, you had to go back and explain this whole scenario to your wife.

He had to go back and tell Sarah all that just transpired. He didn't tell Sarah before he left and there was probably very good reason for that. And I don't want to make a huge issue of this, but as you think about this part of the story it does make a real patriarchal, priestly ministry statement. Sarah gave birth to Isaac, nursed him, guided and instructed him along with Abraham. But when it came to the priestly ministry of offering sacrifices, it was strictly a man's world to the point that she wasn't even informed.

Nowhere in sacred writing, in the sacred pages of the holy Bible or inspired writings do you hear of Sarah complaining about this story whatsoever. Now as I said, I'll leave that to you to draw your own conclusions, but there does seem to be something pretty paramount, important to all that. "A triumph of faith" is our week's title and we can certainly see how that's a great title for this story. Wouldn't you say? "Triumph of faith." And it was a go to lesson Wednesday it's talking about faith and works. Would somebody read--well, let's see--Hebrews 11:17-19? Somebody want to share that over here? Don't be--right there, okay curtis.

Hebrews the 11th chapter, 17-19. "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac, and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, 'that in Isaac shall thy seed be called,' accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from whence also he received him in a figure." Okay, thank you. And you think about the book of James. James is one of those no-nonsense Bible writers in chapter 2, verse 17, he says, "even so faith if it hath not works is dead, being alone." And in verse 18 says, "yea, man may say, 'thou has faith, and I have works.' Show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works." You don't have to guess what James is talking about. He's one of those persons that lays it out like it is.

And as I think about faith and works, I've come to this conclusion. Our works are what I'd like to refer to as a video camera of our faith. Our works is kind of like a video camera production of our faith. And I have a very good story to support that concept. There was a couple that had filmed their family outings and their family happenings all through their family life with an old 8-millimeter camera.

Now many of you don't even know what those are. But they were silent and picture's not too sharp, but they had collected them through the years. And they had some friends in another state that said, "we'll take those and we'll put 'em on a new vhs, you know videotape for you." So they sent off these to the other state to their friends. And they got the tape back, and they were so excited. They were so excited, they made some popcorn.

"Lets put the tape in the projector." And then as they did that, they begin to, the excitement just drained from them, because as they watched, their friends hadn't realized that when they recorded it, they had left the sound on. So when they began viewing, these so-called friends of theirs started making fun of them. And they heard everything they were saying. As the film continued to roll, their comments actually turned vicious. With every new scene came a cutting remark or sarcastic joke.

Daggers just entered their hearts as they thought about these, who people they had considered to be their friends. Although they were friends, they were cordial to their faces, the video recorded the true thoughts of their hearts. And I thought that's very much like it is with faith and works. We can profess a faith as large as the mountains, as clear as crystal-clear water, but if our works don't match, then it just doesn't match. It shows that our faith is faulty, right? Works will be the video tape of our, of our faith.

You see the concept of work and faith cannot be a dichotomy. Dichotomy is "a division into parts that are opposed." Faith and works cannot be a dichotomy. They go together. Even bad faith and works, they go together. If you have bad faith, you will have bad works.

If you have good faith, you will have good works. You cannot split them. You cannot say you have good faith and bad works. You cannot say that. Those two words will never be a dichotomy in one person.

They may become a dichotomy in two different people. You may have good faith. I have bad works. But that's a totally different thing. And so this concept of works, works is not a bad word.

Works is a good word. As long as you don't get into the concept of thinking that works are the things that are going to insure God's pleasure on you and your assurance into heaven. If you're doing that, then you've got works all mixed up. If you have works because of your faith and trust in God, then it becomes very clear that works is not a bad thing after all. Now, chapter 22 of Genesis is a chapter I hope you'll forever remember because it is a very astounding chapter.

But I want to give you a little trivia, a little bit of trivia in chapter 22. You'll find in that same chapter down a few verses that Abraham's brother, nahor, had two sons. And they were named huz and buz. So if you're ever playing trivial pursuit with somebody, and they ask you, "who are huz and buz? And where do you find that in the Bible?" Now you'll know, right? Aren't you glad you came to Sabbath school today? Huz and buz. How many of you named your kids huz and buz? I don't know.

That's quite a name. But I want to turn our thoughts to the question on Wednesday's lesson. It says, "what exists in your life, if anything, that you might need to sacrifice, not just to be justified before God, but to show that you have already been justified by him, through faith in Christ?" Well some people probably don't even think that they have to do that because that would be getting into works. But that's not true. We need to, we need to examine ourselves very carefully.

Examine our faith. No, no, examine our works sometimes to see what kind of faith we have. Right? That's I think the thing to do. Just as the lesson points out, it was the angel of the Lord that called attention twice to Abraham's obedience as a reason for blessing pronounced in Genesis 22. Now, this time slipped away so fast this morning.

I have to share with you the free offer again, number 706, "is obedience legalism?" Call 866-788-3966, or, and order this free study. Well, we ran out of time. We didn't even get to the marriage of Isaac. That is such an important issue. We'll have to just take it up another time, but I hope you study it out for yourself.

May God bless you. The website whose roots date back to the beginning of time is the definitive resource for Bible light on the Lord's day. Clear Bible answers for every question you've ever had about the Sabbath. Seven key topic headings guide you through the purpose of the Sabbath, which day is the Lord's day, the Sabbath in prophecy, questions about the Sabbath, how to keep it holy, the Sabbath in history, and many Sabbath resources. Visit today and share your newfound treasure with a friend.

Share a Prayer Request
Ask a Bible Question



Prayer Request:

Share a Prayer Request


Bible Question:

Ask a Bible Question