When he had lived 75 years, Abraham was called by God to leave behind all that was familiar to him: home, work, culture, and career. The Lord challenged him to move hundreds of miles and to live as a sojourner in a foreign country. Abraham followed God’s leadership.
God promised to make Abraham into a great nation, but he and his wife Sarah had no children. Years passed and the couple entered their senior years, but God insisted that they would have a son. Abraham believed God’s promise.
God commanded Abraham to be circumcised and to circumcise all the males in his household. This was a sign that he believed God’s promises and entrusted his future into God’s hands. Abraham accepted God’s mark of ownership.
Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years, until she was beyond child-bearing years and he was 100. Finally, God’s promise was fulfilled. They had a son and named him Isaac, which means laughter. Sarah laughed with joy. At last, things seemed to be coming together. Abraham celebrated God’s blessing.
Then God challenged Abraham again. The Lord tested him. He commanded Abraham to take his son, whom he loved, and to sacrifice him on a certain mountain. Isaac, who represented the future of God’s promises to Abraham, would be gone.
How many times did Abraham have to prove his faith to God? After all, he had left his home to live as a stranger in a strange land. He had believed God’s promises and adopted the sign of circumcision. And he had waited for a quarter of a century for his son to be born. What more did God want?
The Lord wanted Abraham’s faith to keep growing. No matter how many years he lived in this world, God kept urging Abraham to reach new heights in his walk with the Lord. God wanted him to have a vital and living faith, content but not complacent, confident but not presumptive.
As he had in the past, Abraham obeyed God. And on that mountain, God provided a substitute sacrifice for Isaac. Abraham gave up his son for the Lord’s sake and as a result he got Isaac back, along with an even stronger and more mature faith. Abraham passed the test.
Only our Lord knows what he has in store for us in 2014. Surely we will enjoy many great times of joy and blessing as God continues to fulfill his promises to us. We may face a test along the way. If we do, we can be certain that the Lord will provide.
May God’s Holy Spirit enable us to soar to new heights and discover greater depth in the faith this year,
Brother Richard Foster