“Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, “The Lord Will Provide”: as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son – “Blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants, as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed because you have obeyed My Voice.”
During the days that had passed, Abraham had felt his heart constantly pulled between fear and faith, as the loving father in him wrestled with the obedient servant of God. However, despite all the pressure he experienced, he stayed firm in his resolve to do what God had asked of him. Now he saw his faith in God fulfilled, when at the eleventh hour, with Isaac just a breath away from being sacrificed, the angel of the Lord intervened. What a moment for them both! When Isaac previously asked Abraham where the sacrificial lamb was, Abraham replied that the Lord would provide one. His words were seen to be prophetic, for we are told that Abraham saw a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. God provided an animal for Abraham’s sacrifice!
God never intended that Isaac should lose his life or that Abraham and Sarah should be deprived of their only son. He just wanted to give Abraham the opportunity to demonstrate his obedience to God, and the love he had, which would hold nothing back from Him. Abraham passed the test and progressed to another level of faith and blessing. When we release what we have to God, we receive it back multiplied and we also receive a promotion!
Friend, whatever need you are facing today, God is reminding us that He is Jehovah Jireh, the Lord our Provider. There is nothing He cannot do, and no need He cannot fill. He is looking to earth today, to see if we trust Him enough to tithe even when the bills are mounting up, or to keep our commitments to serve Him even when we have a healing need in our lives or are squeezed for time. He is looking for faith in the hearts of His kids, because faith pleases Him. It takes faith to believe the Word of God when all your circumstances tell you different and when things turn out contrary to your expectations. It takes faith in God to know that however bad things might seem to get, He has given you the power to overcome and that you will see the victory in the end. Abraham spoke words of faith, even when he could have believed that all was lost and that he had no way out. He spoke out what he knew to be the truth about God when he said that God would provide a lamb for the sacrifice. He voiced his faith in the Truth that El Shaddai is the ultimate provider. Everything we need is found in Him. Paul said in Acts 17:28: “For in Him we live and move and have our being”. He is our source of life and power. He is our source of victory.
Abraham’s faith pleased God. The Lord said to Abraham that because he had been willing to give to God what was most precious to him (his only son), he would inherit a very special and powerful blessing. He was to walk under the blessing of God in all aspects of his life; he was to be the patriarch of a tribe which would grow to uncountable proportions (as the stars of the heaven and the sand on the seashore); he and his posterity would have victory over their enemies as they expanded their borders. God also affirmed the promise He had already given to Abraham, that he and his descendents would be channels through which God would bless those who did not know His saving grace.
Friend, we may have all received promises from God, as we read His Word, or through the lips of His prophets. Let us look at how Abraham activated the blessings resident in the promises given to him:
1) He believed the Word of God and trusted the omnipotence of God to be sufficient for any situation. He had walked with God for many years and knew that the Almighty would not let him down however uncertain the situation seemed to be. He never doubted the truth of God’s Word.
2) He spoke his faith out loud. (“God will provide a lamb”). As these words were spoken out in faith, they turned a supernatural key to a blessing already granted but behind a closed door. Life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). There is great power in the tongue to release what is good, or (sadly), even what is bad!. Faced with the life and death situation of his son, Abraham activated the power of life!
3) He obeyed wholeheartedly. The blessing that was spoken over his life from heaven was a direct result of his obedience to the Word of God. He was told “because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son – “Blessing I will bless you…” God asked Abraham to do something extremely difficult, but he resolved to obey the Lord no matter what. Obedience keeps us in the blessing.
4) Obedience results in a generational blessing. Our actions impact not only our lives but the lives of those who come behind us. When God gave Moses the commandments (Exodus 20:5 -6) He said “…You shall not bow down to them nor serve them (the carved images). For I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
In Matthew 9:29, Jesus said “according to your faith shall it be done unto you. When we believe what God has said to us, we begin to draw on His Word and activate the blessings that are resident in His promises. God is delighted when we have faith for the impossible, and He provides according to our faith. (He is also grieved when we doubt Him and when we run away from challenges and refuse to stand in faith).
Two thousand years ago, God allowed His only Son to be slain upon an altar in our place so that all humankind could receive the power of His sacrifice and receive life everlasting. When Jesus was facing the cruel cross, He could have called upon legions of angels to deliver Him, but He willingly lay down His life that we might go free. He now asks us to believe in what He has done and to receive all the power and potential of the cross, and all the living blessings in His Word. After all, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Daddy God loves you, and there is absolutely no good thing that He withholds from you when you walk in His ways (Psalm 84:11). So invite the blessed Holy Spirit today to help you lay your burdens down at His feet and lay your life upon His altar. There is so much Jesus has made possible for you to know and to receive, as you believe and obey. I pray in Jesus’ name that you will receive all the victory and blessing decreed for you as like Abraham you look up and see that God has already provided!
Minoli Haththotuwa, 12 September 2011