Ezekiel 27:1-36; Hebrews 11:17-23; Psalms 109:22-31; Proverbs 24:3-4
NT: “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. He received the promises and yet he was offering his one and only son, the one to whom it had been said, Your offspring will be traced through Isaac. He considered God to be able even to raise someone from the dead; therefore, he received him back, figuratively speaking. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and he worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, as he was nearing the end of his life, mentioned the exodus of the Israelites and gave instructions concerning his bones.” (Hebrews 11:17-22 CSB)
A few verses earlier in this chapter, the writer of Hebrews explained that Isaac, the son of promise, became a reality by faith. But then God asked something of Abraham that was quite unexpected and unexplainable. He wanted Abraham to sacrifice that son of promise on the altar. There were plenty of reasons to disobey God’s request. First of all, child sacrifice was a pagan practice. God never required children to be offered as sacrifices. Secondly, Issac was to be the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. By sacrificing Isaac, he would be sabotaging his posterity. However, Abraham’s faith in God was so strong, he knew that whatever God called him to do, God would be able to fulfill His promise – even if it meant bringing a sacrificed son back to life. When Abraham left with Isaac to obey God’s request, he said this to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there to worship; then we’ll come back to you (Genesis 22:5).” Whatever would end up happening on the mountain, Abraham fully expected by faith to return with Isaac so that God’s promise to him would endure. Through Abraham’s obedient faith, God provided a type of how His promise to Abraham would ultimately be fulfilled. God had promised Abraham that from his seed, all the nations of the world would be blessed. That promise was ultimately fulfilled in Christ, a seed of Abraham, who was God’s son, sacrificed on the cross and then brought back to life to fulfill His promise.
We have in this passage five generations of men enduring to experience the promise of God by faith. Abraham passed on his faith for the promises of God to Isaac. Isaac, not having experienced God’s fulfillment, passed on his faith for God’s promises by blessing Jacob. Jacob, at the end of his life, living as a refugee in Egypt, passed his faith for God’s promises to his sons and two of his grandsons. Joseph, despite all the challenges he faced through his life, knew by faith that God would one day rescue the children of Israel from Egypt and instructed his people to bury his bones in the promised land when that day arrived. By faith, God’s promises, God’s word, God’s will, and God’s ways were passed from generation to generation to generation, enduring the test of time and the trials of life. God is faithful to His word, but He is not bound to our time table. Faith allows us to see beyond the tests. Faith allows us to see beyond the trials. Faith allows us to see beyond the perceived delays and slow pace. Faith allows us to even see beyond our mortal lives and be convinced that God’s promises will one day be fulfilled in entirety. We are able to endure all by faith.
Psalms: “Help me, Lord my God; save me according to your faithful love so they may know that this is your hand and that you, Lord, have done it. Though they curse, you will bless. When they rise up, they will be put to shame, but your servant will rejoice. My accusers will be clothed with disgrace; they will wear their shame like a cloak. I will fervently thank the Lord with my mouth; I will praise him in the presence of many. For he stands at the right hand of the needy to save him from those who would condemn him.” (Psalms 109:26-31 CSB)
This psalm was written by David and is classified as an imprecatory psalm. Imprecatory psalms were written to ask God for His vengeance on His enemies and justice for the wronged and oppressed. In this psalm, David was the one being wronged. Because of the nature of the wrongs done to David, it is believed that this psalm was written before he had become king. With that in mind, David was a man who had been given a promise from God and had been anointed as Israel’s future king. At the time of this psalm’s writing, there was a man threatening the fulfillment of that promise. Instead of taking matters into his own hands, David placed the matter in God’s hands and asked Him to make things right. Instead of growing discouraged and giving up on the promise, David endured through the trials believing that God would help him. How was David able to do that? By faith.
David knew by faith that God would use that challenging situation to bring Him glory. David knew by faith that though his enemy was cursing him, God would bring blessing. David knew by faith that though his enemy was bringing shame on his head, God would bring shame on his enemy’s head and vindicate David. By faith, in the midst of challenge and trial, David was able to praise God, see beyond the challenge and trial, and know that God would save him and fulfill His promise.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You that You give me the ability to endure challenges, tests, trials and delays by faith. You are faithful to Your promises, and because of that, I can have faith in You to fulfill Your promises. Lord, because You endured this life and even endured the torture and death of crucifixion by the joy that was set before You, in You I can endure all by faith as well. Help me endure all by faith as I keep my eyes and my faith on You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.