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Living by Faith (Vol 40) - Abraham: Jehovah Jireh!

Sunday English Service - 26 MAY 19


Please turn with me to Hebrews chapter 11. And let me read you from verse 17 to 19. By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense. We’ve been teaching from the book of Hebrews chapter 11, concerning the life of faith. And right now, we are here in this passage. From verse 8 to 19 is concerning Abraham and Abraham being the father of all those who believe. There's much to say about Abraham. The writer it looks like is seeing Abraham's life of faith in four stages. He sees it as four stages of faith. I've been sharing with you on this.

The first stage is the call of Abraham, where Abraham lives in a place where he does not know God, in total darkness and ignorance concerning God and God finds him there and appears to him. “The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham,” Stephen says. God makes an appearance to him and it must have been a remarkable experience. Abraham leaves his country, his people, and travels more than 1,000 miles away to go to the place where God would show him, not even knowing which place he’s going to and what kind of place it was. Launches out in faith. Leaves the old background, the practices, the beliefs, the lifestyle, everything, removes himself far from that and begins a new life.

Something like that happens to us also. That's what we call a born-again experience. And in that, faith is first experienced by a believer, that's the starting point of faith, we experience it at the time of salvation where God reaches out to us. We've also been in a place of ignorance, not knowing God, but God met us somehow, touched us, saved us, and we have left our old life and began a new life. And after that, Abraham goes and lives in that place where God had called him to. And there he finds out more truths about this life of faith. Faith is not only for salvation. A lot of people talk about faith only in terms of this doctrine called justification by faith. They think faith only applies to that. No, the Bible faith applies to real life and living life. And Abraham experiences other aspects of that faith that saved him.

The other aspects are that he finds that God is one who meets all his needs on this earth. As he lives his life on this earth, God is the one who supplies all his needs. That he must believe God to meet his needs. In the time of famine, in the time of challenges, God is there and he must have faith that God will meet his needs. And he also finds out that God also is his helper and his strength in the time of his battle against the enemies. God delivered his enemies into his hands. These are things that he experienced as part of the life of faith. He finds out there is more to faith than his experience of salvation.

Then the third stage of faith is the stage where him being almost 100 years old and body now just about dead, and his wife being 90 years old, her womb was dead, the Bible says. God took these two people in useless condition, cannot produce a child and produces through them descendants like the stars of the sky and the sands of the sea, and makes them the father and mother of many nations. God is a miracle-working God. These are things that must be experienced in the life of faith. Faith brings about great miracles. There is nothing impossible for God. One of the things that you will understand about faith is that when you believe God, you will find that God is the God of the impossible. That impossible things become possible by faith. This is part of faith life.

Now, we are the fourth stage of faith, which is the ultimate faith. I say ultimate faith because this is a stage that Abraham reaches after being very close with God for so many years. He has come to this ultimate stage where God asks him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, and Abraham, lo and behold, is ready to do it. Abraham has come to put his faith in God so much, trusts in God, completely believes in God, that whatever God says he's ready to do it. He is not afraid of God. He is not afraid that God will harm him, God will take away what he has. He's not afraid that God will do something that is harmful to him. No, he's not afraid of it. He’s totally trusting God. Totally believing God to the point of offering his son as a sacrifice. That's amazing.

It shows how much a person can end up loving God and serving God and be ready to do whatever God wants to do. It shows what level a man can go in faith - the ultimate level of faith. That you'll be ready to give up anything, ready to give anything that God asks you to do. Because you so totally trust in God, you are ready to do everything. All right. We're going to explore this. It's going to take three weeks to cover this because it’s an amazing story here. Everybody likes to hear stories, and I'm sure you've heard all kinds of stories love stories, war stories, adventure stories, and, all kinds of stories. But I'll tell you, this is a very rare story. Something like this comes by only very rarely, once in a while. I think this is second only to the story of God the Father giving His Son on the cross of Calvary. It’s an amazing, amazing story.

Now, in the 19th century, there was a movement called Enlightenment. And at that time, people started questioning this whole story and discrediting this whole story in the sense that they said, “What kind of a God are we worshiping? We must stand up against all these things and question these things.” “If you look at it rationally”, they said, “Who’s this God? He’s asking for a man to offer his son as a sacrifice, and yet, we believe that He is God.” And so, they spoke against this story and said, “We cannot worship a God who demands human sacrifice. It’s the lowest kind of thing that you can get into.” And so, they started talking about it in that way. But when you hear people talk like this, you know, and you can understand that in the darkness of their mind, they're alienated from God, they cannot understand what is happening in this story.

I showed you last week. That is why I dealt with you last week about these objections to this story. How people question this story and discredit the whole idea of our God and our salvation and all of that. They say, “This is Christianity. We don't want it because this is craziness.” “This is foolishness,” they say. But I showed you that Abraham offering his son Isaac as a sacrifice is really a show of love, because it is a story, which is a pageant and prophecy of the actual sacrifice that God will make of His Son one day. It is a story of God and Jesus. It is a story of how God gives His Son on the cross of Calvary. It is a story that shows very strongly the love of God, not the cruelty of God. God was never intending to take away Abraham's son, it was never His intention. Yes, God told him to come and offer his son as sacrifice but it was never the plan of God. God never had it in His mind to kill Abraham’s son.

That's why I went into it last week. In Genesis chapter 22, we looked at it. We went to the actual story as it happened. And there when God says, “Offer your son,” He doesn't simply say ‘son’, He gives him details said, “Your only son.” When you're asking a man to offer his son as a sacrifice, you can leave it very simply by saying, son, especially if he's got only one son to give. You don't have to prick him too hard. He says, “Your only son.” And then He says, “Your beloved son.” The reason those words and those descriptions are used shows us that there is much more to this story than God asking Abraham for his son. It is God saying, “Hey, listen to these words ‘only son’, ‘beloved son’, all of this,” these are all true about God and His Son.

When Jesus came out of the waters of baptism, God spoke from heaven and said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” This is not a story about Abraham and his son, it is a story about God and His Son, Jesus Christ. I told you that God never intended to kill Abraham’s son. God is not a cruel God. God is a God of love. He intended to give His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. Because God was in a jam really because God is a holy, righteous God. He hates sin. He cannot compromise with sin. The wages of sin is death. He cannot adjust. He cannot accommodate sin in any way. He cannot excuse sin in any way. He must punish sin. But since He's a God of love, He must save the sinner also. How do you punish sin by death where the man will die and then save the man? If he dies, he goes to hell. How can you save a man? You got to punish and save? How is God going to do it? God was in a fix; God was in a dilemma. How can He do both? There was no other way. God said, “I'm going to make My Son a substitute for the entire humanity and put the sin of the entire humanity upon My Son and pour out My wrath upon the sin on My Son as He hangs on the cross. And let Him die on the cross as a sacrifice, and then raise Him back again to life and thereby give life to everyone that believes in Him.”

This is God's way of salvation. This God is trying to tell the story of our salvation. That's what this whole thing is all about. Not only that. See, this story is about God's revelation of salvation. Not only that, this story has also something to tell us very profound things about faith. So that believers today can learn about faith. So, these two things we're going to look at today. What it tells us about the revelation, that God is our provider when it comes to salvation. God is our Jehovah Jireh. He will see to it that we are saved, that we are redeemed, that He is going to see to it and that faith is something that can be learned from the story of Abraham profoundly. We're going to show both of these things.

But in order to understand this more, you need to go to Genesis chapter 22. Because the author of Hebrews here in three verses tells us the whole of that event where Abraham was asked to sacrifice His Son. But if you read the original story of God coming to Abraham and asking him to offer his son as a sacrifice, it's a longer story. I want to read you 14 verses. I read the only two verses last week. Let me read to you 14 verses. And let's look at this.

Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 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 of 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 had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “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, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.  Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” 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.”

The Lord will provide comes from the Hebrew term, Jehovah Jireh, that we're all very familiar with. And we'll talk about it. We’ll talk about the Jehovah Jireh, how He provides for salvation as well as if He provides for salvation so well, how He will also provide all our other needs even more easily and thoroughly. All right. Remember Abraham's background. He came from Mesopotamia, God called him and brought him from there. When He called him itself, He told him, “I'll make you a great nation.” So, he came and followed God to the new place and lived there in Canaan land till 99 years of age, he never had a child, even though God told him He will make him a great nation. But when he was 99 years old, God comes again and tells Abraham and his wife that He is going to make them a father of many nations and mother of many nations.

And thereafter, within a year, He gives them a child. The ripe old age of 100 and 90. He was 100 and she was 90 and they bear a son. When the whole world says it's impossible, they bear a son. But the thing about this son is, God designates this son as the son of promise. You remember, Abraham kind of went and had another son in the meanwhile, because he couldn't wait so long, through a slave woman, and the son's name was Ishmael. But that son is not a son of promise. That's why this is important. God designates Isaac as the son of promise. What does this mean? It means that he is designated as the person through whom the line of Abraham will go and the blessings of Abraham will go through the line of Isaac. All the promises of God for Abraham and Isaac and the generations to come, will go to Isaac's line, not to Ishmael’s line. So, Isaac is the son of promise. The promises like the Seed, Jesus Christ is going to be born as the son of Abraham; He’s going to come through Isaac only. Jesus must be born in the lineage of Isaac. Not through Ishmael as Abraham’s son, but through Isaac. And so, salvation has to come from Abraham, Isaac, and Jesus who will be born in that family of Abraham.

So, lot of things rest on Isaac. He's the son of promise mean, it has tremendous weight. Everything, all the promises of God, for bringing Jesus into the world, bringing salvation to mankind, and giving eternal life to everybody, all of this rests upon Isaac. That is the meaning of the son of promise. All promises are resting on him. He must live for all these four promises to come to fulfillment. And Abraham was hoping that all these promises will come to pass because a lot rests on Isaac. And so, he was looking forward to all of that coming to pass. He’s had wonderful experiences with God. After all, God had given him Isaac when he was 100 years old. So, anything is possible. God is going to do great things. And Abraham is full of expectations. And all of a sudden God comes to him one day and tells him, “Go offer your son, your only son, your son whom you love as a burnt offering for Me in the mountain that I will show you called Mount Moriah.”

Amazing. The problem here is, it's not that Abraham is going to lose his son Isaac, the problem to Abraham is different. Is this going to mean then God is a liar? Because God says all the promises that He has made - the promise made to Abraham was not a promise just that He will give Isaac. It's also a promise that He will give another Seed called Jesus. And every family in the earth will be blessed through that salvation that comes through Jesus, who will be Abraham’s son. So, a lot rests on it for a long time. The promises to Abraham were not promises for only one generation, that Isaac will be born. It's a promise that will go on for thousands of years. So, if God wants Isaac to be offered as a sacrifice, then is God going to turn out to be a liar? That is the issue there.

God rests all of the promises in Isaac, He’s very clear. He said, “In Isaac, shall your seed be,” He said. And Hebrews, the passage that I read to you, quotes that. That Abraham received such a promise that said, in Isaac shall your seed be. Then if you kill Isaac, what have you left? You have nothing. You have no seed. Jesus will not come, salvation will not come, even Abraham will not go to heaven. Because his salvation also rests on that Jesus was going to be born through him. Salvation of all mankind rests on it. So, the issue and the dilemma is, not that Abraham is going to lose Isaac, his son, but God is going to lose His credibility, that God is going to turn out to be a liar if Isaac is killed.

So, Abraham could think in two ways, only two ways he can think. One, when God told him to offer his son Isaac, he could probably go in this line of thinking that is, “What kind of a God is this? He told me that in Isaac’s shall your seed be, that He will fulfill all the promises through Isaac. Now, He wants me to kill him. This God doesn't seem to know what He wants. He says one thing today and another thing tomorrow, more like a politician. He changes his mind every now and then. You cannot rely on Him. He's not a credible Person. He said one thing yesterday, but today He’s saying something else. He wants me to kill my son? What kind of a God is this?” He could have gone into that line of thinking. But Abraham's experience showed that God is not like that, because he's had so many years of experience with God now.

There are people that say that when Abraham went to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice, that Isaac would have been about 30 years old. Some say, exactly 33 simply to match with Jesus’ age when He died on the cross. So, he was about 30, or a little over 30. He's not a little kid that Abraham just took and wanted to offer as a sacrifice. He's a grown-up man. And so, if he's 30 years old, then by the time Abraham had him he was 100 years old, now another 30 years have passed by. So, he's had a lot of time with God. He's had more than 50 years of experience with God. He’s become a very strong believer in God. He's been a believer for a long time. He's known the truth about God, he’s been a worshipper of God, follower of God. He’s had wonderful experiences with God. God never disappointed him. God fulfilled so far, all His promises given to him and it was all coming to pass one by one.

And he’s had wonderful experience with God. He learned that God is true, He is righteous, He is holy, He is faithful, He never changes His mind. Therefore, he could not go into that line of thinking that God would say one thing today and say another thing tomorrow. He thinks in his mind and says, “Well, that's not possible. It's not the God I know. This God is a good God. This God is a God who makes up His mind and speaks His word and brings to pass what He says. He never changes His mind. So, this God is not playing games with me. This God is not a naive God who doesn't know what He's doing that He's changing His plans every day. He's very sure.”

So, there is only one other line of thinking left. And that is, he could have concluded that although he being finite and sinful and cannot understand everything, with his little brain, was unable to see the resolution of this difficulty, doesn't know how God is going to solve this problem. How can God kill Isaac and yet fulfill His promise? All the promises rest on Isaac. If He killed Isaac, all the promises go to waste, it will not come to pass. So, God says, “Kill Isaac.” And what will happen to His promise? It’s a dilemma. So, he says, “Well, I'm not able to understand it. My little mind is not able to grasp how He’s going to find a solution out of this. He wants me to kill Isaac, but yet in Isaac shall my seed be and all the promises shall come to pass only through him. If he dies, then how will it come to pass? Only God knows what he's going to do. I don't understand. But I can do one thing, I can trust in His power. I can trust in His goodness; I can trust in His faithfulness. I can trust in the fact that He's holy, He never lies. I can trust in the fact that He's righteous, He always does the right thing. I can trust Him that He will do what He says. Even though I don't understand everything, I can trust Him to come up with some solution that is not reaching my mind right now, that I'm not able to imagine right now.”

Don’t you think that's Abraham thought? This is why the author of the book of Hebrews brings it up and says, “By faith Abraham when he was told to offer his son as sacrifice, offered his son, his only son as a sacrifice.” Faith was involved in it. He’s pointing out there is faith in Abraham. What is faith? People always ask, “What is faith, brother? How can I grow in faith? How can I become strong in faith? How can I have more faith?” Some people think faith means that you got to know the whole Bible and know everything. And then if that's the case, then we are hopeless. There's a lot of things in the Bible that we cannot know also. When I go to heaven, I'm going to ask a lot of questions, about a lot of things that I don't know.

What is faith then? Faith is not understanding everything but faith is understanding one thing for sure, faith is knowing that God is good. Faith is knowing that God is true. Faith is knowing that God is holy. Faith is knowing that God is righteous. Faith is not knowing how God is going to solve my difficult problem. I may have a problem, a dilemma just like Abraham faced. You may have a dilemma. You may have a financial dilemma. You may have a dilemma in your life, in your business, in your work and all these things. You may be sitting in the midst of a problem, you don't know how to solve it, how you'll come out of it, what kind of way is there to get out of it. You cannot imagine any way possible to come out of it. And you're thinking, “How? How? How? How is God going to do it? How is God going to bring me out? How is God going to accomplish this?” Faith is not finding out how, faith is finding out who God is. That is why I’ve been saying that after I get through this series, I'm going to do another series.

I’ve already got that going in my mind. I hope I do it next. That series will be called ‘This God is my God’. Taken from the Psalms. This God is my God. Which God? The God who split the sea into two. They stood before the sea, if you go forward you drown in the sea, if you go backward, Pharaoh's army is there. There's no way. But you know God has got 1,000 ways when you say you don't have any ways. God knows 1,000 ways. God split the sea open. This God is our God. They were in the wilderness, no shop to buy anything, no mall, no market, no fish market for fish curry. Nothing. How is God going to feed all the people? Imagine the logistics that you need to deliver food. Swiggy, you will be stunned. Uber Eats will go out of business just trying to imagine a way to reach the people. For 30 lakhs people, how would you supply food? From where will you buy? Where will you bring it? How many trucks? How many trains? How many planes? How would you bring it? And none of those facilities were available. How would you bring it? God says, “You say there's no way. I have 1,000 ways.” Just like that, He did it. Home delivery was invented by God, not the Americans. Home delivery. Right where you want it. Before internet came, before all these things came, home delivery. And that too, one good thing about God is not only home delivery, it's free. That's why I say, “Let Your kingdom come, Lord.” This God is our God. Everybody say this God is our God.

As believers, our meditation should not be on about how God is going to solve my problem, my business problem, my economic problem, my financial problem, my family problem, my problem in this world, political problems and all of these things, problems everywhere, every realm in this world. It's not how He's going to solve the problem, it's about who this God is. What kind of God is He? Does He have the power? Does He have faithfulness? Is He true? Is He righteous? Is He holy? Will He do what He said? Can He do it? Is He able? That's the issue.

That's why you need to meditate upon the attributes of God, the nature of God, who He is. His truthfulness, His faithfulness, His goodness, His love, His Holiness, His righteousness. Faith grows greater when you meditate upon the nature and character of God, so that in the midst of your problem when everything puzzles you, you will lift up your head and say, “I don't know how to solve this problem, I don't know how God is going to do it, but I know He will do it.” How do I know He will do it? Because He is all powerful. There is nothing impossible for Him. How do I know He will do it? Because He's promised He will do it. He'll never fail. He's good. He's holy, He’s righteous. Hello. See, it's a big faith lesson. That's why he puts it there in Hebrews 11. So, Abraham concludes, “God is going to do it.” “I know one thing about God with all these years of experience,” he says, “He'll do it. If He says, ‘Kill Isaac,’ I'm going to kill Isaac because He can take care of this situation. I'm just going to do what He says. I know that He will do what He said He will do.”

So, what does he do in chapter 22? Look at verse 3. 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 had told him. So, he went early in the morning. He left. He meant business. He has concluded something. He said, “I don't know how He's going to do it, but He will do it. If He said, ‘Kill your son,’ I'm going to kill my son. I'm going to burn him as offering. It’s all right. I trust Him. He's a good one. He’s not a bad God. He's a good God. He’s not a cruel God, He’s a God of love. So, I'm going to take him and offer him. So, he leaves early in the morning. He means business. He's ready. He's got the knife, he's got the fire, he's got the wood, and he's got the sacrifice also, Isaac. He doesn't know.

He gets up, gets ready and leaves. What happens? There is a three-day journey. I'll tell you the purpose for the three-day journey; later on it will come. But there's a three-day journey to the place called Mount Moriah because God wants him to go to that particular place. God could have told him, “Do it in your backyard.” It would be over in a few minutes. But God seems to want him to travel three days. So, he travels three days. While three days, he’s traveling, faith is not only being exercised, faith is blooming in him more and more. Because he's got time to think now. Three days looks like eternity for him now. When you got some problems, it seems like it's a long day, right? Have you ever felt that? Three days can be long time. It will be like eternity. So, he’s got a long time to think, long time to ponder about this whole situation.

The whole way that he’s going and I've heard a lot of preaching... I've been in the church from the time I was born, and a lot of things have been said about this three-days travel. How Abraham was weeping, hiding his tears, swallowing his agony and hiding everything from Isaac. And every time he looked at Isaac, he would feel like crying. They'll build up that story like, on the way what was happening? When you fill in the blanks like that, you got to really fill in right. That’s the problem. I don't think any of those things happened. He was not thinking about whether, “I'm going to have the strength to do this when I get there to the mountain. Am I going to cut my son's throat and bleed him to death? Am going to kill him. Am I going to pierce this knife into his chest and kill him and then burn him to ashes? Am I going to get my hands to do it?” He was not thinking about that. If he thought about it, his three-day journey would have become thirty-day journey. He would have slowed down. If he thought about it, maybe he would have turned around and came back. He was not thinking about it. He meant business. He got up early, left. He meant business. He’s going to kill.

So, what was he thinking about? I'll tell you what he was thinking about. I’ll prove it to you. He was thinking about, “How can God be true to His promise if I sacrifice Isaac? What is God going to do to remain a God of honor? How can these two things be reconciled - killing Isaac and fulfillment of the promises? If you kill him, promises cannot be fulfilled? So, how is God going to do it? Oh, how?” He's breaking his head, “How? How?” He knows that God can do it but he's thinking about it, “How is He going to do it?” And during those three days, something happened. Some kind of revelation must have come to him. Because, I'll show it to you. Read verse 4 Chapter 22 of Genesis. Then on the third day. See, he left in the morning, verse 3 says. On the third day, which is the last day of the journey, Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” 

He seems to be completely sure now. His whole language is different. He says to his young men, the servants that he had taken with him, the two men, he says, “You stay here with the donkeys. Myself and my son are going to travel up that mountain. We got business to take care of. We're going to worship God.” Look at the way he puts it. He didn't say, “I'm going to kill my son. Please hug him and take your last look at him.” No, he says, “I'm going to go with my son and worship God.” And then he says something very remarkable. He says, “We will come back to you.” He should have said, “I will come back to you.” But he says, “We will come back to you.”

Three days something has happened to him. He has thought about it. He says, “We will come back to you.” Before he left, he thought, “Well, only God knows the answer. I don't know what He's going to do, but He will do something to solve this dilemma - kill Isaac and save His honor. God can do it. I don't know how He's going to do it.” Now, he's got more revelation. He's got more light into this situation. He's now sure that Isaac will live. That Isaac will in fact come back down the mountain with him. Said, “We will come back to you,” he says. Amazing.

I said to you that something has happened to Abraham. He has found out something. What did he begin to believe here? What kind of revelation he has had? What has he come to believe now? Before, he simply believed God will do something, “I don't know what it is, He will do something.” That's how he left the home. By three days, by the time he reached the mountain, he is now more sure about certain other things. He is more sure about what's going to happen that he’s more sure that Isaac will come back with him. So, what did he believe? I say to you, he believed and expected a resurrection to take place.

Now, there was a man named Donald Grey Barnhouse, I don't know if you heard the name. He was a great preacher in the city of Philadelphia in America, for many years back in the 50s and 60s, very popular. He preached verse by verse on the book of Romans. His radio programs reached to all over America and his preaching is still aired on radio. After he died in the 60s, it’s still aired today, powerful preaching. Great preacher. Donald Grey Barnhouse has this to say about this. And let me read this because I think you can't say it any better so I'm going to just read this. “The fact that we are told that Abraham accounted that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead, is the key to the story.” He’s referring to Hebrews chapter 11 where we read that Abraham believed and concluded, verse 19, concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead. So, he's referring to that and says, “The fact that we're told Abraham accounted that,” the old translation uses the word reckon or account.

So, he says, “The fact that we're told that Abraham accounted that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead is the key to the story. Accounting is a mathematical logical procedure,” he says. “As Abraham and Isaac had walked three days through country, growing more and more desolate and at the slow-measured pace of the burdened mule, his mind went around and around the matter.” Abraham was thinking. Mind is going around and around the matter. “And he ultimately came to the calm conclusion that he was going to see a miracle. The method of his thought was as follows. God is not a liar.” This is Abraham saying to himself, his thoughts. “God is not a liar. He cannot be mistaken. He told me beyond question that I should have a son, and there my son walks before me. God has said that this son would be the one through whom He would fulfill all of His promises. Therefore, the son must live or God would be found false. And yet God commands that this son be put to death. Here humanly speaking, there is contradiction. But there is no contradiction in God.”

Why he says there is contradiction is because He says on the one hand, “Kill the son.” On the other hand, all the promises are going to be fulfilled through him. There is a contradiction. How is he going to fulfill all the promises if he's killed? That's the contradiction, he says. “But there is no contradiction in God. That is the foundation fact. There is power in God,” listen to this, how powerfully he says it. “There is power in God, there is wisdom in God, there is majesty in God and there is glory in God but there is no contradiction in God.” God cannot contradict Himself. God cannot say, ‘Kill this guy,’ and then say, ‘through him only all the promises will be fulfilled.’ There is power, there is wisdom, there is majesty, there is glory in God, but no contradiction in God. ‘But what is to be done with God's command to sacrifice my son? Since there is no contradiction in God, there is only one answer that my mind can fathom. God is going to perform a miracle and raise Isaac from the dead.’”

This is what Abraham is thinking, it seems. “Doubt may say that this is foolish, that there has never been a resurrection in the history of the world but that doesn't make any difference. A resurrection is compatible with the nature of God.” Listen to this. “A resurrection is compatible with the nature of God.” Resurrection suits the nature of God. God is almighty. He can raise a person from the dead, that's what he means. “A resurrection is compatible with the nature of God. But a contradiction is not compatible with the nature of God.” To say that God will raise a man from the dead goes along with the nature of God, it's compatible. But to say that God says one thing today and then changes it and says something else tomorrow is a contradiction. And you will never find that in God. It is not compatible with God. “It doesn't go along with God,” he says.

God is life and the author of life and it would be a small matter for the God who created the universe, including the first man, to bring life back into the dead body. So, the one clear, logical conclusion is that God is going to raise Isaac from the dead. He says, God cannot contradict himself. There's no place for contradiction in the nature and character of God. But there is place for resurrection in the nature and character of God because He's all powerful, He can do anything. So, “Resurrection is going to happen, contradiction is not going to happen,” he says. Did resurrection happen? Hebrews 11 says that Abraham concluded that God was able to raise him up, verse 19, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.

What is a figurative sense? That means symbolically he received Isaac raised from the dead. Why symbolically in a figurative sense? Because death never took place. Therefore, resurrection actually never took place. But what took place was a symbolic death. He almost died. Abraham would have killed him. And he almost was raised from the dead because when Isaac was given back to Abraham, it was almost like a resurrection enacted so that the story of what God will do in Jesus is shown there and revealed there. But 2,000 years later, God took His Son. Upon the cross of Calvary, He put Him there and nailed Him. And when God's hand was lifted up to punish Him with death for the sin of humanity, there was no person to stay God's hand, to stop God from doing it. God’s hand of judgment fell upon Jesus and He died there. Real death happened there. And then on the third day, God raised Jesus from the dead. Real resurrection happened there. But what happened to Abraham was not real death and real resurrection. In a figurative sense, he experienced death and resurrection.

Thereby God teaching him the story of the cross way ahead, back in those days of Abraham so that he can tell his sons, tell his children, grandchildren, and through his generations it will be known. They all knew the story of the cross. Jesus said, “Abraham rejoiced to see My day and saw it and rejoiced in it.” Abraham announced it to everybody, told it to everybody. This revelation became known and publicized through Abraham, to the people of Israel. The people of Israel know, I believe, lot more than what we think they know. They were not blind to these things. They were given a revelation of the cross of Jesus Christ.

After this happened, now Abraham received Isaac back in a figurative sense back from the dead. Then look at verse 13. And Abraham lifted up 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 for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; or Jehovah Jireh, as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” So, now we come to a name of the Lord. He names the place Jehovah Jireh and it is interpreted as The-Lord-Will-Provide. And later on, it became a proverb among the people because this story is a very famous story among the children of Abraham. They talked about it a lot. And then the meaning took on another form. It's not simply The-Lord-Will-Provide, later on people started using it as a proverb, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

As the revelation increased more and more, in the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided. You'll get it when I explain it little more. In other words, in very simple English, if you said, “God will see to it,” the word Jireh in Hebrew means to see, God will see to it. And that is exactly what happened. God saw to it. He went there, God stopped him from killing his son. And Abraham lifts up his eyes and he sees a ram caught the thicket already ready. He didn't have to go to get a lamb. Those days you couldn't call up your servant on a cell phone and say, “Bring me a lamb here to sacrifice.” The guy would have to go down and bring a lamb and all that but God had walked a ram up to that mountain, to the very spot where Abraham was supposed to sacrifice, where He was taking him and parked the ram there ready.

When he came to the mountain, he found the ram there. When God stopped him from killing Isaac, he lifted up his eyes and looked and there was a ram. He didn't have to go looking for a ram, he didn’t have to find a ram, he didn’t have to buy a ram, he didn’t have to do anything. God has provided it. God has made it ready. The news is that before the foundation of the world, God has made ready a Lamb for the world to take away the sin of the world. God is powerfully showing Abraham, “Abraham, I'm God, Almighty God. I have a solution to the problem of mankind. I have prepared My Son, as the Lamb to be slain and offered as a sacrifice for mankind. You don't have to prepare. You don't have to worry about the solution. Solution is not in your hands. Salvation is of the Lord. Wholly and fully of the Lord. I've made ready, prepared.”

I am amazed at this God, Jehovah Jireh. That's why He's called Jehovah Jireh. He's well prepared. Jehovah Jireh simply does not mean He will provide; it means that He gets ready to provide even before the need arises. Before He made man, the Bible says, He made Jesus ready as the Lamb. That is the meaning of the verse in Revelation that Jesus Christ is the Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world. Jesus is called that. In the mind and plan and purpose of God, Jesus Christ is a slain Lamb. God has already seen Him on the cross, decided, He has already played it out in His mind. He’s a Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. What a great God we have.

Salvation is the most difficult thing to provide for. You know that? I told you the dilemma, the jam, the fix. You got to save the man as well as punish the man. How can you kill and punish him and then save him also? That's why He found this way, His Son took human form, came into this world, took our sin, became our substitute, died for us so that we may live and have eternal life. God's solution. Amazing. That's the most difficult thing to provide, God has provided. The news is, if He has provided the most complex thing to be provided, the salvation of human beings, to provide for your day to day needs today is nothing. It’s a very ordinary thing for God.

God can do miracles in your life. God can change your situations. God can turn around your problems. God can bring solution to your problems. When you think there is no solution, God has 1,000 different solutions to your problems and my problems. God can. That is why He says, “Don't worry about how I'm going to do it, just meditate upon the fact that I can do it, that I have the power to do it, the wisdom to do it, the greatness to do it, the love to do it, the ability to do it. Celebrate that.

Now, when God eventually provided Jesus, His son for us as a sacrifice, do you know it was on this very mountain where Isaac was offered as a sacrifice? In this exact same mountain God provided Jesus as sacrifice. The proof of that is in 2nd Chronicles chapter 3 and verse 1.

Now Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah. Let me stop right there. Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah. This verse is saying that Mount Moriah and Jerusalem are and the same. Mount Moriah is the place where Jerusalem is located. In Abraham's day, there was no Jerusalem. And Solomon built the temple there in the in Jerusalem. And there was no temple, there is no Jerusalem City there. And later on, the city of Jerusalem was built on the Mount Moriah and Solomon also built the temple in Mount Moriah.

That is why God didn't tell Abraham to conveniently sacrifice his son in the back of his house. That is why He said, “You got to go three-day’s journey, long way, but sorry, you got to go there. Because I'm trying to convey a message. I'm trying to say that I'm going offer My Son, not at the back of your house, I'm going to offer My Son at a place called Mount Moriah. I got long term plans. I’m going to build a city there. And I'm going to put Him on the cross there in that city. In that Jerusalem, the Lamb of God will enter and be sacrificed there. He'll be taken there to be sacrificed there. What a perfect picture of the cross!

Isaac asked his father, “Where is the lamb for burnt offering?” Everybody that offered sacrifices in the Old Testament times understood, I'm sure they understood, that sacrifices of lambs didn't accomplish anything. It was to teach them about the sacrifice of Jesus that God is going to do. It was only symbolic. Their sins were not forgiven by a sacrifice. “God didn't desire sacrifices,” the Bible says. But it was all lesson about redemption. When they offered a lamb and killed the lamb, shed its blood, the sinner brought the lamb and killed and shed its blood, the Lamb died in his place. He saw that his sin was punished in a substitute. The Lamb died in his place. And then the thing was burned. That is why it's called a burnt offering, burned down to ashes. And as the animal was burned to ashes, he stood there trembling because that is what would happen to him. The fire on that animal that was burning so wildly, symbolized God's wrath upon sin, upon the sinner. God pouring out His wrath. He stood there and saw with satisfaction that his sin has been finished; God has poured His wrath so that God can show His mercy to him because his substitute has taken everything. That's what it meant by burnt offering. Everybody understood that.

All throughout the Old Testament people asked, “Where is the burnt offering like Isaac?” When they sinned, they said, “Where is the burnt offering?” When a man sinned and went to the priest, he said, “Where is the burnt offering? I think in the background of their years they would have heard that it will be found or it will be provided in the Mountain of the Lord. Every time a man sinned, he had to bring a burnt offering. And so, the men would ask, “Where is the burnt offering?” And I'm sure every time they asked, “Where is the burnt offering?” Moses asked, ““Where is the burnt offering?” David, a sinner asked, “Where is the burnt offering? I got to offer. I'm a sinner. I got to offer the burnt offering.” Every time they said, “Where is the burnt offering to take care of your sin?” The answer also must have come to their mind because answer is from Abraham. “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

And it literally meant, in that mountain it will be provided. In Jerusalem, when Jesus dies on the cross it will be provided. And the Christian gospel, the good news is this, that when Jesus died on the cross of Calvary, in that mountain was provided, in Mount Moriah, in the exact place where Abraham offered his son as a sacrifice, was provided the answer for all of human problems. It’s a place of our provision. They looked forward to that mountain, not realizing what that mountain is all about. In the Mountain of the Lord it will be provided. God has designated a mountain, designated a place where this will happen. There it will be provided. And I'll tell you, there it has been provided and everywhere we've announced it today, the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ. So, throughout the Old Testament history, they said, “Where is the mountain? Where is that burnt offering?” Every time the answer of Abraham would sound in their ears, “In the Mount of the Lord it will be seen, not just these offerings, there's a real offering coming. In the Mount of the Lord it will be offered.”

And one day Jesus, the man, walked in Jordan, John the Baptist was baptizing people and asked for baptism. John gave Him baptism. And when He came out, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him like a dove and a voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son in whom I'm well pleased.” Later on, John standing there, he saw Jesus go by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” At another time he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” They asked him, “How do you know that this is the Lamb of God, this is the burnt offering? How do you know that burnt offering that we've been asking about, this is the one? Are you sure this is the one?” You know what John said? You read it in John's Gospel chapter 1. He says, “God showed me that the one upon whom the Holy Spirit descends,  the one upon whom you see the Holy Spirit descend, that man, that is the Lamb of God. That is the one to come. That is the one to take everybody’ sin.”

So, when John heard the sound from heaven, “This is My beloved Son in whom I'm well pleased,” he was sure that, “We’ve been asking for a burnt offering for our sins, we were waiting for a burnt offering to be offered to remove our sins permanently. Everything that has happened so far is only symbolic, figurative sense. Something real is supposed to happen and the real is very near now. He has come. Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” Then that Lamb of God went around doing miracles, teaching, preaching, delivering people. And then three and a half years later, He comes into the city of Jerusalem, where He was going to die. The Lamb entering into the city, that is also a remarkable thing.

In the Book of Exodus in chapter 12 and verse 3 and 6, it is said, talking about how to celebrate the Passover. For the first time God is teaching them how to observe the Passover. He says, “On the 10th day of the month of Nisan, go and pick up a lamb for every house. One lamb for every house. Every house must have a lamb. And bring it and keep it in your house for three days.” Nobody knew for what. “For three days. And then on the fourth day, you kill that lamb. That will be the Passover lamb.” So, every time they celebrated Passover, they all went and got a lamb, one for every house. When they celebrated Passover in Jerusalem, it was a big thing it seems.

William Barclay says blood ran like river in the city of Jerusalem because hundreds of thousands of lambs were killed. Because every house had to have a lamb. People made very advanced preparations to bring the lamb and to keep it and to sacrifice it. Josephus, the historian, says that one year they actually took a census of how many lambs were killed for a Passover, they counted and found 256,500 lambs were killed. That is the average number of lambs that were killed on a Passover day. So, that is four days before the death of Jesus. So, when Jesus was entering there, on that Palm Sunday, it was just the day before and the lambs have started arriving in Jerusalem from all kinds of places. It was crowded with lambs. People are bringing in lambs from everywhere, 256,000 lambs. If it was anywhere near that number, you can imagine the whole city was filled with lambs everywhere. And in the midst of all those lambs, the Lamb of God, real Lamb arrives in Jerusalem to die on the cross of Calvary. Amazing.

And as people take these lambs and put them in their houses for the next three days, and wait for the fourth day to arrive, Jesus is also spending that week around there in the city of Jerusalem and finally arrested. And, “Our Passover,” Paul says, “Christ was killed on the cross of Calvary.” The real thing happened. And Abraham's story was about that. It’s amazing that God showed Abraham long 2,000 years before it happened. What is exactly going to happen, where it's going to happen. That is the wonder of the Bible. Christianity is not something that is put together in a hurry so that you can just bow before somebody and believe something. This is our God.

This is our God. A well-planned redemption, well-purposed redemption, well laid out plan, well-revealed plan of redemption. And if you're going to believe that Jehovah Jireh provided for your salvation, are you going to also believe that Jehovah Jireh will meet your needs? That Jehovah Jireh will see to your problems, your difficulties, your problems, your difficulties, your situations where you think there is no other way? I tell you; the good news is, this God is our God. He’s got a 1,000 different ways. He can plan well. He will bring the answer right in time. He will set you free. He will heal. He will deliver. He will provide. He will be everything to you. That is the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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