“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.’” HEBREWS 11:17-18 (ESV)
Life can feel overwhelming. Every day brings new challenges even as old ones continue without resolution. It’s easy to allow our faith to trip on the stumbling block of our own lack of understanding of our circumstances—to take the baton of faith, as it were, and toss it to the ground, saying, “I’m finished. I can’t run any further.” In those moments, God’s word encourages us to remember that the Christian faith is an enduring faith that remains resolute. It is possible to remain obedient to God’s commands even when everything around us seems to contradict what He has promised.
Until the cross, perhaps nowhere in Scripture do we find a more overwhelming moment than in the life of Abraham. It was a moment that occurred entirely at the instigation of God: “[God] said, ‘Take 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’ … When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son” (Genesis 22:2, 9-10). God’s command to Abraham was clear—and yet it seemed to contradict God’s promise that through Abraham’s offspring “all the nations of the earth” would “be blessed” and that “through Isaac shall your offspring be named” (Genesis 22:18; 21:12). The fulfillment of God’s promises depended upon Isaac’s survival. If Isaac was to die, how could the promise be fulfilled?
Yet, Abraham still obeyed. Even though his circumstances could have led him to doubt and question God’s word, by faith, Abraham said God has a plan in this. His promise is that through Isaac all the nations of the earth will be blessed. Therefore, He must be going to resurrect him—to raise him up from the dead (Hebrews 11:19). This is why earlier, as Abraham left to perform the commanded sacrifice, he said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you” (Genesis 22:5, emphasis added). What an expression of faith! Do not miss this: when the command was given to Abraham, he obeyed it. Although it seemed to directly contradict the promises God had made, Abraham did his business, and he determined to let God do His.
We can do so too. Do not allow your circumstances, however daunting they may be, to lessen your obedience or cause you to call God’s promises into question. Centuries after Abraham and Isaac climbed up and down this mountain, God’s own Son rose from the grave on the side of that same mountain as the ultimate testimony to the truth that God keeps His promises. So you can face whatever today brings confidently, hopefully, and prayerfully, saying, “I can keep going. I’m not finished. God will do His part, and so I can do mine.”