In this episode, the guys discuss the father of God’s chosen people, Abraham, and his faith in God. He fathered Isaac, who fathered Jacob, which led to Jesus and the disciples. We cannot understand the New Testament without understanding Abraham. Jesus offered freedom to the Jewish people, but they claimed they were already free because they were the sons and daughters of Abraham. What they did not realize is that Jesus was there to fulfill not the covenant of Abraham, but God’s covenant with his people through Jesus’ sacrifice.
First, the guys discuss Abraham’s story. He came from a pagan background and had no idea where he was going when God told him to leave his father’s house, but he answered the call of God. Abraham was 75 years old when God called him to leave his home, 86 when he fathered Ishmael, 99 when he was circumcised, and then 100 when Isaac was born. His life shows us that God’s timetable is not our timetable. It is so easy for us to get worked up and to not understand why God didn’t answer our prayer. Ecclesiastes 3:11 states, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” God will bring about His promises, but it may not be in our timing.
Abraham’s name was first “Abram” meaning “high father,” then he went to “Abraham” meaning “father of a multitude.” After years of waiting and then finally receiving the promised son Isaac, God asks Abraham to offer Isaac up as a sacrifice. As heir, the first-born son was very important in the family. They were usually viewed as a prized possession and would carry on the legacy and provide for the family. God calls him to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice to challenge the potential idolatry in his heart. Abraham goes up the mountain with no other sacrifice except his son, and then God stops Abraham from killing Isaac. Abraham was strong in his faith and his faith brought glory to God. The guys use the metaphor of marriage to explain this. When Ray talks about his wife and how he completely believes in her faithfulness, others know of her integrity. If he proclaimed the opposite of her, it would be an immediate insult to her integrity if he didn’t trust her. The same is true with God. When we have faith in God and talk about his faithfulness, it proclaims His goodness and character to others. It’s also important to note that Abraham did not have blind faith, but his faith was built on substance. In those days, as part of forming a covenant with someone, animal carcasses would be cut and lined up. Then, you would walk between the lines of carcasses, which would represent what would happen to you if you broke the covenant. The servant passes through the carcasses by themselves, or the servant and master walk through together–the master never goes through by themselves but that’s exactly what we see God do here. We’ve only seen a man go into a “deep sleep” twice in the Bible. Once when Adam sleeps and wakes into the covenant of marriage, and then the second time when Abraham falls into a deep sleep and enters into a marriage-like covenant with God. God is saying through this that He will take on the consequences of the broken covenant, and we see this later when Jesus becomes the carcass broken in two and is sacrificed on the cross.
Even when he was told to kill his son, Abraham remained faithful to the Lord. This shows that anyone can exercise faith in God. You don’t need to know everything that someone is doing to have faith in them. There is a relational element of faith in believing God is who He says He is, as well as what you have seen yourself. This act of sacrifice with Isaac shows us that there’s nothing we should hold onto above God. We need to place our idolization on the giver, not on the gift. However, Abraham still made some mistakes. Abraham was promised by God that he would have a multitude of descendants, but his wife, Sarah, was barren. He tried to fulfill the promise himself by having a baby with Hagar, which gave him his son Ishmael, who caused a lot of problems. There are repercussions to the decisions we make, no matter how good our intentions are. Don’t try to finagle things to fulfill what God has promised– He will fulfill them in His time. Faith is believing that God is telling the truth, but we need to allow God to be God and ourselves to be the clay.