God made a promise to Abraham – a covenant. That is why his descendants, the Israelites, are blessed. Despite many attempts over nearly 3,000 years to exterminate the Jews, a remnant has always survived. Today, Israel has been restored as a nation and is blessed with progress, protection, resources, intelligence and a homeland. The number of Jews in Israel has increased by over 7,000 percent in just 100 years!
Testing Abraham’s Faith
In Genesis 22:1-18 we read how God tested Abraham. Let’s read the incredible test that earned Abraham an incredible reward for his descendants. God said to him:
“Here I am,” he replied.
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place ‘The Lord Will Provide’. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
As the scriptures say, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith”. So God could use Abraham for the future and He rewarded him through several unconditional promises.
First, through Abraham’s descendants (specifically through the tribe of Judah) came the offer to all men of reconciliation to God through Jesus Christ. That stands today.
Secondly, God said that He would make the descendants of Abraham into a great nation which would be God’s servant and witness in the world. Today we see God fulfilling this promise as God’s people return to their promised land. The people of Israel are once more becoming God’s witness to the nations.