We gather to eat, drink, enjoy God’s words,
and we receive the Holy Spirit’s work.
Enlightenment Gained From the Story of Abraham
There is a story in the Bible: God promised to give Abraham a son when he was one hundred years old. Although Abraham thought it was impossible, God fulfilled His promise and really did give him a son. However, when his son grew up, God asked Abraham to offer him up. Abraham obeyed God and unconditionally put his only son Isaac on a sacrificial altar. However, in the end, not only did God not let him offer his son, but God provided him with greater blessings, allowing his descendants to become great nations. I think brothers and sisters in the Lord have all read this story. Then what knowledge do we learn from what God has achieved in Abraham? Today, I want to fellowship with everyone about what I have gained from reading this story.
1. God’s words contain authority and power and will surely be fulfilled.
It is recorded in the Bible: “And God said to Abraham, As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give you a son also of her: yes, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell on his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born to him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?” (Genesis 17:15-17).
God said, “But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear to you at this set time in the next year” (Genesis 17:21).
“For Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac” (Genesis 21:2-3).
From these verses we can see that when God said He would bestow upon Abraham a son, Abraham thought it was impossible because his wife Sarah and he were both over childbearing age. But God said, “But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear to you at this set time in the next year” (Genesis 17:21). And the fact came to be according to God’s words that Sarah really gave birth to a son. From this I have seen God is faithful, and that we humans cannot fathom the power and authority of His words. Just as when God created the world, He used the word to create the heavens and the earth and all therein, and every word He spoke came true immediately. No one can change or destroy God’s creation. But because we humans lack experience and have very little, we often form notions about God’s words. However, everything that God wants done will not be affected by our conceptions. Just as God’s words say, “What man does or thinks, what man understands, the plans of man—none of this bears any relation to God. Everything proceeds according to God’s plan, in keeping with the times and stages set by God. Such is the principle of God’s work. God does not interfere in whatever man thinks or knows, yet neither does He forgo His plan, or abandon His work, because man does not believe or understand. The facts are thus accomplished according to the plan and thoughts of God. This is precisely what we see in the Bible: God caused Isaac to be born at the time He had set. Do the facts prove that the behavior and conduct of man hindered the work of God? They did not hinder the work of God! Did man’s little faith in God, and his conceptions and imagination about God affect God’s work? No, they did not! Not in the least! God’s management plan is unaffected by any man, matter, or environment. All that He resolves to do will be completed and accomplished on time and according to His plan, and His work cannot be interfered with by any man. God ignores certain aspects of man’s foolishness and ignorance, and even certain aspects of man’s resistance and conceptions toward Him, doing the work that He must do regardless. This is God’s disposition, and is a reflection of His omnipotence.” From this passage we can see that God can see deep into the heart of man. He knows we corrupted human beings like to treat the words from His mouth with the so-called natural law and our notions and imagination. But His power will never change because of our imaginations and ideas, and the things He has destined to accomplish will not be changed by anyone or anything. This is God’s righteous disposition, and even more a reflection of the Creator’s authority.
2. God treasures man’s sincerity and bestows His blessings upon those who obey and listen to His words.
As the Bible records, “And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar on the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son” (Genesis 22:9-10).
“By myself have I sworn, said Jehovah, for because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son: That in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is on the sea shore; and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed my voice” (Genesis 22:16-18).
We can see from the scriptures that Abraham obeyed Jehovah God and offered up his son for sacrifice. However, God did not really let him kill his son, but instead promised him that his descendants would become great nations. Moreover, God treasured Abraham’s obedience very much. God said, “When Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son, were his actions seen by God? They were. The entire process—from the start, when God asked that Abraham sacrifice Isaac, to when Abraham actually raised his knife to slay his son—showed God the heart of Abraham, and regardless of his former foolishness, ignorance, and misunderstanding of God, at that time Abraham’s heart for God was true, and honest, and he truly was going to return Isaac, the son given to him by God, back to God. In him, God saw obedience—the very obedience that He desired.”
“Only then, when Abraham was able to obey God’s requirement, when he offered Isaac, did God truly feel reassurance and approval toward mankind—toward Abraham, whom He had chosen. Only then was God sure that this person whom He had chosen was an indispensable leader who could undertake His promise and His subsequent management plan. Though it was but a trial and a test, God felt gratified, He felt man’s love for Him, and He felt comforted by man as never before.”
From these verses and God’s words above, we can see that Abraham obeyed God’s words completely. In regard to God’s instructions, he did not have any complaints nor gave any excuses. Rather, he completely obeyed and unconditionally returned his beloved Isaac to God. Although in the beginning Abraham had little faith and harbored doubts about the words that God would give him a son, God did not nitpick with him. Later, when Isaac grew up, God’s trial came upon Abraham. God’s intention was to examine his faith in Him and to confirm whether he was qualified to be the leader who could undertake His management plan. But Abraham did not know the things God wanted to accomplish. He simply kept an attitude of obedience; he bound Isaac, offered him as a sacrifice to meet God’s requirements. If God tests us in this way, each of us may blame and even reason with Him. But at that time Abraham did not complain about or reason with God, saying “When I did not expect that I would have a son late in life, God bestowed upon me Isaac, but a dozen or so years later, God asks me to offer up Isaac. Since God asks me to do so now, why did He give me Isaac in the first place?” God saw his sincerity when he offered up Isaac. In that era when no one listened to God’s words nor knew God, Abraham’s sincerity was impressive. For this reason, God felt comforted and so gave him greater blessings, allowing his descendants to become great nations.
3. The deeds of Abraham bring us inspiration.
Through thinking about what God has achieved in Abraham, we can see God’s great power and know what kind of people God blesses. So, if we want to gain God’s blessings today, we should truly obey all of God’s arrangements and should not make any requests but satisfy God wholeheartedly.
However, many of us are incapable of achieving this. For example, we’ll tell others God’s grace, often sing songs of praise to God,, and thank God when our homes are totally peaceful and our jobs go smoothly. But when our situation is the opposite, we’ll misunderstand the Lord and feel resentment in our hearts, “Why did the Lord not care for me and not keep my family safe? Why did such misfortunes befall me?” When some of us suffer the tortures of illness and even though we pray to God our illnesses do not get better, we’ll lose faith in God, become unwilling to sing hymns or attend gatherings, and be in no mood to read the Bible. Sometimes when God calls on us and requires us to devote ourselves to spending for Him, which means we will spend more time for the church and less time for our flesh and families, we need to truly submit, dedicate ourselves to Him, and not talk about conditions with Him. However, often times we are not willing to dedicate ourselves to God but consider our own interests first, and even lay down terms to God, saying that the Lord should compensate us for spending for Him…. If we take this attitude, how can we be qualified to gain God’s blessing? At that time Abraham did not obey God’s arrangements in order to receive His blessing. He did not make demands of God but simply wanted to satisfy Him. So, we should emulate Abraham. Only by gradually practicing this way, giving our true hearts to God, and standing on His side and pursuing to satisfy Him in everything even when He tries us, will we be qualified to inherit His blessings. Just as God’s words say, “To those who sincerely expend for Me, I shall surely bless you greatly.”
This is all I have gained from reading Abraham’s story. I hope it can bring some help to brothers and sisters in the Lord in knowing God’s authority, the principles of His blessing of man, and how we should act to earn the Lord’s praise.
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