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#352 SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON #15 GEN 16:1-6
FAITH OR HUMAN REASONING
The lesson learned from Abraham, the father of the faithful, is parallel to that which we learn from the apostle Peter in MAT 16:17-19, "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
We have been studying Abram in the previous chapter, and in GEN 5:1 we read, "After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." Then in verse 6 we see, "And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness."
Their faith was so bright, and this faith was founded upon the Rock. It was a solid, unmoveable faith, but human reasoning enters into the picture. Notice the distinction between this God given faith and Peter's human reasoning in the very verses that immediately follow! MAT 16:20-23 says, "Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ. From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." The Lord Jesus reproved Peter's human reasoning because that is not faith. Look at how quickly Peter fell after Jesus, just moments earlier, had said, "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."
Right there in the following verses, Jesus says to Peter, "Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me." This is the same Peter to whom Jesus gave the keys to heaven; it is the same Peter who quickly succumbed to human reasoning. That human reasoning was not born of faith. Therefore, Jesus sharply rebuked Peter. It is an offense unto the Lord when our faith gets caught in human reasoning. It causes us to walk by sight rather than by faith. It is a paradox that does not work. When we exercise such strong faith that we begin using human reasoning to exercise that faith, the Lord says, "Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me."
We must learn to distinguish between faith and human reasoning. Abraham was the father of the faithful; he was a monument of faith, but in his human reasoning, he acted foolishly at times. The same thing happened to Peter. A man with such a strong faith resorts to human reasoning after receiving a tremendous blessing. It is a grievous error. It is an offense unto the Lord. We need to learn this lesson, also.
The Lord told Abram, "...tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be." Then we read in verse 6, "And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness." Yet in the very next breath, we see the distinction between such God-given faith and human reasoning. GEN 15:7-8 says, "And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?"
We know from these verses that both Abram and Peter had great faith. Now we need to understand the great difference between unbelief and human reasoning. Neither Abram nor Peter acted in unbelief. When Abram hearkened unto Sarai, his wife, he took Hagar. That was not unbelief, it was human reasoning. It is important to understand the difference between falling into human reasoning and turning from the Lord in disbelief. Unbelief is departing from the Lord. Human reasoning is trying to serve the Lord with a deduction based on logic and emotions. Peter thought he was serving the Lord. Understanding the great difference between unbelief and human reasoning enables us to reconcile the history of Abram and his taking of Hagar.
Turn with me to ROM 4:17-22 where we are talking about the same, identical situation. "(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God." If we were to call the verses from Genesis 16 in which Abram takes Hagar an example of unbelief, we would contradict the words of the apostle Paul in these verses. Paul says Abraham was strong in faith. "And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness."
Abram believed God was able to perform; God had told Abram in GEN 15:4, "And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir [Eliezer of Damascus]; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir." Abram did not doubt or question that God would keep this promise, but with human reasoning, he decided to help the Lord. Time was running out, but if he took Hagar, the child would still be one from his own bowels. Sarai told him in GEN 16:2, "And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai." In her human reasoning, Sarai would obtain a child through Hagar. Abram did not doubt that the Lord would give him a seed from his own bowels, but he is going to help the Lord along a little.
I saw an example of this in a missionary who was promised a helicopter by the Lord. People went against scriptural principles to help the Lord because they thought it would take human resources to bail out the Lord and fulfill the promise. The whole thing fell on its face just like this did. It was an act of faith mixed with human reasoning. They acted because they did believe in the Lord, thinking they were helping or serving the Lord.
Abram believed that God would give him a son of his own bowels, and he figured out a way to make it happen. It was not the Lord's time. "He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief..." It is important that we understand the meaning of these words.
This same Greek word "unbelief" comes from the Greek word "apistia" which means "unfaithfulness, disobedient." Abram was not unfaithful to the Lord; he loved the Lord and had no desire to come against the Lord. It was not rebellion against the will of God. He fell into human reasoning.
This same Greek word is used to denote a heart problem in departure from God in HEB 3:12, "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God." Abram did not do that. He did not have an evil heart of unbelief. His heart was set solely on the will of God, but he mixed in human reasoning out of ignorance. He did not understand what he was doing. It was not rebellion.
Again, this same Greek word is used to denote rebellion against God in HEB 3:17-19, "But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?" So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. This unbelief speaks of open, out-right rebellion against the will of God with knowledge. Knowingly and willfully departing from the will of God was not a sin of Abram's. He mixed faith and human reasoning as Peter did.
The same root word in the Greek is used to denote the heart of an infidel in 1TI 5:8, "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." The word "infidel" comes from the same Greek word as "unbelief." We see how this Greek word has been used in different areas of Scripture and start to understand what the apostle Paul was saying in ROM 4:20, "He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief." It was not an act of departing from the Lord.
That which we read of Abraham in ROM 4:20, "He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God," is parallel with what we read of David in 1KI 11:4. "For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father." The Lord looks at the heart condition, i.e., the attitude or motive of the heart. We know that David sinned in the matter of Uriah, the Hittite. David had sinned, but his heart had not departed from the Lord. His heart had not gone out to serve idols. Neither did Abram's heart depart from the Lord, even though, in his foolishness, we see many slips and falls.
We need to examine our own hearts. As we go through life, and our faith is being tried, how often do we desire to do the Lord's will but mix in some human reasoning? Then we find ourselves doing that which human reasoning prompts instead of the Lord's will. It happened to Abram; it happened to Peter. It is one of Satan's tricks to pull on God's people. We must beware of this tactic. That is why it is important to understand the difference between unbelief (rebellion and departing from God) and acting out of human reasoning.
We saw how Peter was an example of acting out of human reasoning in "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." The same Jesus Christ tells Peter, "Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." This is teaching us to be on guard, especially at a time when we have just had a blessed revelation of God's love and are most vulnerable to Satan's tricks. We saw it with Abram and Peter. The lesson we see here is that if we think we stand, take heed lest we fall. As soon as we proclaim something like Peter did, "Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee," then we are standing a little stronger than the Lord had planned. All of a sudden He kicks the bricks from under us. Now we are in the same place Peter was. That is what happened to Abram. That is the lesson we are learning from them.
We see it was the exercise of the obedience of faith which was meant by this perfection of David in "...and his heart [Solomons] was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father." In other words, the heart of David was perfect with the Lord. It is speaking of his obedience of faith, not his slips and falls into sin. The desire of the heart is the subject.
It reads in 1KI 14:8, "And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee [the man who became king in the place of Solomon's son]: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes." When it says he kept the Lord's commandments, it was speaking of David's heart's desire to keep those commandments. We know that in his flesh he fell. He committed murder and took another man's wife. He was weak, and he stumbled and fell. That is not what we are talking about here; we are speaking of the heart condition of "... my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes."
This is also what we find recorded of Abram who kept the commandments of God from his heart, but in his foolishness and weakness, mixed human reasoning with his faith. It is recorded in Scripture about Abraham in confirming the blessings of Abraham unto Isaac in GEN 26:5, "Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." Abram was not accused of departing from the living God through unbelief.
Abram's taking of Hagar was not "...an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God," HEB 3:12, but an awful case of human reasoning. Abram did suffer, as David did, grievously. Remember David's slip with Uriah, the Hittite, his sin with Bathsheba. The sword entered his house and stayed the rest of his life. So Abram had much grief as the result of his human reasoning.
Let's go back to what God told Abram in GEN 15:4, "And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir." Abram acted with the intent of complying with the will of God. He did not act out of disobedience. In his human reasoning, he was not doing this against the will of God. He had not sought the Lord about the matter, but in his human reasoning, he calculated that it was what he needed to do. He saw it; his wife said it. He had it all figured out how perfectly this would fulfill the will of God. The Messiah could come from this son of Hagar. Let's see this in Scripture.
Ten years had passed, and Abram and Sarai had reasoned with human reasoning that she had passed the time of life and was no longer able to bear children. Therefore, Abram should take Hagar to help God perform His promise. GEN 16:1-3 says, "Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now [Take notice; they were reasoning this situation out.], the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai." Remember when Jacob had a wife who was restrained from bearing children, she gave Jacob her handmaid. She considered those children as her own. The reasoning behind this behavior at that time was that if a woman gave her handmaid to her husband, the handmaid was bearing the children for her. Therefore, any child would be considered Sarai's child. They had that all figured out.
Where was Abram weak? He hearkened to the voice of Sarai. Verse 3 continues, "And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife." Sarai gave Hagar to Abram.
The Scriptures are clear that this was their reasoning from what we read in GEN 17:15-18. Now Sarai would obtain children through Hagar. There was the promised seed that came out of the loins of Abram; he would be the heir and the father of the Messiah. "And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be." In GEN 17:5, we find Abram's name changed, also: "Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee."
Verse 16 continues, "And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. [What did Abraham do? He placed all his human reasoning recklessly before the Lord.] Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed [at the God of heaven, the God in whom Abraham had placed all his faith], and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!" He wanted Ishmael, Hagar's son, to be that promised seed. Again he is reasoning, this time with God, that he is a hundred years old and Sarah is ninety. He laughed in his heart to think that she could have a child. This was their human reasoning. They had already accomplished the promise. All they needed was the Lord's acceptance.
This does not mean that Abraham had "...an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God," HEB 3:12, but he was wholly sold on his human reasoning. He had it all figured out; it worked. He thought he had taken care of all of it. However, the Lord undid all that human reasoning. Sarah would have a son.
This is how the apostle Paul could say in ROM 4:20-22, "He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. [Abraham had it all figured out and had already performed it.] And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness." The apostle Paul is referring to GEN 15:6 which says, "And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness."
In GEN 16:2 we read, "And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai." Remember that was also the way we saw the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.
Abraham had hearkened unto the voice of Sarah, and had the Lord not intervened, Isaac would not have been born. The Lord performed a wonder; He gave him the fulfillment of the promise in spite of his human reasoning. It was in spite of Sarah's persuasion of Abraham to take Hagar.
Now we see Abram's faith being tested. The Lord leads His people from strength to strength. See how faith is made perfect by trial through fire. Abraham's faith was tried in the fire. Just as at the first, it was mingled with human reasoning when he had to overcome the ties of nature. Go back to GEN 12:1. "Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee." What did Abram do? He took his father along; he also took Lot. He took the whole band with him. He came out, but with his human reasoning he took along those the Lord did not want him to have with him. His father died at the border of Canaan. Lot was still a source of strife to Abram long after this time. Abram did not fully obey because his human reasoning interfered.
Faith begins in its infancy and must grow through exercise. It was through the exercise of faith that the Lord purified Abram's faith. The Lord allowed Abram to use his human reasoning to fall into these snares so he would be wounded. Those wounds would teach Abram how foolish he had been. Then he would understand the necessity of obedience without reservation or human reasoning.
We can see how faith grows through exercise in EPH 4:13-14: "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive." The apostle is teaching us that an infant faith must mature. Then we will no longer be tossed around; that means we have been tossed around. As little children in faith, we have been driven by the winds of doctrine and the skillful tricks of men. As we mature, we find ourselves becoming fathers in grace. It is happening to Abram in these verses. Through his slips and falls, Abram became established as the father of the faithful. It was through the exercise of the obedience of faith, including the stumbles, that Abraham's faith was made perfect.
In JAM 2:21-23 we read, "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?" Notice that taking Hagar is not the example used. By the time he put Isaac on the altar, he had become a father in grace. He had suffered the stumbles and had been tricked by Satan a few times into using his human reasoning. The Lord brought him to the point where he was willing to obey at all costs, without reservation. Abraham traveled three days with Isaac before he put him on the altar. Can you imagine how old Satan spent those three days tormenting Abraham? He knew the Messiah would come from Isaac; his salvation was on the line. How could he obey?
Look at the human reasoning which must have gone on in his mind. What did he do? He was justified by works. HEB 11:17-18 says, "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises [of the Messiah] offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called." No human reasoning intervened for verse 19 says, "Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure." The figure refers to the aged condition of Abraham and Sarah before Isaac's birth. He counted God faithful, and he obeyed when it was contrary to all human reasoning. This is a mature faith.
Read again JAM 2:21-23, "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?" This is the result of a mature faith.
Verse 23 concludes, "And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God." Why? All human reasoning was put away. We must understand that faith must not be mixed with human reasoning. We cannot substitute our efforts for God's will being done in His time and in His way.
I have been through a twenty-year trial of faith. I felt the Lord laid a Scripture on my heart, and immediately I began to think of all the things which would happen. The Lord wasn't wrong; my human reasoning added to the Lord's Word. If I told someone about this, all sorts of ideas sprang forth as to what would happen. The Lord didn't say any of those things. However, what the Lord did say is now happening, to the letter.
As we mature in faith, the Lord weans us from human reasoning. As in the case of Abraham, he and Sarah had it all figured out that the Messiah would come through the son borne by Hagar. By the time Abraham put Isaac on the altar, human reasoning was ruled out.
Let's see how Abram's faith was tested. First, Abram was to leave his kindred. Secondly, he was tested through famine after leaving the place of worship where he had built an altar unto his God. Thirdly, Abrams faith was tested by the strife between himself and a spiritual brother before the Canaanite and the Perizzite.
Fourth, Abram was tested by Satan's cunning craft to get Abram to accept the gifts of the king of Sodom immediately after the time of refreshing with the King of Peace. Fifth, Satan again used cunning craft to get Abram to question God's Word after receiving such a blessed vision from God "...saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward," GEN 15:1. Sixth, Satan's cunning craft revealed itself once more after the Lord caused all His goodness to pass before Abram, "And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it," GEN 15:7. Being caught off guard, Abram said in GEN 15:8, "Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?"
This has been a school on faith. Abraham learned to trust God. Now we see how Abram's faith is being tried through a lack of patience. Patience must have its perfect work. That perfect work is to eliminate all human reasoning. It is to come to the maturity of faith where all human reasoning is ruled out. Abram is going through this trial. He lacked the patience to continue waiting; he had waited ten years in the land, and the promise had not been fulfilled. They are past the age of bearing children. Would Abram wait upon the Lord or try to take the matter into his own hands based on his own human reasoning to obtain a son to be the heir of the promise. Would Abram act upon his human reasoning? That was his trial, and he fell.
Our Saviour is a blessed example to establish how God's usual way is to first richly bless, and then test the recipient's faith. Jesus had received the richest blessing; then He received the sorest trial. See this in MAR 1:10-12 where Jesus has just been baptized. "And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him [He received the Spirit without measure, totally.]: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And immediately the spirit driveth him into the wilderness." The sorest temptations came immediately.
We must learn to understand the trials of faith and the tricks of Satan. Our faith is made perfect because we no longer fall as often into some of the pitfalls. As I've previously stated, immediately following a special blessing from our God is when we must be most on guard.
God had said to Abram in GEN 12:2, "And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing." He was past the time of life, and the Lord had not yet fulfilled the promise. Satan caught Abram and Sarai as they began to reason with human reasoning, resulting in their taking it upon themselves to help God fulfill His promises. Much later God had told Abram, "Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be," GEN 15:5. At this point, we read in GEN l5:6, "And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness." Now the trials are seasoned; there is hope against hope.
I have found in my own life that when the situation seemed absolutely impossible, the Lord gave me a little encouragement that it would still happen. I also learned to see that it isn't until it is impossible, by all human reasoning, that the promise is fulfilled and the Lord gets the glory. When it is humanly impossible, the world knows only the Lord could accomplish it.
We are not discussing a situation that is unique to only Abram or David. It can happen in your life and mine. This is growing in grace and faith. This same weakness revealed itself in Moses who believed the Lord would use him to deliver Israel out of Egypt. They believed in the promise given to Abram by the Lord that in the fourth generation, they would be delivered. Moses saw that his coming into the throne would contribute. However, Moses also tried to help the Lord accomplish His will.
ACT 7:23-25 says, "And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not." In Moses' human reasoning, he supposed he would commence the action. He was running ahead of the Lord.
When it was the Lord's time, Moses, who was 80 years old by that time, wasn't ready to go anymore. In his human reasoning, he thought he was no longer capable; his life was nearly spent, and he was no longer able to do such things. Moses came up with many excuses why he could not go. After the Lord had removed every excuse Moses could think of, he still said in EXO 4:13, "And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send." He no longer wanted to go; his ambition was gone. Now he could not go in his own strength, and the Lord could use him. It became the Lord's time.
In effect, this is what we see with Abram after he had become 100 years old. He had become content in his human reasoning and no longer had any further desire for the fulfillment of God's promise. Abram had become weary of waiting; his desire was gone.
GEN 17:15-18 says, "And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!" Do you see Abram's lack of desire? He laughed at the thought of such old people having a son. Let Ishmael be the one. From all human reasoning, it was impossible to fulfill the promise, and his desire was gone.
We can wait until we become so weary that our human reasoning gives way, and desire leaves. In its place, we can actually come to the point where we wonder what we would do with the promise if it were fulfilled. That is where Moses was when the Lord could use him. He was eighty years old and saw the task was more difficult than he could bear. He argued and argued with the Lord. He had all sorts of excuses. He was not good in speech, etc. He asked the Lord to send whomever He wanted. However, now the Lord had Moses prepared; he was not able in his own strength to perform any part of the duties. He did it according to the will of God.
The Lord will empty us also. He empties us first from vessel into vessel, and vessel into vessel. Do you know how empty, empty is? If you do, you will understand what Abram had to go through. When we have nothing left to offer, the Lord will use us.
The apostle Peter spoke of these trials of faith in 1PE 1:6-8: "Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory."
How will we ever come to that point? It is only through the exercise of the trials. These trials of our faith are trials of obedience. Will we obey even when our circumstances are beyond all human reasoning? Will we yet believe and trust and obey under those circumstances. Abraham was brought to that point. He had to put his Isaac on the altar after he had been through all of this. He received the promise; it was fulfilled, and he had received his son. Now he had to put even that son on the altar.
Is your all on the altar? If it is not, your trials are not over. If your all is not on the altar, if you are not able to unconditionally surrender everything to the will of God without any human reasoning, your trials are not over. The Lord will empty us until we don't know what empty is anymore. We will come to the point where nothing is left, like Moses, that we "...might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." Amen.
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