The Trust of a Man
“Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me” (v. 12).- Genesis 22:1-9
Leviticus is a book most of us probably spend little time in because the regulations therein often seem foreign to our new covenant setting. This is unfortunate, since Leviticus contains some of the most comforting words in the whole Bible. Chapter 26 of this third book of Moses attaches conditions to God’s covenant with Israel — blessings for obedience and curses for flagrant disobedience of His law. The curses get progressively more intense to the point where the Lord pledges to drive His people out of the Promised Land should they perpetually refuse to repent. But even in the horror of exile God says, “Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not spurn them, neither will I abhor them so as to destroy them utterly and break my covenant with them, for I am the Lord” (v. 44). Having sworn on His own life (Heb. 6:13–18; see Gen. 15) that a righteous seed of Abraham would bless the world, God had to come through. He would preserve Israel so that He could keep His promise, for even though people break their word, the Lord always keeps His.
Ultimately, the whole of the Christian life is based upon our confidence in this truth. The question is not really whether we will believe in God but whether we will believe God and what He has promised. All Christians must be people who trust the Lord and stake all that they have on His word. Despite all our troubles, our trust must always be in God alone (Job 13:15).
Few people have had to wrestle with this reality as personally as Abraham when he was commanded to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering unto the Lord. Dr. R.C. Sproul has often said that we cannot read the account of this event in Genesis 22 as if Abraham did not struggle to follow God’s command. Imagine the agony he must have experienced as he thought of giving up the promised heir.
But Abraham trusted the Lord Almighty even in the pain he must have felt en route to Mount Moriah, knowing that God would keep His promise through Isaac, even if Isaac would have to be resurrected (Heb. 11:17–19). May we trust the Lord even when it seems that what He is asking is impossible, even when we question whether or not He will be true to His pledge.
Good times make it simple to trust God, but do we believe in His goodness even when things are rough? In the midst of a severe economic crisis, do we grow anxious or do we trust the Lord to supply our needs? Does the secularization of the culture bring us much anxiety, or do we trust that God will continue to preserve His faithful remnant even in a society increasingly hostile to the gospel?
Passages for Further Study