Genesis 22:8 (ESV) … “Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.”
Abraham, amazingly, obeyed God. But the question is, “Why?” Was he just morally good-natured? No. We’ve already seen what kind of a sinner he was. So how does a sinner like Abraham come to a place where he is able to obey God so steadfastly in such a difficult situation? By faith! By believing that God, not Abraham, knows best! And in this case, by believing that God would do what he said he would do. God had promised to make Abraham, through Isaac, a great nation. Abraham believed that. Thus, Abraham believed that somehow, in some way, God would spare Isaac’s life through this ordeal. That is why, in 22:5, he told his servants to “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.”
Abraham was not sugarcoating the situation. He was not lying. He really believed that he and the lad would both be back. He really believed that, because of God’s promise concerning Isaac, God would somehow, in some way, preserve the boy’s life. And in the book of Hebrews we are told us just what was going through Abraham's mind.
By faith, Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; it was he to whom it was said, “In Isaac your descendants shall be called.” He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type. Hebrews 11:17-19
Isn’t that astounding? God’s instructions seemed to contradict God’s character and God’s promises. But, instead of disobeying God’s instructions and doubting God’s promises, Abraham was busy brainstorming how God might make it all work together for his good! And he came up with a possible solution—resurrection! “Perhaps that is what God is going to do,” he thought. “After the sacrifice, God is going to raise Isaac from the dead—because God will not fail to keep his promise! Isaac will live!”
That is faith! Believing that God will work this seemingly impossible situation for my good so that I am able, in spite of my questions, to obey! And though God worked the situation out another way, as we will see, the lesson is still the same. Abraham believed God would do what he said he would do. And when hope seemed lost, Abraham thought deeper and deeper about the God he served until his hope was restored.
Do you have that kind of faith in God? When the going gets tough, do you have a mind that defaults, not to brainstorming your own solutions, but to brainstorming the miraculous ways God might work the situation out for your good and his glory? If you do, then you will have enough light at the end of the tunnel to keep going—and to do what God says!