Resting means we’re not worrying but trusting. If our way is not committed 100% to the Lord, we won’t be at rest.
Psalm 37:7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
If we have faith that God’s presence is with us, we don’t have to be troubled. We rest in his protection and his word. Abraham was 75 years old when God spoke to him and was human like the rest of us, so he had to learn just like we do.
Romans 4:18-22 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 Sara’s womb: 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. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
Abraham grew strong in faith the more he depended on God.
Romans 4:20 (Amplified version) But he did not doubt or waver in unbelief concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and empowered by faith, giving glory to God,
Abraham didn’t ask God if he should go to Egypt. His wife Sarai was very beautiful and he was afraid the Egyptians would kill him to have her. He told her to tell people that she was his sister. That was a half truth because they had the same father but it left out the fact that he was her husband. Abraham shows he didn’t have all faith by his fear.
Genesis 12:10 And there was a famine…Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous…
Pharaoh did try to take Sarai but God plagued Pharaoh and his house. Pharaoh sent them away when he found out that Sarai was Abraham’s wife (Genesis 12:14-20). Abraham grew in faith because of what he experienced. He didn’t have a Bible or scriptures but was doing all he knew to do. We grow as God talks to us. God wants to have fellowship with us and talk to us when we have devotions. If we aren’t having devotions, we don’t give God time to talk to us.
Abraham started doubting after waiting 8 years for God’s promise of having a son. He started trying to figure out how to have an heir by his own thinking. He thought his servant’s child could serve as the heir, but God said the child would come from his own bowels. Abraham asked how he would know he would have a child because he was still childless.
Genesis 15:1-11 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. And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless…Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir…the word of the Lord came…This shall not be thine heir; but…that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir…Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them…So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness …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? And he said…Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these…
Abraham gave an offering as God said and God gave him a covenant to give Canaan to his seed.
Genesis 15:18 In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:
When 10 years had passed since God promised a son, Abraham thought the heir would be of his body with Hagar.
Genesis 16:1-6 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, 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…Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar…after Abram had dwelt ten years in…Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar…and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised…And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid…when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised…the Lord judge between me and thee. But Abram said…thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.
After 13 years of a promised a son, God said he was giving a second covenant and changed Abram’s name to Abraham.
Genesis 17:1-8 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord…said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying…my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham…I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed…And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed…all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession…
The second covenant was the circumcision. Abraham was 99 years old and Ishmael was 13. They had to give themselves and someone else circumcised them. It wasn’t optional so every male had to be circumcised or they’d be cut off. It wasn’t optional when Jesus told the disciples to wait for the Holy Ghost. God leads the saved to be sanctified. It isn’t optional.
Genesis 17:9-14 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations…Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised…every man child…born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed…must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
Spiritual circumcision cuts away the carnal (fleshly or selfish) nature from the flesh of our heart through the Holy Ghost.
Romans 2:28-29 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter…
Colossians 2:10-11 And ye are complete in him…In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
The Jews were cut off it they weren’t circumcised. God will cut us off we don’t obey by giving ourselves to be sanctified.
Colossians 2:11 (Amplified version) In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, but by the [spiritual] circumcision of Christ in the stripping off of the body of the flesh [the sinful carnal nature],
Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 when they had Isaac. The name of Isaac means laughed. Sarah had laughed in excitement and amazement when she heard she would have a son.
Genesis 21:1-5 And the Lord visited Sarah as he had said…Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son…at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son…whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded…Abraham was an hundred years old…
Historical record says babies were nursed until 3 or 4 years old. That means Ishmael was at least 17 years old when Sarah told Abraham to cast him out because he mocked Isaac. God said do it. It was the first child Abraham had to give up.
Genesis 21:6-11 And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh…Who would have said…Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age. And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day…Sarah saw the son of Hagar…mocking. Wherefore she said…Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir…with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight…
It was a grief to Abraham to give up Ishmael his son, but he did what God said the next morning.
Genesis 21:12-14 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad…all that Sarah hath said…hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar…and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.
Abraham didn’t hesitate to take Isaac to sacrifice. Abraham had to put his family on the altar after the second covenant. He couldn’t do it 20 years before but had to grow in faith. Putting our children on the altar is the hardest thing parents do.
Genesis 22:1-3 And it came to pass…God did tempt Abraham…he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning…and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
Abraham believed God could raise Isaac from the dead and told his servants that they would return.
Genesis 22:4-8 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake…My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb…
God wanted to prove Abraham loved him more than anything else. We have to love God 100%, more than anything.
Genesis 22:9-13 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar…and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the Lord…said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
If Abraham hadn’t obeyed, God would say he had dead works. Our works show if we really believe God more than anything.
James 2:17-24 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead…Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 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?…Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
God want us to act Christ-like, not like the world. It’s vitally important that people see our works are faithful.
Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son…
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)