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Bright and shining lights

Bright and shining lights in the Bible #21

Scripture: “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure,” Hebrews 11:17-19.

Stream or download Bright and shining lights in the Bible #21


We come to one of the most wonderful examples of FAITH in the Bible – that of Abraham’s readiness to offer up Isaac his only begotten son. It is the crowning moment of his life.

1. THE LORD WAS TESTING ABRAHAM
The word ‘tried’ means ‘to put to the test’. It is often translated ‘tempt’. Just remember: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man,” James 1:13. The Lord never tempts us to sin but He does often try us to see what our reaction will be. He may subject our faith to a trial in order to test its genuineness and strength. See John 6:5-6 for an example.

2. ABRAHAM PASSED THE TEST MOST WONDERFULLY
We are given the thoughts of Abraham in the face of this test.
1. He thought of God’s promises. That is where we must turn when tested or tried.
2. He believed that Isaac was central to God’s great future purpose. What God had said He would do. He would not turn away from making Isaac the fountainhead of a race of believers.
3. He believed that the Lord could raise Isaac up from the dead in order to keep His promise. “Accounting that God was able to raise him up,” verse 19. Nothing is impossible with God!

3. NOTE ABRAHAM’S ABSOLUTE SURRENDER TO GOD’S WILL
He ‘offered up Isaac’! In his heart he had come to a decision and had surrendered his son to die. “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 upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son,” Genesis 22:9-10.

The whole incident illustrates God’s wonderful salvation.
A. We are all condemned to die for our sins.
B. But God provided a Lamb to take our place.
C. Note how it was caught by its head in thorns, Gen 22:13.
D. It is believed that Mt Moriah (Gen 22:2) was the Temple Mount.

Bright and Shining lights in the Bible #20

Scripture: For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city,” Hebrews 11:14-16.

Stream or download Bright and shining lights in the Bible #20


Last week we considered why Abraham and his early descendants forsook the land Babylon and came, at God’s bidding, to the ‘Promised Land’. Today, as we look at these three verses, I want you to notice first of all:

I. THE SIMPLE TESTIMONY THEY BORE
The previous verse says: “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” This then was their testimony.
1. They made no secret of their hopes. They declared ‘plainly’.  The word means that they ‘made an exhibition of’ their hopes.
2. They were not ashamed to speak of their hopes. Paul was of the same spirit, Rom 1:16.
3. We are appointed as witnesses. Luke 24:48, Acts 1:8.

II. THE STEADFASTNESS OF THEIR PILGRIMAGE
1. The proof of the Christian is that they do not turn back. Hebs 10:38-39.
2. The reason for such steadfastness is that they were not ‘mindful’ of that which they had left. ‘Remember’ means  ‘make mention’. The old ways do not ‘fill our minds’! Same word in verse 22. Notice Joseph is thinking of the future and not the past!
3. Keeping our hearts and minds on Christ delivers us from temptation. Col 3:1-2. The old world should be a ‘dead’ thing to us, verse 3.

III. THE SUPERIORITY OF THEIR HEAVEN
1. They believed that heaven was better than all the world offered. Ashamed of what we were, Rom 6:20-21.
2. Such a view of heaven pleased God. He saw they were not ashamed of Him.
3. God is not ashamed of such but has a great reward for them. Verse 16. Remember Christ’s words, Luke 9:26.