Askew Road Church
By Revd. Justice Elizabeth Osinuga
“On the third day Abraham saw the place in the distance.”Then he said to the servants, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there and worship, and then we will come back to you” – Gen 22:4-5
People travel by different means, i.e. by Air, Rail, Road or Sea. The basic fact about the travellers especially on public Vessels is that hardly do the travellers know the pilot or driver, or captain of the vessel. And, it never comes to the mind of any traveller to say I need to find out the details of the professional experience or know how of either the pilot or driver or captain. But they buy their tickets, pack their baggage and hop on the Vessel. Why is that so? The answer is that there’s the faith that the traveller has in the mode of transport. This faith is the in built faith that God puts in every man. It is this faith that you exercise and go on your journey not thinking about the vessel or the person in charge; and so there is no iota of doubt to choke the faith.
In the text of my sermon, Abraham said to his servants “Stay here with the donkey,. The boy and I will go over there and worship and then we will come back to you” This is a mind blowing statement. This is a man whom God had instructed to take his son “his only son”; “whom he loves” “go to the land of Moriah and offer him as sacrifice to me”.
Abraham has moved with God for so long, he had waited for so long for this child so he knew that God was not joking. Abraham did not call a committee of himself his wife and Isaac to deliberate on the instruction. Just as the traveller whose mind is made up to travel does not go about asking who would be the driver of the vehicle or if the vehicle is safe to travel in; because there is a measure of faith.
Abraham went on his way with his mind made up in faith to obey God. His statement after seeing the place Moriah from a distance was the firm confirmation of Abraham’s assurance of his faith in God that he is going to do the sacrifice and would still come back with the child.
Abraham trusted the Character of God and God’s goodness and so he did not waver; but rather trusting that even if he slaughtered Isaac, God was able to bring him back to life and so he believed he would come back with the child. This was the proof of his faith in God. This is borne from what Abraham knows as the character of God –
(1) That there is no evil with God and
(2) That when God gives He does not take it back; and
(3) That when God instructs a man to give, God actually intends to give to that person. An example is the widow of Zarephath (1kings 17:8-16) – The prophet said first of all go and do mine; and the story concluded in verse 16 with this: “As the Lord has promised through Elijah, the bowl did not run out of flour nor did the jar run out of oil.”
In the New Testament Reading, in Matthew 10:42, Jesus says:
“You can be sure that whoever gives even a drink of cold water to one of the least of these my followers because he is my follower, will certainly receive a reward.”” (Matthew 10:42 GNB).
Also in the encounter of Peter with Jesus, Jesus practically showed that when God asks you to give, He desires to give you and enlarge you as recorded in Matthew 4:18-22. There we see that Peter released his boat to Jesus to use as a kind of pulpit to teach the crowd. At the end of using the boat, Peter who had toiled all day catching no fish, launched his net in obedience to Jesus; and the Bible says that Peter caught such a large number of fish that his net was almost breaking (Matthew 5:7).
God takes nothing from man without giving back to him in multiple folds. But if you have doubts in the ability of God to keep His Word, then you would have choked your faith and you will not be able to give for the work of God. Abraham’s faith was to the extent that “If God asks for Isaac, I will give Issac, because God can give me back Isaac. This can only be by faith.
Faith is therefore a very important life style for the believer to totally destabilise the enemy. Your faith is the evidence of your trust in God
As important as faith is for the life of the Christian, there are things that can choke life out of your faith. These are things like lacking in the knowledge of the Word of God, Doubt and unbelief, listening to evil report, looking for instant physical manifestation; failure to walk in love; unforgiveness; not having the Holy Spirit; sin of disobedience etc. All all these can choke your faith.
Brethren, Sin and Disobedience are very powerful twin that can instantly choke your faith. When a believer continues to wallow in sin he/she put themselves at a serious disadvantage. That means the measure of faith in them will be choked up by sin and doubt will take over thereby quoting scriptures with no results. Exodus 15:26 says: “…If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.” The key words here is doing what is right in God’s eyes. In the letter of Paul to the Romans; he says: “What then, shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. (Romans 6:15)
Sin is a dangerous recipe to choke the faith of any believer because, even though Christ already died for your sins, and God no longer inputs your sin to you; but the accuser who accuses the brethren day and night will prevent God’s move in your favour because God cannot behold sin. Thereby your faith is choked and cannot produce result. May that not be our portion in Jesus name. The Bible reveals that this happened to some believers in Corinth. They fell sick and some died because they indulged in works of the flesh (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)
Coming back to the main text of the sermon, the story of Abraham and his wife’s barrenness is what we are all familiar with. The Bible says that: “…Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women”.(Genesis 18:11). But God kept His Word and Sarah declared that “…God has made me to laugh, and everyone who hears will laugh with me” (Genesis 21:1 & 6)
It is the same child of old age that Abraham is to sacrifice to God. But Abraham knowing his God so well was convinced and said to his son that “…God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering…” (Genesis 22:8).
This is why Abraham could tell his servants in verse 5 that he and his son “…will worship, and come again…” to them. Abraham did not make a negative confession that can choke his faith. Brethren, when you face challenges that test your faith, are your confessions choking your faith and empowering your doubts.
Coming back to the traveller; no matter the best pilot at the cockpit; if the traveller gets to the airport and the only thing he/she is saying is that he is afraid that the aircraft may not get to its destination; I can assure you that he won’t be allowed to fly.
Are you believing God for healing? What is your confession? Do you keep saying things like “this sickness won’t go” or “this sickness will kill me?” Are you believing God for a new job?
What is your confession? Do you keep saying that they won’t consider you
because of your circumstances even though you are qualified? Are you
believing God for your child or children to know Christ and have a genuine
relationship with God? What is your confession? Do you keep saying things like
this child will kill himself with sin? Are you trusting God for the gift
of children? Check your confessions. Your faith can be choked by your
confession, leaving you with no result. May we all have the grace to confess
the positive. God says: “I will do to you the very thing I heard you say”
Abraham did not only confess the positive, he also did not wallow in the sin of disobedience.
What has God instructed you to do for a fellow Christian or even an unbeliever? Are you in obedience or disobedience? Despite the fact that Abraham was now over a hundred years old, and had waited a very long time for the promise child; he refused to focus on his circumstance which would have choked his faith. What are the circumstances that you are focusing on that is choking your faith in God, rather than trusting God and trusting in His love for you, are you allowing your doubt to fester? Despite all our inadequacies and unfaithfulness God’s love remains unchanged; but your actions will determine your faith if your actions show more of doubt, your faith will be choked
Abraham trusted God and was ready to give up the only child of promise because nothing must come before God; and so he was ready to obey God not minding his circumstance. Also, Faith does not work in unrighteousness, therefore when there is no obedience, there will be no faith result. Apostle Paul says in Romans 12:3b that: everyone has been given a measure of faith. But just as the man whose son was afflicted with mute spirit asked Jesus to help his unbelief in Mark 9:24; for your faith in God to yield result, you must deal with unbelief which can choke your faith; because unbelief or doubt is sin.
In conclusion, I refer to the Psalmist dirge in
Psalm 13; from vs 1-4 of which was nothing but complaints which led to more
frustration. But when the Psalmist decided to trust in God; His confession
change in verses 5- 6; he was able to say: “I rely on Your constant love, I
will be glad because You rescue me. I will sing to you, O LORD, because you
have been good to me.” (Psalms 13:6 GNB)
Brethren, if we must sing like David, we need to identify the things in our lives that is or are choking our faith. Are you convinced of the love of God for you and are you also walking in love? is unforgiveness part of your life? Are you disobedient? All these are the sins that can choke your faith and empower your doubt living you with no result. This will not be your portion or mine. May God’s mercy prevail for us and remove doubts that choke faith from our lives in Jesus name.
Abraham and other patriarchal fathers and mother of faith became the father of faith because they did not allow sin and unbelief to choke their faith in God. Is there something that you have been waiting on God for, don’t allow sin or unbelief to choke your faith. Your desired answers will come as the Holy Spirit empowers you to get rid of everything that can choke our faith In Jesus name.