Manuscript Releases, vol. 10 [Nos. 771-850]


Abraham's Great Test

When God bade Abraham to leave his country and friends, he might have reasoned and questioned the purposes of God in this. But he showed that he had perfect confidence that God was leading him; he did not question whether it was a fertile, pleasant country, or whether or not he should have ease. He went at God's bidding. This is a lesson to every one of us. When duty seems to lead us contrary to our inclinations, we are to have faith in God.... 10MR 118.1

But there was still another test that Abraham was to bear. The message came from God in the night season: “Take now thy son, thine only son, Isaac, whom thou lovest, ... and offer him ... for a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:2). We can have some little idea of this test required of God. As Abraham walked with Isaac to Mount Moriah, he had at every step to look away from things that are seen to things that are unseen. As Isaac walked by his side—and he had three whole days with him by his side—the temptations of the enemy poured in upon him in regard to this test. We can imagine the feelings of that father when Isaac said, “My father, ... Behold the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (verse 7). 10MR 118.2

Up to that time Isaac did not know that he was to be offered. Every day the eyes of Abraham had been directed toward heaven, hoping that some command would come countermanding that order. But he comes to the very place of which God has said, “I will show thee” and there he sees the very place where he is to offer up his darling son. He had answered the question of Isaac, “God will provide the offering,” but now the father sees that he has come to the last point, and he opens the whole matter to Isaac, and Isaac consents to the sacrifice. It was God who had required it, and he would even offer up himself as a sacrifice to God. And Isaac is bound and placed upon the wood and there as Abraham draws the sword to slay his son, there comes a voice from heaven to say it is enough. He is commanded to stay his hand and do no harm to his son. (See Genesis 22:10, 11.) 10MR 119.1

There are sermons preached in order to excuse God and make it all right on his side that He should require this offering of Abraham. Now all these discourses imply a question whether God should require this of Abraham. God has a right to every one of us, and it is not for anyone to question whether it is right, whether God should take this course or that course with us. Those who have perfect confidence in the Lord God of heaven will never question any of His dealings with His children. He has important experiences to give His children and He gives them this experience in His own way. Now Abraham verily believed and made the sacrifice to all intents and purposes in his heart. And that very faith was counted to him for righteousness. He thought and taught Isaac that God was able to raise him up from the dead and could see the end from the beginning. This is the very faith that we should have, every one of us, in the Lord God of heaven. We have the history of Abraham, and the ground the Lord brought him over, in order to give us strength and courage and faith. The Lord wants every one of us to believe that He is the very best friend we have. Abraham trusted God at every step and his faith was perfect.... 10MR 119.2

What should we do if it were not for these representative men that are presented before us, and the dealing of God with them? Our lines are not to be always cast in pleasant places. We shall be brought where we shall feel the test and proof of God. If we could know the history of everyone that is here in this house today, there would be some valuable experiences brought out, where they followed the leadings of God irrespective of inclination. The God of heaven will test us to see if we appreciate His favor and believe His promises and [whether we] will rely upon them irrespective of consequences. Here is where the trial will come with many who accept the unpopular truth for this time. 10MR 120.1

If God were to call any of us to leave positions where it is for our interest to retain them and we go according to the light God gives us, why, the Lord knows all about that. Although Abraham was promised that he should have the whole of Canaan, God said, “Walk through the land in the length of it and the breadth of it,” yet he had not a foot of it in his possession. If we do not realize any very wonderful prosperity in this life, yet we have the claim of the future, immortal life. It is stated of Abraham that he looked for a city whose builder and maker was God. When he buried Sarah, he did not have so much as a piece of land in which to put his dead. He had to buy it. But when the Lord opened before him the view of immortal life, of this earth purified, which was to be his home, he was satisfied. So with every one of us. We are only pilgrims and strangers in this world. We are seeking the city which Abraham looked for, whose builder and maker is God. We do not expect all the reward here in possessions, in land, in gold, or in silver, but we expect an eternal weight of glory.—Manuscript 19, 1886, pp. 1, 5-7. (“Lessons From the Life of Abraham,” a sermon preached on March 13, 1886.) 10MR 120.2