“By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death” ( Hebrews 11:17-19 )
Abraham is called the father of faith for a reason. He acted in faith when the circumstances seemed to contradict the promise. He reasoned that God would remain faithful to His promises so he made up his mind to follow God’s instructions no matter the cost.
Abraham had been promised these things by God, first, God promised him that He would make him into a great nation. Secondly, God was going to bless Abraham. Next, He was going to make his name great. Lastly, all nations and future generations on earth would be blessed through him ( Genesis 12:2-3 ). God confirmed and reiterated this promise many times to Abraham. The only thing required on his part was to believe what God had told him. Abraham did, this is why righteousness was credited to him ( Genesis 15:6 ).
Then when Abraham was ninety-nine years old the Lord once again appeared to him to confirm what was originally promised saying, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God” ( Genesis 17:1-8 ). That day God changed the names of both Abram and Sarai giving them new meaning to confirm that He considered this fulfilled. Then He gave Abraham the token of circumcision as an outward showing of the faith Abraham inwardly had.
Everything happened just as the Lord said it would, Sarah became pregnant and gave birth to Isaac, the long awaited promised son.
Because of this long history of believing God and seeing these promises fulfilled just as God said they would be, Abraham followed God’s instruction to sacrifice his one and only son of promise. He reasoned that God was able to raise him up from death because the covenant still had things waiting to be fulfilled. It stated that the entire world would be blessed through Abraham and his Seed, meaning the Christ ( Galatians 3:16 ). God made it very clear that this would come through Isaac not Ishmael ( Genesis 17:21, 21:12 ).
This act of faith is a type and shadow of Christ. Abraham took his one and only son and willingly set out to sacrifice him. When God saw he was intent on obeying His instructions no matter the cost, He stopped Abraham saying, “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son” ( Genesis 22:12 ). Abraham reasoned that God would raise Isaac from the dead and figuratively speaking Abraham did receive him back from the dead.
God tested Abraham and while this testing of faith was still in progress the Lord saw the extent he was willing to go. Because of this, God spared Isaac but in his place willingly gave His one and only Son. Abraham truly blessed the entire world because he didn’t withhold his son, so God didn’t withhold His. Abraham’s act of faith ensured the world of its blessing. That blessing was in the person of Jesus Christ who died to set us free. God showed the gospel beforehand to Abraham so he could see how his faith would bless the world ( Galatians 3:8 ). This is why we celebrate the faith that Abraham had, because we too are included in these wonderful promises that were obtained by Abraham believing God and acting on faith!