The first commandment sets the stage for understanding Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac. God wanted to know: Would Abraham put Him first and have no other god?
Abraham is the only biblical character singled out as a type of God the Father. He is also the only one to be called 'friend of God,' and is a good model.
Abraham's resolute intent to sacrifice Isaac displayed his unreserved devotion to God's purpose for him. We must display the same kind of tenacity.
The Scriptures place a paramount importance on sacrifice. Abraham's 'sacrifice' of Isaac confirmed him to the position of father of the faithful.
Based on his long friendship with God, Abraham could systematically calculate the reliability of God's promises even in the lack of visual evidence.
We learn from Abraham's experience to trust God even when we have incomplete information. When we attempt to take the expedient way out, we will run into trouble.
The love of Abraham for Isaac serves as an emblem for the love of the Father for His Son and for all the children of Adam and Eve.
If we surrender to God, allowing Him to shape character in us, He will enable us to live in hope, giving us direct access to Him, giving us a more abundant life.
God helps us to overcome our problems in an unraveling process, sometimes taking us back through the consequences of the bad habits we have accumulated.
If we hold fast to principles, though it may seem initially uncomfortable and fearful, we will eventually receive respect and even admiration.
Abraham was a wealthy and influential man who instructed the Chaldean priesthood on the reality of God, showing the foolishness of worshipping the creation.
Abraham came from a civilization in Mesopotamia that was highly advanced in science, including calculus and chemistry, and having indoor running water.
Abraham was willing to lay down his life to rescue his nephew Lot. His sacrifice shows us what kind of effort and sacrifice is needed to wage spiritual war.
Abraham did not come from a primitive, but a highly advanced civilization, having huge multi-storied dwellings with running water and indoor bathrooms.
Abraham's experiences teach us not to try to force God's will. When any sin or self-will is involved, the fruits of such an endeavor will be bitter.
Lot equivocated with God's instructions, looking for escape clauses, showing him to be self-centered and worldly wise, compromised by the values of the world.
Christianity is not for the faint of heart. Jesus urges us to count the cost of discipleship. Many of the patriarchs had to make hard choices, as do we.
Because the world is under the sway of the wicked one, if mankind were left to its own choices, the world would revert to the condition before the Flood.
In this keynote address of the 2007 Feast of Tabernacles, John Ritenbaugh, focusing on Abraham's pattern of life, answers the question, 'Why is the Church of the Great God doing what it is doing at this time?' Abraham and Sarah's life of faith is the pattern that God's called-out ones are obligated to follow. Interestingly, …
Far more than on any other hero of faith, Hebrews concentrates on Abraham as the father of the faithful, the Bible's premier example of walking with God.
Martha used her gifts, but to an excessive extreme. Jesus had to reel her in, setting her on a more productive course. We must use our gifts responsibly.
God based the promises He gave to His friend Abraham on the patriarch's proclivity to believe Him even when he had only partial (and disturbing) information.
Many churches understand tithing but do not believe that God commands them for today. However, tithing has always been God's way of financing His work on earth.
Abraham, the father of the faithful, did not have a blind faith; it was based upon observation of God's proven track record of faithfulness.
A spiritual Israelite undergoes a metamorphosis in which his own self-centered will is broken so that God's creative work can be completed within him.
The virtue of love gets the most attention, yet the life of Abraham illustrates how foundational faith—belief and trust in God—is to love and salvation.
Where is Israel today? God's ironclad promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob give ample clues for identifying Israel—and the answer is surprising.
The name Isaac—'laughter'—suggests his optimistic disposition, someone not afflicted by fear and doubt. Isaac serves as a type of Christ, honoring his father.
Not all waiting is actually waiting on God. We might convince ourselves that we are waiting on God, when He is really waiting for us to move forward.
Far from being blind, faith is based on analyzing, comparing, adding up from evidence in God's Word, our own experience, and our calling by God's Holy Spirit.
The seven 'I will' promises Got made to Abraham were truly foundational promises, impacting the lives of multiple billions of people up to the present day.
The Hebrew word used to mark appointed times connotes a pilgrimage. The Hebrew year contained five steps or seasons, corresponding to God's holy times.
we must soberly count the cost before we embark on our spiritual trek. Are we willing to give up our job, our family, or even our life to follow God's plan?
The Scriptures provide many examples of how difficult relationships were dealt with by humility, deference, longsuffering, and prayer.
Americans (like most of the Western world) tend to be skeptical, cynical, and jaded, demanding mountains of evidence before becoming convinced of anything.
Jesus and Abraham rose above their emotional pulls by exercising living faith—a faith built on acts of obedience. Faith can never be separated from works.
Isaac did not play what historians might judge to be a significant role on the world's stage, yet kept the faith, never despising the day of small things.
John Ritenbaugh, observing that we make choices every day of our lives, cautions that though a choice be large or small, everything matters. Sadly, we make most choices with very little thought The miscalculation based on the fear of famine prompted Abraham to go to Egypt, though God did not intend for him to take that course. …
From the beginning, God has set apart certain individuals, putting them through a sanctifying process, perfecting their character until they reflect His image.
Richard Ritenbaugh, suggesting that many people go to their graves with their spiritual problems unresolved, suggests that they carelessly follow the dictates of their own hearts. Even just men fall into sin. Many people have lived their whole lives not aware of their sin, unaware of the law that defines sin. The Great White …
Israel plays a prominent part in Scripture. Here is God's stated purposes for choosing and using the children of Israel throughout His Word—and beyond.
Faith permitted Enoch, Noah, and Abraham to receive God's personal calling. Like our patriarchs, we were called while we lived in the wicked world.
God's calling is personal and individual rather than general, opening otherwise closed minds, replacing spiritual blindness with spiritual understanding.
It can be encouraging to us that our patriarchs and the prophets had serious doubts, but God overrode all their fears in accomplishing His purpose.
God designed the sermon of Hebrews to motivate God's people, who are going through the same turmoil as those living in 65 AD, facing persecution from society.
God frequently bypasses the firstborn, selecting for His purposes another sibling. Jacob selected Joseph's second son, Ephraim, to receive the blessing.
Richard Ritenbaugh, continuing on the topic of the creative imagination, reminds us that this capacity begins at age two, and allows children (of all ages) to transcend their current surroundings, enabling them to put themselves into other situations beyond normal reality. Dr. Jerome Singer suggests that children who use their …
Among God's many titles is one that proclaims His supremacy over all others: 'Most High God' or 'God Most High.' It provides confidence in God's governance.
With godly hope, we need to envision the successful accomplishment of God's purpose for us, realizing that God has bound that promise with an oath.
The Abrahamic Covenant was made with one man, but it impacts all of mankind to the New Heaven and New Earth and beyond, involving billions of people.
God coordinates events to place one of His servants in a position of high visibility and sometimes great power at the center of world events to sound a warning.
The Passover is a beacon of hope in an otherwise hopeless milieu. Jesus provided hope at His last Passover, exuding confidence despite what lay ahead.
Masculine leadership is demonstrated by men who embrace God's commandments, love and protect their wives, and instill a love of God's truth in their children.
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that we are to follow Abraham and Sarah's example of relying on God's guidance, learning to trust in the wisdom of Almighty God rather than the world. In order to avoid strife, Abraham allowed his forward nephew Lot first choice. Likewise, the apostle Paul admonished the New Testament church to refrain …