The Sacrifice of Faith: The Classic Collection with R.C. Sproul

When I was a student, I think the thing I
hated more than anything else was taking tests. In fact, I remember when I had to do some
tests in graduate school, I was studying in Europe and the system over there is different
from how we do it in this country. You just take a course of study and you concentrate
simply on one area at a time, and after six months or 12 months if you’re prepared to,
have finished the assignments in that particular aspect of your studies, then you meet with
your professor for an oral examination and then prepare for the next one. So there’s always a minimum of six months
in between these crisis examinations in the doctoral program of the school where I attended. But after my first year, there was an emergency
situation back here in the United States and I had to return to America, and to make a
long story short, I had to prepare for my other examinations in absentia and then wrote
back to my professor, and he set it up for me to take six of these oral exams in the
space of five days. I mean, exams that normally would be spaced
six months apart, I had to take all at the same time in a battery of exams. And my whole career was going to stand or
fall upon the success or lack of it in these examinations. And I don’t ever remember any more terror
in preparing for examinations that I endured on that occasion. Finally, the time came for me to go by myself
to Amsterdam and I flew over back in the days when I was still foolish enough to fly in
airplanes. And I went and arrived in Amsterdam, checked
into this tiny little room in downtown Amsterdam and had my schedule in front of me. Each afternoon, I had to go through one of
these lengthy oral examinations. So that was my first real experience of the
calamity of jet lag, because the time difference was such that the first day that I got there
was really nighttime in the United States, it was daytime in Amsterdam, and I was walking
around with my eyes at half-mast, and I just couldn’t wait to get to bed. And so when I got to bed the night before
my first examination, I wanted to be well rested and prepared, and of course, as I would
listen to the chimes in the center of the town ringing at night, I heard them ring 12
o’clock, I heard them ring 1 o’clock, I heard them ring 2 o’clock, I heard them ring, I
was wide awake. And for the whole time I was there, I had
my days and my nights mixed up, and I was like a zombie. Don’t ask me what happened in those examinations,
I don’t even remember to this day because I took them unconsciously. I should have done them anonymously while
I was at it. Well as I say, I hate to take tests, and I
know that there are lots of students who feel the same way. In fact, undergoing a test can be one of the
most intimidating and frightening things that we ever experience as human beings, and so
frightening in fact that Jesus suggests that when we pray, that in our prayer before God,
that we say, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Now you say, “What in the world does that
have to do with taking tests?” Well, nothing would be a greater waste of
words than to get on your knees before a holy God and say to God, “God, please don’t tempt
me into sin.” In fact, that would be blasphemous to suggest
that God could even be remotely involved in enticing you or me into some sinful activity. When Jesus says that we should pray, “Lead
us not into temptation,” He doesn’t mean temptation in the sense of enticement to sin, but really
the language of the New Testament is Jesus is saying that we should get on our knees
before God and say, “God, please don’t lead us into the place of testing. Don’t make us vulnerable. Don’t expose us where we are put to the test
like Jesus was put to the test in the wilderness.” Well, apart from the temptation and the test
that Jesus endured in the wilderness and the test that was put before Adam in Eden and
in paradise, I think the most rigorous test that was ever produced and ever endured in
all of human history was a test where it wasn’t some European theologian, a professor who
was administering the test or some American college professor, or some grade school teacher,
but the person who put the test was God Himself, and the man who was put to the test was the
one that the Bible identifies as the father of the faithful, even Abraham. The record of this monumental test, the test
of all tests, is found in the twenty-second chapter of the book of Genesis. Let’s look at it briefly together. Genesis 22 begins with these words, “Now it
came about after these things that God tested Abraham.” Again, before I go on, think of those words,
“After these things, God tested Abraham.” How would you feel if you got a summons in
your mailbox this afternoon and said, “Next Saturday morning I want you show up at such
and such a place, at such and such a time to be tested by God”? That’s what happened to Abraham. God tested Abraham and God said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” And God said, “Take now your son, your only
son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt
offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” Now, let’s look at that passage together. The terms of the test. Well, you remember the story of Abraham that
God had called him out of the remote district of Mesopotamia, a pagan ignorant of the promises
of God’s redemption, and God had given him a special promise that He was going to make
Abraham a blessing for the whole world, that He would make him the father of a great nation. And do you remember that God took Abraham
outside and pointed to the stars of the sky and said, “Abraham, your descendants will
be as numerous as those stars in the heavens, and I will make you the father of a great
nation.” And Abraham said, “How can that be? I am childless. The servant who lives in my house is my heir,
Eliezer of Damascus. My wife is too old to have children.” And you remember how God had spoken to Abraham
and said, “No, no, no, Abraham. Your descendants will be from your own flesh. One from your own body will be your heir,
not your servant, not Eliezer of Damascus, but you’re going to have a son.” And as the story unfolds, we know that God
promised Abraham that he and his wife, Sarah, would have a child, and that that child would
be the child of promise. And through the further descendants of that
child would come the redemption of the whole world so that all of redemption history is
invested in this promised child. So when Abraham heard that, I mean he just
could hardly believe it. He said, “This is fantastic! The thing that I’ve wanted all my life more
than anything else is actually going to happen.” He couldn’t wait to go back and tell Sarah,
“Sarah, you’ll never believe it. I talked to God, and we’re going to have a
baby.” She says, “You’re right! I’ll never believe it. What have you been drinking? Are you out of your mind?” And so Abraham said, “You wait and see.” And she waited, and she didn’t see. She waited for days. She waited for weeks. She waited for months. She waited for years. No baby. And Abraham’s panic was growing in intensity
in direct proportion to the embarrassment that he must have been sensing in clinging
to a promise that was not taking place, until finally he decided to help God keep His promise. And so between Abraham, Sarah and all of those
who were involved in there, they said, “Well, we believe that God’s going to keep His promise
and He didn’t mean that this child, it might come from you, Abraham. It’s certainly not going to come from Sarah. She’s too old. She’s barren.” So Sarah takes her handmaiden, Hagar, and
Abraham and Hagar get together and have a child. And they call his name Ishmael, the father
of the Arab nations. Now Abraham had a son, but God spoke and said,
“Abraham, this is not the son of promise. The child that I spoke to you about years
ago will be conceived in the womb of your wife, Sarah. She will bring forth the child.” And so God, Abraham goes back to his wife
again and says, “Hey, remember what I told you years ago? We’re going to have a son. God wasn’t kidding. You’re going to be the mother of the son.” This time, what did Sarah do? She started howling. She laughed. And the name, the word for laughter in Hebrew
is the word “Isaac.” And so in her barrenness and in her frailty
and in her old age, Sarah conceived. And when she discovered that she was with
child, try to imagine, let your imagination roam for a minute, when she first knew that
she was pregnant I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall and heard the conversation
that went on between Sarah and Abraham. “Abraham, I think I’m with child.” And Abraham grabs her and says, “Sarah, can
it be?” And as the days passed and as the weeks passed,
and she experienced quickening within her womb. And Abraham would take his old hand and place
it upon the abdomen of his wife and would feel the baby kicking, and they were counting
the days and the weeks until the promise would finally be realized. And then morning came, and Isaac was born. And the Bible doesn’t say this, but I know,
I know that that night Abraham went out of his tent and he looked up at the sky, and
he started to count the stars because God has kept His promise. And Abraham, who had hoped against hope, who
had believed against all possibility had the son that God had promised. What an incredible story! And now in chapter 22, everything changes. The Scripture says that “After these things,
God tested Abraham.” God called Abraham, just as he had called
him out Ur of the Chaldees years before. He called him again and said, “Abraham!” and
Abraham said, “Here I am.” You know, Abraham couldn’t wait. “What do you want now, God?” “Man, I trust you now.” “Do you?” “Abraham, I want you to take your son, and
I want you to go to a place where I will show you, to Mount Moriah, and there I want you
to take your son and I want you to kill him. I want you to sacrifice him to Me on the altar.” Is that what God said? I intentionally misquoted verse 2 to you just
now. That’s not what God said to Abraham. I can assure you that if God had come to Abraham
and said, “Here’s a test for you Abraham, I want you to take your son to Mount Moriah
and I want you to kill him there,” Abraham would’ve said “Yes sir,” and he would’ve gone
straight to Ishmael’s room, and he would’ve taken Ishmael, the substitute son, the forced,
human, manipulated fulfillment of divine promise, and he would’ve killed him. But God was too specific in the terms of the
test. Listen again to verse 2. “Abraham, take now your son, your only son,
the one whom you love, Isaac. Isaac, Abraham. I want your son, your real son, your only
son, the one that you have invested your heart in, the one that you love, you know who I’m
talking about, and if that’s not clear yet, let me name the child. I’m talking about Isaac.” And like a sword in his soul were the words
of God, and Abraham in his agony is saying to himself inside, “Not Isaac! You can’t possibly mean Isaac. Not the child that we prayed for, that we
longed for, that we waited for all of these years. You can’t be serious. This can’t be the voice of God.” Verse 3 in typical Old Testament economy of
words, “So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his
young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and
arose and went to the place of which God had told him.” Soren Kierkegaard, the 19th century Danish
philosopher, called “the gadfly of Europe” and often considered to be the father of modern
existentialism, wrote a little book entitled Fear and Trembling, and the thesis of this
book Fear and Trembling, was a careful, close scrutiny of the twenty-second chapter of Genesis. And Kierkegaard would look at that story from
one perspective and then sort of move to a different aspect and peer at it from another
direction, and he speculated freely with the sensitivity of the poet saying, “Why does
the Scripture say that Abraham rose early in the morning?” Were these just desultory comments added by
way of prefix or preface to the text, or is there some significance in the fact that the
author of Genesis says, “Abraham rose early in the morning”? And Kierkegaard said, “Well, maybe the author
is trying to suggest by this language that by this time in his spiritual development
Abraham was so sanctified, was so trusting in God that no matter what God commanded him
to do, that no matter how strenuous or taxing the test from on high would be, Abraham was
prepared to respond in obedience instantly. And so he set his alarm clock for the time
of the first breaking of the dawn so that he could appear on the threshold of the morning,
ready to do the will of God. That’s usually the evangelical mythical view
of Abraham, stripping Abraham of his humanity. Or was it that Abraham nearly went mad with
every passing moment of the night, and sleep was utterly impossible as he tossed and turned
on his bed. “God, how can this be? Can this be You? What is this? Is this the temporary suspension of the ethical? How could you, oh God?” I know Abraham lived before Moses delivered
the law from Sinai, but he had lived after God had delivered the law in creation and
had written the law prohibiting murder on the hearts of every human being, and Abraham
already knew as well as Moses would know later that it was against the law of God to murder
a human being. And other pagan nations may have practiced
self-sacrifice, or child sacrifice, but nothing was more repugnant to Israel than the slaughter
of children, particularly for religious reasons. “Can this be God?” Abraham said. He is beside himself. Sleep becomes impossible, and so he gets out
of his bed. Now, we know from the careful study of the
life of Abraham that Abraham was a fabulously wealthy man, and that Abraham in his old age
had a whole host of servants on his staff. Abraham could snap his fingers and servants
would appear to do his bidding. In his old age and in his great wealth, he
didn’t have to cut firewood for fires. Abraham didn’t have to go out into the shed
and get the saddle from off the wall and the tack and all of that for the animals and then
saddle up his own donkey. He would wave his hand, and the servant would
run out and saddle the donkey for him. And yet we read here that he rose early in
the morning, and he saddled his donkey. He took two of his young men with him and
Isaac his son, and he split wood for the burnt offering. You know how people say, “Look at how faithful
Abraham is. What a hero.” I mean, he went out there and he just couldn’t
wait to do the will of God. I don’t believe that. I think Kierkegaard had more insight. Martin Luther once said that the only cure
he knew, humanly speaking, apart from prayer and meditation, of the onslaught of a debilitating
depression was to busy your hands with manual labor. That insight is as old as humanity itself,
and I think the reason why Abraham went out and got that saddle was because he couldn’t
stand to sit there and think about what was going on. He had to do something. He had to get his mind off. He went out and took the saddle. He saddled the donkey, and then he went and
he picked up the axe and he took the wood. What do you think was going through his mind? I had a piano teacher when I was in seminary,
who was a most wonderful woman, a sensitive person, and her son was a physician, and he
was a missionary. And my piano teacher was so proud of her son. And I remember when her son and his wife had
their first child, it was a beautiful child, and how the grandmother was so excited about
this little baby. And then when the baby was two or three, I
forget what year, while the doctor was attending some folks in the mission station, inadvertently
he had left his medical bag open and the little daughter went in and opened his medical bag
and took some medicine that she thought was candy and ate it. And when the physician came in, the girl was
dead. And when that word came back to my piano teacher,
she was absolutely devastated by it. And when she told me, she wept, and I wept,
and I remember we were sitting next to each other by the piano. And I said, “Mrs. Winterling, how you dealing
with this? What do you do?” And she said, “R.C., the more I think about
it, the more time I spend at the piano.” And she said, “Because all of my feeling,
all of my pain, all of my emotion rises up out of my soul, goes down through my arms,
out through my fingers, into the keys of the piano. That’s how I deal with it.” And I’ve never forgotten that. I can remember, when we were in seminary,
every year on that baby’s birthday, remember Vesta, we used to send one rose to Mrs. Winterling
in memory of her granddaughter. And how often I’ve thought of that, sitting
down at the piano when I was down and letting the feeling go out my arms and out my fingers. Well, Abraham didn’t play the piano obviously. He played the axe. He went out and he picked up the axe, and
as he was cutting the wood and contemplating why he was cutting the wood, he was preparing
firewood, ladies and gentlemen, to be a funeral pyre for the body of his son. And every emotion was intensified with each
swing of that axe. And then he takes the wood, the kindling,
two of his servants and his son, and started on the journey. Then we read, “On the third day, Abraham raised
his eyes and saw the place from a distance.” God didn’t ask him to just go there and say,
“Now, look. I want you to do it and I want you to do it
quickly.” Remember Jesus in the upper room on the night
he was betrayed, when He announced to Judas that Judas was going to betray Him, and when
he dismissed Jesus from their assembly there, he said, “What you have to do, do quickly.” Imagine having to contemplate for days the
task of killing your own son. And every emotion was intensified with each
swing of that axe. And then he takes the wood, the kindling,
two of his servants and his son, and started on the journey. Then we read, “On the third day, Abraham raised
his eyes and saw the place from a distance.” God didn’t ask him to just go there and say,
“Look, I want you to do it and I want you to do it quickly.” Remember Jesus in the upper room on the night
he was betrayed, when He announced to Judas that Judas was going to betray Him, and when
he dismissed Jesus from their assembly there, he said, “What you have to do, do quickly.” Imagine having to contemplate for days the
task of killing your own son. I remember when my wife and I and our family
first moved to western Pennsylvania to begin Ligonier Ministries. The first facility that we had was in a mountain
area, a few miles outside of the town of Ligonier, and the land had been purchased by a wealthy
widow who lived in that region. And you have to understand that the Ligonier
Valley area in western Pennsylvania is sort of the playground for the great industrial
tycoons of the steel industry and the coal industry of Pittsburgh. It’s where the Mellons play and the Heinzes
and the Fricks and so on. And the woman that began, who gave the initial
grant of the property for Ligonier Ministry was the widow of the late great J. Hartwell
Hillman, who was one of the greatest industrialists in American history. And when we came to the scene there to start
this ministry, Mrs. Hillman greeted us and she said, “I have a special present for you
to begin this work.” And she went outside and she came in with
two incredibly beautiful German Shepherd puppies. And she explained, she said, “Well,” she said,
“One of these is from my litter and the other one is from the Mellon family’s litter.” And at first, “I said I don’t know about the
bloodlines of the animals, but the bloodlines of their owners, you know, can hardly be any
higher than the Mellons and the Hillmans who have produced these animals,” and we had this
magnificent black and gold female German Shepherd and then this magnificent sable Shepherd who
was the grandson of the reigning Grand Victor. Now, the Grand Victor is the grandest German
Shepherd in all the land. You know, that’s like a horse breeder buying
the grandson of Secretariat or Man o’ War or something like that, and these dogs were
born on Palm Sunday. And so they were named before we received
them as gifts, and the female’s name was Hallelujah and the male’s name was Hosanna. I had lots of fun with that, as I would go
out and call these dogs, “Hallelujah…Hosa….” People in the neighborhood thought a charismatic
had just moved in because I was always yelling “Hosanna” and “Hallelujah” out around the
neighborhood. Well, it was only a couple of weeks after
we moved in. In fact, there was still some construction
going on around the house, and we had a dog door built in to the back part of the house
so that the dogs could come in and out on their own. And in the morning, they would awaken and
they would go out the dog door and they would play for a while, and then they’d come back
in. And this one morning, I was in the kitchen
and all of a sudden, the male, Hosanna, came running through the dog door, and as soon
as I saw him, I couldn’t believe what had happened. I looked at him, and he was grotesque. His head was two or three times the normal
size of his head. And I said to Vesta, I said, “Look at this
dog!” The only thing I could imagine was that somehow
the dog had gotten into a hornets’ nest and had been stung a couple of hundred times and
his head had swollen so greatly. And so we picked him up, and we took him to
the veterinarian. The vet examined him carefully and he discovered
to his chagrin three deep fang marks on the dog’s face and head. And he said, “This dog has either gotten his
face in a nest of poisonous snakes, or one snake has stricken him three times. But he’s received a lot of venom,” and he
said, “This is the worst case of snakebite I’ve ever seen in an animal.” He said, “Dr. Sproul, I don’t think your dog
is going to be able to survive this.” But I left Hosanna there and went home and
waited and hoped. The next day I called, and the vet said he
survived the first 24 hours, which is very important in this kind of a situation. He said, “The thing I’m concerned about now,
Dr. Sproul, is that the dog’s eyes have, are swollen shut and sometimes when that happens
with an animal, that that is so depressing to them when they can’t see that they lose
their will to live, and they’ll just give up and die.” He said, “But I’m talking to the animal, I’m
trying everything I know,” you know, “giving him all these injections” and so on. The next day or a couple of days later, he
called he said, “I’ve got good news. The dog has still survived. His eyes are open. I think he’s going to make it.” Well, he was in intensive care in the animal
hospital for ten days or two weeks or so, and finally the day came when I could go and
bring the dog home. And before I went to pick him up, the vet
called me again and he said, “Dr. Sproul, there’s something I want to tell you before
you come.” He said, “Whenever an animal experiences an
injection of this kind of venom in their skin, what normally happens is the result is called
necrosis.” And if you know your Greek, you’ll would know
what necrosis means. Necrosis simply means the death of the skin
tissue. He said, “So, your dog has lost its skin from
its face, so be prepared for a shock when you come to pick up this animal.” Well, with all of those words, I was not prepared,
I had no idea. I walked in there, and I saw an animal that
had lost, literally lost, its face. The skin, the tissue had actually rotted and
fallen off his nose, and his sinus cavities were exposed and it was the most hideous thing
I’d ever seen, and when I looked at that animal the first thought that went through my mind
is, “Why didn’t they put him to sleep?” But the vet said, “Sooner or later this will
heal, he’ll be severely scarred,” he said, “It’s important that he have administered
to him this particular salve twice a day,” and he gave me this big jar of this salve
to put on the dog’s face. And he said, gave me rubber gloves to use
to administer it. And I brought the dog home, and we prepared
convalescent quarters for him in our garage. The rotting flesh, ladies and gentleman, was
so putrid that the odor you couldn’t bring into the house. And I arranged this corner of the garage for
the dog, and when I brought them in there, it was like he slinked away. You know, how sometimes animals almost sense
that they’ve lost their beauty and they’re ashamed, they’re embarrassed for you to look
at them? And I had to go through the first experience
of applying that salve and I carefully put that stuff on my hands, and I said, “How can
I touch his face?” I put my hand in the jar, and I got that salve
on and I came close to him, it was just, I mean I was, I don’t know, I couldn’t look,
and when I started to put that salve on his face very, very gently, that dog looked at
me with its eyes, you know, like they were human and it was like, it was like he was
saying to me, “I know this is distasteful for you. I know this is hard for you, but it is, it’s,
it’s alleviating my pain.” And I know this sounds crazy, but in that
instance, something happened between that dog and me. So that by the second time I went in to put
the salve, I forgot the gloves and I just put that stuff on my bare hands and wiped
it on his face and I did it twice a day until this hard, thick coat like leather formed
over the mucous membrane and the scar tissue covered what once had been his face, and this
magnificent grandson of the Grand Victor now looked like the Quasimodo of the canine world
with his face twisted and distorted into what strangers considered to be a perpetual snarl,
but I like to think of was kind of a friendly grin. But that dog and I were inseparable from that
day forth. I mean, when I would lecture, Hosanna would
be by my feet. He would sleep at my side when I would lecture. If I would walk out of the room, he would
walk out of the room. If I went to the woods, he went with me. I used to love to go bird hunting, upland
game birds, for grouse and that sort of thing. And one cold winter day I was out, and I had
to cross over a barbed wire fence. And every hunter knows that hunting safety
requires that you never walk over a fence, especially a barbed wire fence carrying a
rifle. You take the rifle and you slide it under
the fence or put it aside, and you get yourself over first without the gun and so on. And I went through this procedure, and I had
a wool coat on and I started to climb over this fence and just as I was going over it,
I got my coat caught on it and the wires pulled taut as the barbed wire caught in my coat
and then it sort of just spring me and flipped me literally head over heels, and I came down
hard on my back, on my spine, on a rock pile. And when I hit the center my spine on this
rock, on this rock pile, I could not move. I was numb. I couldn’t move my legs, and it was like a
scene out of Lassie, you know? My dog, instantly, Hosanna, knew I was in
trouble and he came up on the rock pile and by now he was full grown, big barrel chest,
95 pounds, you know? And Hosanna sort of slithered, put his head
underneath my arms, underneath my chest and snuggled underneath me so that I could wrap
my arms around his chest, and he physically dragged me off that pile of rocks and got
me so that I could recover and so on. It was an incredible animal — gentle, loving,
strong. When he was about two-and-a-half years old,
he had a convulsion. And I took him to the vet, and I said, “He
had this terrible convulsion,” and the vet examined him and didn’t know what, gave him
some medication. The next day, he had another convulsion. The next day, another convulsion, the day
after that two convulsions, and then he started having three, four, five, six convulsions
in a day. And the vet tried every medicine that he knew
of. He said, “R.C., the only thing I can think
of is that we’re getting a final reaction to the damage to the dog’s brain from the
original snakebite.” And now with the degree of medication that
required for this animal to be able to even function was so debilitating that he was in
a pathetic state and the vet says, “The only humane thing to do is to use the euphemism,
is to put this dog to sleep.” I brought him home. I said, “I have to talk to the kids, I have
to talk to Vesta.” We talked about it, and Vesta and I agreed
the dog has to be put to sleep. She said, “Well, how should we do it?” I said, “Well you know, we shouldn’t have
to go and pay the bill to have a veterinarian give him a lethal injection. He loves to hunt with me. I’ll just take him out tomorrow in the woods
and when he’s on point and he’s excited and his attention is drawn like Lennie and George
in Of Mice and Men, when he’s not looking, I will just turn the sights of my rifle, get
him in my sights and I’ll put him out of his misery instantly.” And I thought about looking through the scope
of my gun at that dog and shooting him, and I said, “There’s no way in the world I can
do that.” I said, “We’re going to have to take him to
the vet.” And she said, “Well, will you take him to
the vet tomorrow?” I said, “Honey, I can’t take that dog, my
dog, and put him in my car and drive ten minutes to the veterinarian, knowing that I’m taking
him to his death.” If that dog looked at me from the side on
the seat I’d go drive right off the road. I can’t do that. I said, “Look, some day this week, don’t tell
me what day it is, have one of the students here at the study center when I least expect
it, have the student take the dog and tell me when it’s done.” And three days later, I came home and Vesta
met me. She said, “Hosie’s dead. I had a student take him to the vet.” That was my dog. It wasn’t my son. See, I couldn’t take my dog who was in misery,
who was going to die anyway, in a car for 15 minutes to be mercifully killed. God asked Abraham to take his son, his only
son, the son whom he loved, Isaac, and personally journey with him for three days while the
child was robust, full of health, not in any life suffering or threatening disease, and
by his own hand he was to kill him. Christians, think about that! And the third day, Abraham raised his eyes
and saw the place from a distance and Abraham said to his young men, “You stay here with
the donkey, and I and the boy will go yonder, and we will worship and return to you.” Oh, again, how people love to read that. “See the faith of Abraham. He said, ‘We’re going to go, worship, and
we will return to you.’ Abraham knew that everything was going to
turn out alright.” Baloney! What do you think Abraham’s going to say to
the men? What do you think Abraham’s going to say in
front of his son? “Hey, you guys stay here and watch the animals
while Isaac and I go up here and worship, and then I’ll be back.” Ha, ha…he’s not going to do that. Finally, Isaac spoke to Abraham, his father. And he said, “My father!” And Abraham said, “Here I am, my son.” And Isaac said, “Behold, the fire and the
wood, but I don’t get it, but where’s the lamb for the burnt offering?” “Father, you cut the firewood, we’ve made
this long journey, we’re going to go up and make a sacrifice, but don’t we have to have
a lamb for a sacrifice? You forgot the most important thing.” What’s Abraham, what is he thinking when he’s
listening to those words and seeing the look in his son’s eye? Is he going to say to Isaac, “I didn’t bring
a lamb, Isaac, because you’re it.” And Abraham said, “God will provide for himself
the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” Take the comma out of there. “God will provide, God will provide the lamb
for the burnt offering my son. My son is the lamb that God is going to provide
for the burnt offering.” So, the two of them walked on together and
there they came to the place which God had told him, and Abraham built the altar, arranged
the wood, delaying to the last possible second giving away. Isaac’s helping him build the altar. Isaac’s still looking around for this lamb
that’s going to be supplied. Abraham’s building the altar. Abraham’s stacking the wood. I can see Isaac handing his father pieces
of the wood to put up on the altar. And once he puts them up, and then Abraham
says, “Come here, Isaac,” and he picks up his son and he puts him on the altar, and
he takes out the cords and the ropes, and he binds him to the altar. How stupid is Isaac. The truth is dawning on him. He’s looking at his father. His eyes are saying, “How could you do this?” Isaac is looking up from him. He sees his father pick up a knife. He looks up and he sees his father raise his
arm, stretching it above the chest. Isaac is looking up. He’s seeing the knife. He realizes that his father is going to plunge
that knife into his heart. And just as Abraham is ready to bring the
knife down into the chest of his son, we read that the angel of the Lord called to him from
heaven had said, “Abraham, Abraham!” Abraham stops right there and says, “Here
I am,” like “Where have you been?” “Here I am.” And the angel said, “Do not stretch out your
hand against the lad. Do nothing to him, for now I know that you
fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” And then Abraham raised his eyes and he looked,
and behold, behind him a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered
him up as a burnt offering unto the Lord. And Abraham called the name of that place
“The Lord Will Provide.” Mount Moriah, where is it? According to current archaeology, Mount Moriah
was a place in the south part of Palestine that later was changed, and its name was called
Jerusalem or Mount Zion. The historic place where Abraham offered Isaac
is now considered to be the site of the Dome of the Rock in the old city of Jerusalem. Two thousand years later, on this same mountain
God took his Son, His only Son, the Son whom he loved, Jesus. And He took him to that same mountain, and
He fastened him to a vertical altar of sacrifice. But this time, ladies and gentlemen, nobody
hollered, “Stop!” God brought the knife into the heart of His
only begotten Son, fulfilling, in blood, in time and in space, the promise that was dramatized
and symbolized by the test of Abraham’s child of promise. God said, “Abraham, I will provide the sacrifice. I will provide the lamb,” so that two thousand
years later, a prophet came out of the desert in Palestine and called the whole nation to
take a bath because he said, “The kingdom of God is coming.” And while he was involved in this process
of preparing people for the breakthrough of the kingdom of God, he saw a man approaching
him in the distance and he stopped what he was doing and he sang the Agnus Dei, he said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” The lamb without blemish whom God has provided. His Son, His only Son, the One whom He loves,

12 thoughts on “The Sacrifice of Faith: The Classic Collection with R.C. Sproul

  • The story of the child taking medicine and dying was horrible. But the story of the dog made me sob. Very touching and so sad. Hosanna was an amazing dog and loved RC so much. What a picture of sacrifice on the part of RC and Hosanna.

  • Great teaching. So glad the Lord is providing more and more teachers and ministers of His Holy Word. I know RC has already passed but RC's exaltation of the Word will continue to teach others as long as these and other videos remain and Ligonier Ministries continues to do the same. So glad for this work that was started.

  • Commanding people to sacrifice their child as proof of loyalty is the mark of a psychopath…. except when God does it. And Islam is founded from a child out of wedlock. Adam and Eve did not have a test, they were set up. If God knows all things the he knew Eve would eat the apple. Does this guy sell cars for a living?

  • I am a Spirit-Filled Christian, and it was in the early 90's when I accidently tuned in on the radio and heard RC for the first time, there was a depth in his teachings that grabbed a hold of me deep down on the inside, it was the convicting power of the Holy Ghost!

  • Were so blessed to have these videos at our fingertips. The insight and joy it brings me is priceless. Thank you Jesus.

  • There is no one like RC. Very thankful for his expository preaching. Had the great privilege of meeting Mrs. Sproul, today at St. Andrews. It was great to hear the Gospel preached.

  • Just because the sovereign"God"of scripture is so far different than the other's!…because"God"can be trusted for anything that's why abraham didn't even hesitated for"God"'s trial!..glory to the most"High"!!!all the glory to"Jesus!!!amen!!!

  • Wow!
    The story of his dog broke my heart!
    So very many nuanced thoughts rushing through my mind all at once. My tears were the only possible satisfaction that I could get from this story.
    I hate…I HATE!!! when I have to put a pet to sleep!

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