By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. He had received the promises, yet he was ready to offer up his only son. God had told him, “Through Isaac descendants will carry on your name,” and he reasoned that God could even raise him from the dead, and in a sense he received him back from there.
By faith also Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning the future.
By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph and worshiped as he leaned on his staff.
By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, mentioned the exodus of the sons of Israel and gave instructions about his burial.
As we read more events from the Old Testament, we might be tempted to go with the sentiment that the “Old Testament God was super angry and unpredictable while Jesus tamed the New Testament God down a whole lot.” Part of the dependable and steady thing about God is that He doesn’t change, so what do we do with all of this?
The thing that changed was the way that people would relate and interact with that Unchanging God. That changed in a lot of ways as people changed throughout history. God made a way for humans and Himself to be together in the Garden of Eden. Then came in various ways to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — another way to Melchizadech and others.
In the Old and New Testaments, people were saved from death and sin and the evils of this world and Hell by their faith. God’s grace was shown to them and increased in their lives as they expressed their faith by obeying the Law. Abraham showed His faith in God’s salvation and resurrection power by listening and obeying God’s command to sacrifice Isaac. By obeying God all of the way until God stopped him, Abraham showed God that he had great faith.
Isaac knew that God’s words were dependable, so he showed his faith by telling Jacob and Esau about the future God had promised them.
Now that Christ has taken away our sins, obedience to the Law isn’t counted against us. Instead, the Holy Spirit, the real living life behind the Law, lives in us and guides us. We are given soft, impressionable dispositions that can be guided. Where people once related to God by fear of punishment and a list of rules and obligations, we now respond to God’s grace in Jesus Christ by seeking the will and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
That is where we are today. No longer worrying and fussing over what various laws mean, but sincerely seeking the Holy Spirit’s will and guidance. God is revealing Himself to the world and ushering in a kingdom. He loves to use us to do it. Our Faith in Him, exercised by grace and obedience (but out of love, not fear) shows Him off to all of those around us.