“He said to his servants, ‘Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.’” Genesis 22:5 NIV
When Abraham decided to follow God, he was a relative newcomer to faith. He did not come from a godly heritage. He was the first person in his family to worship the one true God. He could not recall stories from his childhood about God because there were none told.
When he met God, he knew he would sacrifice familial relations and probably familial respect.
He made a life decision to follow God anyway. Over the years he made a few bad choices: he lied, he tried alternative routes God did not ordain and through it all he grew in his faith in God. Abraham had several promises from God, and toward the end of his life, one was left unfulfilled: the promise of a son to carry on Abraham’s legacy.
Decades of waiting.
Decades of alternatives.
Decades of consequences for disobedience.
Finally, in Genesis 22, Abraham is told the when of the fulfillment of this prophecy, and it happened. The son Sarah and Abraham have waited their entire married lives for had now arrived. God did the impossible!
Years go by and Isaac grows into a young man. In Genesis 22, the story takes a heart wrenching turn. Isaac, this promised son, the son Abraham loves, Abraham’s one and only son, is to be sacrificed at a certain location.
I wonder how Abraham slept that night. I’m betting he didn’t. Yet, Abraham got up early the next morning to prepare for the trip. He was preparing to obey God. He had three long days of travel to mull it over: Am I really doing this? Each step brought him closer to the death of his son. What he didn’t know at that moment: each step was bringing him closer to God.
When Abraham could see the mountains of Moriah, he appeared decided. He instructed the servants to wait, he and Isaac would continue alone. He ended his instructions with an interesting declaration: “We will worship and we will come back to you.”
Was Abraham’s heart pleading that to be the truth?
When his very son questioned him about the whereabouts of the sacrifice, Abraham assured Isaac with this truth, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.”
Abraham prepared the alter. Knife ready, he bound his son, his only son whom he loved. The son who was to fulfill the legacy.
Abraham didn’t deceive his way around this one.
He didn’t try an alternative.
He was ready to follow God’s instructions to a “T.”
As his bound son lay before him and he grasped his knife above him, an angel’s voice stopped him.
“’Now,’” that angel declared, “’Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.’” Genesis 22:12b NIV
And more importantly, so did Abraham.
The angel knew Abraham had learned his lesson: God can be trusted no matter what.
A lifetime of hearing God’s voice. A lifetime of trying to mold God’s promises into the form Abraham assumed they would take.
Abraham learned over that lifetime, even when obeying God’s voice didn’t appear to make sense, following God’s instructions is the only way.
He revealed where God stood in his heart when he was willing to surrender his son.
Abraham was human. He made lots of mistakes. And over the years he trusted more and more in God until we find him in Genesis 22 completely surrendering to God. It took a lifetime of growing in faith and relying on God for Abraham to develop his hallmark “Hall of Faith” faith.
That type of faith is not unreachable. You and I can develop that type of faith too. It’s our choice.
Do I assume I’m missing a key component that I can never grasp, to attain a faith like Abraham? God has called each and every one of us despite our heritage and our history, despite our failures and mistakes. He calls us to pursue Him as He pursues us. (James 4:8)
Am I clutching onto something or someone more tightly than my relationship with God? If so, what changes can I make today?
Thanks for reading! Please return by Monday, October 19, 2015 for the next post.