“And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.” Genesis 22:10 (NKJV)
Genesis 22 tells the legacy of Abraham and Isaac which has always left me with my jaw wide open and speechless. It’s a story of complete obedience. Obedience that would require unimaginable sacrifice.
When first reading this story, it doesn’t seem real that a loving God would ask Abraham to take his only son, Isaac, to the top of the mountain to be sacrificed. God made it real clear and gave no room for error in his instructions as we read Genesis 22:2, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love – Isaac- and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” I know what my first response would not have been complete obedience. I would have been the first to raise my hand and ask questions. “God, you meant ‘their son’ right? Not my son, Isaac?” Or how about asking, “God, when you say ‘sacrifice’ you meant it in a ‘figurative” sense not ‘literal sacrifice’, right?” My immediate response is to question but Abraham’s immediate response was to obey.
Obey. I don’t know about you but “obey” can be a four-lettered word in my life. I am a type “A” personality and when life’s big decisions and daily schedules come into question, I like to be the one in control. Always planning and scheduling leaves little room for flexibility. When I don’t leave room for flexibility, I have not made room for the Holy Spirit. When I don’t leave room for the Holy Spirit, I haven’t left room for His input in my life and even in my daily routines. However, there was not much room for flexibility or interpretation when reading this scripture.
God was very specific in his request to Abraham as he asked him to take “your son” and to be clearer he stated, “your ONLY son” then to be sure to leave no room for confusion God told Abraham to take the son “whom you love –Isaac”. God made it crystal clear. As long as, Abraham was listening, he would have heard the specific instructions from his heavenly father. Obedience requires us to listen.
Our greatest blessings will require our greatest sacrifice. Isaac was Abrahams greatest blessing. He was a miracle that was promised to him and Sarah. Yet God was calling them to put it back on the altar. What is God calling you to put back on the altar today? Our gifts and talents were entrusted to us to use for His glory. Maybe God is calling you to put those on the altar for a season. Is God calling you to put your role or leadership position on the alter? Your marriage or your family? Have these things become an idol in our lives where you have placed more value on them than the one who gave them to us?
James 1:17 (ESV) “Every good gift and every perfect give is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
Every good thing in our life is not there because of something we have done but something He has done!
When God called upon Abraham to make this staggering sacrifice, he never argued or questioned God. Instead, he woke up the next morning set to start the journey towards obedience. Abraham obeyed. Faith doesn’t call us to argue but calls us to obey. When situations seem hopeless, we must remember in whom we trust and have hope. I encourage you to speak and prophecy over those situations in your life.
In verse 8, we read that Abraham said that “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” Abraham prophesied over a situation that was considered hopeless and in doing also prophesied our future. God did provide a lamb substitute for Abraham’s sacrifice and provides a substitute lamb for our own lives. When our sacrifice is on the alter, it will call into question our relationship with God. But when we know Him and His character, doubt does not take over as we know he is our Provider. We can leave our sacrifice on the altar knowing that God will provide and all He requires from us is complete surrender.