I struggle with the idea of Abraham willingly sacrificing Isaac…the thought makes my stomach turn and my mind spin. It’s unnatural. It’s cruel. Because let’s face it, no one likes to read or talk about sacrifices. And even though it is central to the Gospel message, we don’t really like to talk about sacrifice… much less make it personal. Yet personal is right where God goes. Abraham treasured Isaac. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, WHOM YOU LOVE, and go to the region of Moriah.” (Genesis 22:2). Seriously, could God have gotten any more specific? Your son… Your only son… His name is Isaac, just in case you’re confused. You know, the son you love….yeah, that’s the one.
God called Abraham to sacrifice his Isaac…and He calls us to do the same. Whatever the “Isaac” is in our lives, nothing or no one should ever take the place that is only reserved for God in our hearts.
WHY? Because God knows that humans or “earthly things” are poor substitute gods. Only God can fulfill our needs. But in order for us to know this truth, we must be willing to walk up the mountain of obedience…our own “Moriah”, willing to “sacrifice” in our hearts what we love more than God. Because we have all fallen for the lie that we know what’s better for us than God does.
We struggle in our walk of obedience because at the heart of the matter, we don’t trust God can provide. So many times we think we know what’s best for us. We fail to walk in obedience to what God calls us to do because we don’t trust Him to be faithful and trustworthy. We fear He won’t provide. We fear He won’t come through for us. We fear our obedience will cost us too much because there is some sort of sacrifice involved. We settle for the guy or girl in front of us because we don’t trust that God can provide anyone better. We settle for the easy so we don’t have to trust in the difficult.
So what is God calling you to sacrifice?
Maybe, just maybe there is something better for you on the other side of that sacrifice. For some of you, it may be a better situation…a new job, a healthier lifestyle….or a stronger relationship with God. One thing we do see in this story is that Abraham had learned to take God at His word. God spoke and Abraham obeyed….even when he didn’t understand. Even when the plan wasn’t clear. Abraham trusted that God would live up to His name: Jehovah-Jireh…“The Lord will provide”. “We will worship and then WE will come back to you.” (Genesis 22:5). Abraham didn’t know how, but he placed his trust in the Lord and walked forward in obedience. The Lord will provide…
Now before you get discouraged and say “I could never trust God like Abraham…” Realize Abraham, like all of us, was a work in progress. Remember Hagar and Ishmael? Yeah, Abraham didn’t trust God fully in that situation and the result included pain for everyone affected by his disobedience and distrust. Sin has a way of doing that…affecting the innocent.
YET…God is faithful and used the opportunity to grow and refine Abraham’s faith in the process. Through the consequences of Abraham’s disobedience he learned the valuable lesson of trusting God to provide.
I don’t know what you’re walking through right now, but I want to encourage you with this truth…. God’s name is Jehovah-Jireh…“The LORD Will Provide”…let’s take Him at His name.
God’s name is not past tense, it’s future tense….He WILL provide. And He did on an old wooden cross over two thousand years ago. The Lamb of God, not a ram caught in a bush, but a Savior….a Rescuer who willingly became the sacrifice for our sins so that we might have forgiveness and freedom through Him.
Now that is something to be thankful for! (ANGELA PERRITT)