Gen 22:1-18 (MSG)
1 After all this, God tested Abraham. God said, "Abraham!"
"Yes?" answered Abraham. "I'm listening."
2 He said, "Take your dear son Isaac whom you love and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I'll point out to you."
3 Abraham got up early in the morning and saddled his donkey. He took two of his young servants and his son Isaac. He had split wood for the burnt offering. He set out for the place God had directed him. 4 On the third day he looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 Abraham told his two young servants, "Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I are going over there to worship; then we'll come back to you."
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and gave it to Isaac his son to carry. He carried the flint and the knife. The two of them went off together.
7 Isaac said to Abraham his father, "Father?"
"Yes, my son."
"We have flint and wood, but where's the sheep for the burnt offering?"
8 Abraham said, "Son, God will see to it that there's a sheep for the burnt offering." And they kept on walking together.
9 They arrived at the place to which God had directed him. Abraham built an altar. He laid out the wood. Then he tied up Isaac and laid him on the wood. 10 Abraham reached out and took the knife to kill his son.
11 Just then an angel of God called to him out of Heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!"
"Yes, I'm listening."
12 "Don't lay a hand on that boy! Don't touch him! Now I know how fearlessly you fear God; you didn't hesitate to place your son, your dear son, on the altar for me."
13 Abraham looked up. He saw a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. Abraham took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.
14 Abraham named that place God-Yireh (God-Sees-to-It). That's where we get the saying, "On the mountain of God, he sees to it."
15 The angel of God spoke from Heaven a second time to Abraham: 16 "I swear—God's sure word!—because you have gone through with this, and have not refused to give me your son, your dear, dear son, 17 I'll bless you—oh, how I'll bless you! And I'll make sure that your children flourish—like stars in the sky! like sand on the beaches! And your descendants will defeat their enemies. 18 All nations on Earth will find themselves blessed through your descendants because you obeyed me."
God proclaimed His pleasure in these words... "BECAUSE YOU OBEYED ME!"
What a test God sent both Abraham and Isaac through! Each time I read this part of history I am struck not just by Abraham's obedience, but Isaac's as well. A young man that appeared to not put up a fight when his father began to bind him up for the sacrificial offering. Complete obedience.
Both had to be so close to God that they would not question this bizarre expectation but just trust God's plans beyond any human thought or concern they could have had.
Abraham told his servants as he prepared to take Isaac to worship "WE'LL come back to you."
Abraham trusted the promises of God so completely that he never doubted God had a plan beyond what he could see or understand.
We know Abraham didn't always have such blind trust. I'm reminded of the times he lied about Sarah being his wife to protect himself in dangerous situations. But it was God's ultimate provisions and protection in those situations that taught Abraham to trust God completely, even when it did not make sense. And let's not forget the amazing circumstances around Isaac's birth.
And Isaac was raised with these stories and learned from his father how God is to be completely trusted in all things. He was taught by example that submission to God's will is what is expected.
So as he submitted to his father, Abraham, was it the words "Son, God will see to it that there's a sheep for the burnt offering." his father had spoken earlier that gave him the complete trust that God had a plan beyond what his immediate circumstances indicated?
As I read this part of history, I am reminded to consider and reflect on all that God has done in my life to show me how I can trust Him in even the most bizarre circumstances. And I am reminded that as I read through His word in the next 3 months, the intimacy of our relationship will increase daily. Intimacy that will strengthen my ability to respond to Him with complete obedience, even when it doesn't make sense.
Food for our soul. His word is the food that strengthens us to do 'the bizarre' when 'the normal' is what the world tells us to do.
If we pull back and do the safe thing (the norman thing the world would expect), we miss out on the last part of our featured scripture:
All nations on Earth will find themselves blessed through your descendants because you obeyed Me."
God proclaimed His pleasure with Abraham's obedience. Oh...to hear such a proclamation from God on my life!
Father God, what a joy it is to know You are pleased when we obey You. Thank You Lord for Your eternal patience and mercy as I learn to obey You more instinctively day by day. Thank You for the life lessons that teach me how to obey You completely. Seek my heart and know that I desire to honor You with the obedience of Abraham; to not question Your will but to trust Your plan. I long to hear You say "because you obeyed Me...". I seek Your will and Your way at Your feet. A place I am blessed to kneel because of a sacrifice made on my behalf at the cross. It is in the name of that sacrificial lamb, Jesus Christ, that I pray. Amen.