Summary: Giving our all for God even when it seems unrealistic or possible.
In our text for today Abraham is called by God to
sacrifice his son Isaac on the altar that they would build on the mountain. Shocking really when you think about it at all! But, Abraham’s faith was such that he did not question God’s wisdom, but rather followed in obedience regardell of how absurd the call of God appeared. I cannot imagine anyone today that would be willing to do what God asked at this point. In fact people today are often willing to abandon the Christian faith entirely when demands are placed upon them to make any change in their lives. I am sure that many people today would not even have been walking with God at the point that we find Abraham at the beginning of this story. Yet Abraham followed in obedience, certain of the fact that God would provide whatever was needed at the time of the sacrifice.
Just as Abraham was called to sacrifice the life of the
one that he loved, we too are called to sacrifice the life that we love in pursuit of a relationship with God. While none of us is called to sacrifice our children to God we are called to sacrifice our own lives in obedience to God. And just as strongly as Abraham may have wanted to object to God’s call, people today reject God’s call as well.
Addictions, self-centeredness, hostility, bitterness, all of the many ways that we seek to serve self over God and others. These are things that God requires us to lay on the altar in sacrifice to him. And just as God provided a way out for Abraham, He will provide a life filled with satisfaction and joy to those who obediently place their own lives on the altar in obedience and love.
Abraham was travelling with his son to the mountain
fully expecting that God would provide a way for him to not have to sacrifice the life of the child that he loved so very much, but even if this had not happened Abraham would have followed through on what God had asked of him even though it did not seem logical. Remember that Abraham and Sarah had waited for many years to be given the son that God had promised to them and it was only after they were well up in years that God granted their desire to have children and their desire to experience God’s promises to them that their offspring would fill the earth and form a great
nation. Now, the God who continually defies the laws of logic asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son, in order that God would be glorified. How was this to glorify God? Well the sacrifice of Isaac would probably not have been very glorifying, But how very glorifying it is that Abraham followed in obedience completely and God then provided a lamb so that Isaac would in every way be the fulfillment of God’s promise and Abraham’s dream! Several thousand years later we read this story and we see that God was indeed gracious and provided the way out for Abraham.
But then, we fail to carry this obvious lesson into our
own lives today. We fail to see that God requires of us that we too sacrifice the one that we love the most on the altar of God. I am not talking about Children or spouses or anyone else, rather we are called to sacrifice ourselves. Most people in the world today are so in love with themselves that they do not take the time to do anything that even remotely resembles a step of faith or obedience.
We read in the book of Romans that the wages of sin is
death. In order to avoid that death, all that is required is that we follow Christ in obedience by allowing him to have our broken and sin filled lives. Death, though, is the way that most of the people in the world live! That, my friends, is the ultimate contradiction. We were all once dead and living apart from God. Without the presence of Christ in our lives
we are dead to all of the joy and satisfaction that could be ours by following Christ.
In our world there are those rare people who might
choose death over life, but, for the most part, people spend their entire lives seeking to discover what it means to truly be alive and the will to live that exists in the core of each person is the strongest desire known to man. Why is it then, that we spend so much time seeking life, by looking at the bottom of a bottle or in a little pill, or in therapy to help us overcome the dysfunctionality of our families when all that we really need to do in order to find life is to admit that we are indeed responsible for our lives and our choices and then allow God to take these burdens from us. That, my friends, will bring life to us in ways that we have never before known.