Summary: Christians are accused of being robots who obey without question. Abraham was an obedient servant who was justified by faith, but he knew exactly what he was doing because he weighed the options.
June 15, 2003
Text: Genesis 22:1-19
Subject: Abraham’s Obedience
Title: Distinguishing Between Blind Obedience and Faith
I never cease to be amazed at the perception that the world has of Christians. It shows in the news media, on the movie screen, and in the newspapers. Christians, for the most part, are mindless robots who follow their leader with acts of blind obedience. Of course we are talking about worldly people who don’t understand the nature of Christian obedience because what we do we do in the Spirit. Not being spiritual, they cannot understand these things.
On the other hand there are cults who are led by charismatic people who demand obedience to them and to the extra-biblical writings that are authoritative over the Bible.
Does God call us to be mindless robots? I think not! If that were the case, then why would the Word of God encourage us to "meditate on the Word night and day" and to "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling"? It is true that God calls His people to be obedient. It is then and only then that we can find true freedom.
Roger Staubach who led the Dallas Cowboys to the World Championship in ’71 admitted that his position as a quarterback who didn?t call his own signals was a source of trial for him. Coach Landry sent in every play. He told Roger when to pass, when to run and only in emergency situations could he change the play (and he had better be right!). Even though Roger considered coach Landry to have a "genius mind" when it came to football strategy, pride said that he should be able to run his own team.
Roger later said, "I faced up to the issue of obedience. Once I learned to obey there was harmony, fulfillment, and victory."
Today we look at the extraordinary story of Abraham’s obedience. Was it blind obedience or an awesome act of faith? Today we will look at one of the greatest Fathers Day presents ever given. As we look we will see that there is a pattern that Christians can learn from. In our Christian walk there are often tests to which we respond and then there are rewards.
I. Abraham’s test. (Verses 1-2)
When God spoke to Abraham, he knew who was speaking to him. The same God who called Him out of Haran. The same God who had blessed him with material wealth.
The same God who had given him the son of promise.
He recognized God’s voice because he walked with God in faith. Abraham’s response? Not like Adam and Eve in the garden. Genesis 3:8-9, "And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ’Where are you’?" The one through whom sin entered the world tried to hide from God. Abraham walked in faith and was available to the Lord.
"Here I am." He didn’t wonder what God wanted. He just responded in faith. It didn’t matter what God wanted, Abraham was ready to do it. But God asks the unthinkable. "Take now your son, your only son Isaac and offer him as a burnt offering." Why did God call Isaac Abraham’s only son? He had another son, Ishmael.
But Isaac was the son of promise. The one through whom Abraham’s descendants would be multiplied. The words "only son" come from the Hebrew word hachid which means "a precious, solitary life that can’t be replaced by another; his darling, only child". You can see how precious Isaac was to his father and God knew it too. Now this doesn’t make any sense does it?
In chapter 21 verse 12 we read, "But God said to Abraham, ’Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called’." There is a logical train of thought that would take place. The promise was through Isaac and Isaac had no children. So if I kill Isaac, I kill the promise. Right? Was Abraham exhibiting blind obedience? No. When we see blind obedience in action people act without even considering the consequences. But that is not what Abraham did. He weighed it out and then decided to obey. Why? Hebrews 11:17-19, "By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, In Isaac your seed shall be called, concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead" Was Abraham’s love for others (his family) greater than his love for God? God doesn’t test people to see if we have faith in His promises. He wants to know if we have faith in the One who makes the promises.