Summary: This message focuses on leaving a legacy for our family to follow.
“Father Abraham: Leaving a Legacy that Lasts””
Curtis Strange, one of the golfers in the Master’s Tournament teed up on the 12th hole, hit a beautiful shot, it rolled right up and dropped in the cup for a hole in one. The crowd went crazy with applause. Cheering. Then Curtis Strong did an interesting thing. He leaned down, reached into the cup, picked up the ball and tossed it into the creek. Now the media went crazy. With cameras on him and microphones they asked him, “Why did you do that? Why didn’t you keep it? You could have left it to your grandchildren.” I love his response. “I certainly hope that when I’m gone I have something better than a golf ball to leave more to my grandchildren.” It’s called a legacy. Webster defines it as an inheritance, something that is a gift from the past.
Abraham is one of greatest men we meet in the OT, really in the entire Bible. He is a hero in the faith and it is for many reasons …. One of those being for the legacy he left to his children. Now your response might be well what in the world does that have to do with me? But whether you realize it or not, Abraham is your father. In Genesis 22 we find these words ... v. 15-17. You and I are one of those stars, one of those grains of sand; Abraham is a spiritual father to all believers. And he leaves a legacy to each of us, not just to the men here today but to all of us.
Now I assume that you recall the story of Abraham and Sara and the birth of their son, Isaac. God had promised that despite their old age that Sara would conceive and bear a son. So when Abraham was 100 and Sara was 90 their son was born. It was a miracle of course and they named him Isaac which means “laughter.” Now they named him “laughter” for a couple of reasons. First of all it was funny to think that Sara could have a child at this time in her life. But they also named him “laughter” because of the joy he had brought into their lives. They had been childless for all of these years and now God has blessed them with a son.
At the time of this event, Isaac was about 12 years of age. God appears to Abraham and says, “I want to take your son and offer him as a sacrifice on this mountain.” I cannot begin to imagine how Abraham felt inside when God asked him to do that. Vv. 3-5. Then in Vv. 6-7. This must have been one of the most difficult moments in Abraham’s life. If you can picture it, his son carrying the wood that was going to be used to start the fire that would consume his son’s body and Isaac looks up and says “daddy we have the wood, we have the fire; but where is the sacrifice?” Abraham answered, v. 8.
1. Life is often like a classroom. And in a classroom there will be tests. V. 1 says God tested Abraham. It wasn’t a test so that God could find out if Abraham had enough faith and devotion to Him. God already knew that Abraham was devoted. But Abraham needed to see it. You see we never really know for sure what we are capable of, how we will react, how tall we will stand or how faithful we will really be until a moment of crisis arrives. We may be able to talk a good talk, put on a good front but when the crisis arrives how we handle it will show our level of faithfulness. So God gives this command so that Abraham will have to examine his heart and decide what his priorities really are.
For me this is one of those difficult passages of scripture where we really question God if we don’t look at this carefully. In some ways it reminds me of the story of the rich young ruler who seemed to have everything. Wealth, youth, power and he came to Jesus and said “Good Master, what I must do to get eternal life?” Jesus said (1) obey the commandments. He says Jesus I’ve done that. He says well one more thing. (2) Sell everything you have, give the money to the poor and come and follow me. Scripture says he then became sad because he had a lot of money.
There are plenty of men and women who come to Christ in the NT who were never required to give away everything they had. That’s why I think this was simply a test. The rich young ruler, if he had passed the test God would show/know that he truly had a heart for God. If he said OK I can picture Jesus saying... you passed the test. Keep it. And I believe that is what we see here with Abraham. Would God really want him to sacrifice his son to prove his faithfulness? I don’t think so but he would want to see if He is willing. You see Abraham was really being asked a critical question and here it is ... “Do you love Isaac more than you love me?” God doesn’t want us to love our children less than we already do, he just wants us to love Him more. There is a teaching here and this is it. Our love for God must take priority over our love for other people, even our family. We are to love God more than anything or anyone.