TEXT: Genesis, Chapter 22
PROPOSITION: God will send things into our lives from time to time that are designed to test our level of commitment to Him.
INTERROGATIVE SENTENCE: What thing(s) in your life might hold you back from laying it all on the line for God? What things are you unwilling to lay down if He asked you to?
1. God asked Abraham to sacrifice the thing that meant the most to him in life. Genesis 22:2
God wants us to prove how serious we are about serving him. He will usually cut to the chase. Like the rich young ruler, he knows the “treasures of our hearts.” “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” – Matthew 6:21
Is there something in this life that you love more than God? The true test to answer such a question is, “What if He asked you to lay it on the altar?” Do you love Him enough to say, “Yes, Lord.”?
2. Even though God asked a very difficult thing, Abraham simply obeyed. Genesis 22:3
There is no evidence from scripture that Abraham even argued with God. The more we think about what God asks us to do, the more we are inclined to make excuses. When God asks, act. Don’t argue. Don’t try to figure it out. Don’t try to come up with a better alternative. Just obey.
Is there something you know God wants you to give up, but instead you’re arguing with Him over it? Don’t argue, act. Do it right away.
Great faith does not mean we don’t struggle. If you don’t think Abraham was wrestling with himself inside over this decision, you’re nuts!! I’m sure he fought back the tears (unsuccessfully) all the way. But, although God was asking him to do something that seemed contrary to his nature, Abraham never let go of his belief in who God was. Compassionate. Faithful. All-powerful. If God had the power to give him this son (in his old age), God had the power to raise him from the dead!
Illustr. - Example of 3 Hebrew children
Do you have the faith to trust in God even when it doesn’t make sense? Will you trust him “in the dark?”
4. Abraham valued the blessing of God more than anything else in his life. Genesis 22:9-12
We arrange all our “things” and then ask God to bless them. Abraham sought God’s blessing first and God blessed him with good things. Don’t say, “God bless what I’m doing.” Pray, “God help me to do what you’re blessing!”
If you value something else more than God’s blessing in your life, then you can be “bought.”
Esau sold his birthright for a lousy bowl of soup because at a time of weakness, he did not value what God had in store for Him. The devil will always dangle “carrots of compromise” in front of us. Are you convinced in what you believe or are God’s blessings on your life for sale? At what point would you be willing to “sell out” your faith?
5. Abraham came back down off the mountain closer to God than he had ever been in his life. Why? Because he had laid it all on the altar. He gave everything to God. Genesis 22:12
You cannot believe - cannot even begin to imagine - what it will be like if God has all of you. God invites us all to “the next level”, but only a few will have the faith to accept the invitation.
We can measure how close we are to God by the number of things we withhold (or hold back) from Him. Do you want to feel spiritually rich? Do you want to walk with God on another level? Then be willing to “lay it all on the altar.”
6. If we will trust him enough to give everything to him, God will always replace whatever we’re holding onto with a better alternative. Genesis 22:13-14.
“The Lord will provide (all you needs according to his riches in C. Jesus.)”
If God didn’t give it to you then He’s got something better! Refuse cheap worldly counterfeits! Lay it all on the altar! Accept nothing but God’s best for your life. Do you dare trust Him completely? Do you dare let God stretch your faith and take you to places you’ve never been before? Do you have the guts to defy the cultural mindset around you that says, “Live for the moment! If it feels good do it! You’ve got a right to have it all!” and instead say, “If it’s not what God wants I won’t do it because He is my life/my treasure/my greatest possession?”