Summary: Our most important task is to keep God as number one in our lives. Abraham was an example of one who accomplished this.
May 28, 2000 Exodus 20:1-3
Exodus 20:3 ¡V ¡§You must not have any other gods before or besides me.¡¨ Who would you say of all the persons spoken of in the Bible other than Jesus best lived out this commandment? Who kept God as the Number One ¡V the numero uno ¡V better than anyone else? Job comes to mind as a possibility. Even after he lost all 10 of his kids, all his possessions and was told by his wife to just quit on God and die, Job still worshipped God. Paul would be another candidate. He gave up everything that was important to him and was willing to endure any form and any level of suffering in order that new churches might be started and nurtured. Ruth would be in the running too. She left behind her family, friends, & future in order to serve a God whom she knew nothing about and enter a future that was filled with uncertainties. Or what about Mary, the mother of Jesus. When she was told that she was going to give birth to God¡¦s Son, she could have rebelled. But instead, she welcomed this life-altering privilege into her life. All of these, at one time in their life or another, gave evidence through their actions that God was the supreme focus of their life. He was not only the God of the universe, but He was God in their everyday lives. If we had the time this morning, we could take a look at each of these lives, and see how they showed their undivided commitment to God. But we don¡¦t have that much time, so we¡¦re only going to look at one life ¡V the life of Abraham. And I want us to focus on one single event that happened in Abraham¡¦s life. Abraham lived long before the Ten Commandments were ever given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. But he didn¡¦t need a commandment written in stone to know that God deserves and demands our complete undivided worship and commitment.
Abraham had a son. His name was Isaac which means ¡§laughter¡¨. Laughter had come into A¡¦s life when A. was 100 years old. Many years before, God had promised him a son, and just when Moses was about to give up on the promise, it happened just as God said it would happen. Where disappointment and frustration had filled Abraham and Sarah¡¦s hearts and home, now laughter was heard both from the child and from them. But this blessing of a child became a problem or at least a potential problem in Abraham¡¦s relationship with God. Since they had planned and prayed for this child for so long, now that he was finally here, he became the focus of everything that they did. The very gift that God had given now had the potential for stealing God¡¦s place in Abraham¡¦s life. So God sent a test to Abraham to see who was number one in Abraham¡¦s life ¡V was God #1, or was Isaac #1? This testing of Abraham is recorded in Genesis 22. One day, God came to A. and told him to take Isaac up onto Mt. Moriah and sacrifice him there. God was telling Abraham to kill his only son. At that point, Abraham had to make a choice. Who is more important to me ¡V God or my son? Early the next morning, Abraham got up and prepared everything for the journey to Mt. Moriah. In order for there to be a sacrifice, there had to be wood for the fire. A. got out his ax and chopped wood that would be placed underneath his son and which would be lit with the fire that would consume his son¡¦s body. With every swing of the ax, I imagine that there were a lot of thoughts that were going through his mind. Maybe he thought about the many memories that he and his son had already made and the laughter that Isaac had brought into the family ¡V laughter that would soon be gone. Maybe he thought about how he was going to be able to explain all this to Isaac¡¦s mother and what his devotion to God was going to cost her. One of the thoughts that might have been going through his head that certainly would have been going through mine is this [and this is the first point on your note sheet]:
1. What gives God the right to expect me to give 100% commitment to Him? What gives Him the right to tell me what to do?
That¡¦s the same question that the Israelites were probably asking themselves as God handed down those commandments for the first time. It¡¦s also the same question that most people ask themselves when they are faced with a decision that is going to force them to choose between what looks good for them and what God says is right. Why should I listen to God?