Summary: In a society that makes choices based on feelings we need, now, more than ever before to return to our biblical principles. Our situations don’t dictate our decisions, our principles do!
How many of you would agree this morning that we live in a society that basis’ it’s decisions predominantly on feelings or emotions? Some of the most important choices that people make in a lifetime are being made on whether it feels good or not. For example, ‘I don’t feel happy in my marriage, I’ll get a divorce...’ or ‘I like this car, I know I shouldn’t buy it, but want it…’ or ‘I am going to sleep with this person because the moment feels right.’ This mentality has even crept into the church where people do or don’t do things in the church based on whether or not they ‘feel’ like doing it, even to the point of leaving and finding another church that makes them ‘feel’ better. We all know that it is hard to make the right choice in the heat of the moment. Now I am not going to stand up here and say that emotions and feelings are from the devil, in fact we were created to have them, enjoy them; we are emotional beings. Emotions enrich the human experience. Having said that we are not to be governed by our feelings, we are to be people of principle. Emotions change, principles don’t!
We meet up with Abraham after he has just experienced the fulfillment of a long awaited promise. Him and Sarah finally are given Isaac as was promised by God so many years before. Abraham’s love for Isaac would have grown with each passing day as Isaac grew. It was under these circumstances that God chooses to test the principles of his friend (Isaiah 41:8). Would Abraham still choose to act on his principles or on his feelings? What would you have done in his situation?
Principle of Trust (vs.1-2)
It’s interesting to me that the bible says that God was testing Abraham. Even though Abraham had done so many things already and proven himself to God to be faithful, God still was stretching and molding him. Imagine God comes to you and asks of you to give back to him this one prized possession that you had waited so long for. “Take your son, your only son – yes, Isaac, whom you love so much – and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering…” There was nothing reasonable or logical about this request except the fact that it is coming from God. In Abraham’s eyes that was enough, no matter what was asked for. There was a trust there that God knew what he was doing, even though Abraham couldn’t have understood why.
Imagine God asked you to give back to him the thing you love the most. Some would say, “Take anything God, but not this.” This would be where our emotions and our principles would come into conflict with each other. We know what we want to do in the flesh, but in principle we should trust God and know that He knows better than us in every situation because He is a wonderful and sovereign God. It’s easy to say you trust him, but with everything? Without reservation we must trust that God’s plans will always come to pass precisely when and how he intends them to. If God can hold the universe in place then He can certainly hold your life together, but more than that He has a greater purpose that we cannot often see. God can be trusted with our families, our lives and our hearts. The principle of trust will always be your best choice, so do you trust Him?
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who trust in him!
Principle of Obedience (vs.3-6)
Now saying that you trust God with everything is only part of the equation because the very next thing you have to do is act on that trust in obedience. The text doesn’t say Abraham went away for a few months and prayed about what God had said. It doesn’t say he went away and asked for the advice of his friends, it just says that, “the next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son Isaac.” Imagine having to go home that night and explain to Sarah what God wanted him to do. There was nothing else for Abraham to do other than to obey as soon as possible, no matter how difficult it would have been for him. God wanted to see if Abraham would keep being a man of principle even after receiving the blessings.
Without action our words mean very little and this is where the principle of obedience is tested. Are we ready to actually go through with what God calls us to do, no matter how difficult? Again emotions would temp us to do what is easy and selfish. When Donna and I were leaving our family at the airport in Montreal we were experiencing emotions we had never experienced before. The temptation would have been to tear up the tickets and stay with our family, but God was asking us to be obedient. Without wavering we must respond in obedience, regardless of our emotions, reason and logic. Acting in obedience is how we put legs on our beliefs and it is the only way to see God truly at work in your life.