Summary: the offering of Isaac and what steps are revealed in Abraham become Spiritually Great
Intro: hearing Michael Jordan’s acceptance speech into the Basketball Hall of Fame made me realize his greatness was in his desire to be great. Every aspect of his life was moving toward greatness. There was never a doubt he would arrive at the goal, because his movement was constantly going in that direction.
In Genesis 22:1-18 we see Abraham moving from the promise of greatness, to the place of greatness.
The Place of Spiritual Greatness
• Most people have a longing within them to do something great in their lifetime. Being the best in a sport, winning a contest or competition, achieving financial goals or academic excellence. Abraham came to the place of Spiritual greatness, not as a goal, but an outcome of a life surrendered to God. Here are the keys in this story:
I. Instance Obedience—verse 3—he rose up early—after God asked Abraham to offer up Isaac, he didn’t rationalize, he didn’t debate God’s will, he instantly obeyed.
• We will never accomplish anything great for God if we don’t walk in complete obedience to His will. God doesn’t owe us an explanation on everything, we are to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding.
• Delay is the devil’s delight— Jesus said, follow me, they dropped everything and followed—just that simple.
II. Godly Fear—v.12 –for now I know that thou fearest God
• Is this the second key to spiritual greatness—fearing God. Why would this play such an important role in the story? It is because of the lack of fear, we do our own thing, we go our own way. It is when we fear God, that we begin to have true wisdom. Abraham did what He was told to do, because it was God who told Him to do it. Faith is believing that God is better at directing our lives then we are, so even if we don’t understand the plans, we follow the instructions.
III. Complete Surrender—12c-seeing thou hast not withheld thy Son.
• There is one thing that must be mentioned, Abraham could have said, no way. God didn’t make Abraham do this, He gave the command, and Abraham did the rest.
• Isaac was Abraham’s joy, that’s what his name meant, but God was Abraham’s greatest joy. Until we get to the place where obeying God is our chief joy, we will not arrive at the place with Faithful Abraham.
IV. Total Sacrifice—12d- thine only son from me.
• This really struck me—Abraham wasn’t just doing this to prove his faith, or pass a test, He was offering his only son as a sacrifice to God. He was offering the thing dearest to him.
• Offering the thing dearest to you is the price for spiritual power with God. We can all serve God, but hold on to some things we are unwilling to give to God.
• between promise and blessing—v.16-because you have done this thing—God had already made the promise to Abraham when he was told about the son of promise. But before the blessing was pronounced over him, he had to follow these steps. God has made a lot of promises over people throughout history, some have never arrived at the promise, because they were unwilling to take the steps to get there.
Close: years ago in Maine there was this old cabin next to the pond with a bunch of junk in it. One day a few of us went inside to do some exploring. There was an old cabinet with a bunch of drawers full of stamps. We looked at these stamps and they were all old, 1910, 20’s, 30’s – we just grabbed handfuls of them and threw them at each other. Years later I thought about those stamps wondering if the might be valuable. Going back to Maine on a trip I found out the place had been burned down as a safety hazard. I let those stamps slip through my hands.
I think a lot of us have let things slip through our hands. Like Spiritual Greatness with God. He gives us so many opportunities, but we are unwilling to pay the price. Today, I want to encourage you, along with myself—give everything to God, so that God can give everything to you.