Summary: Hesitation often proves disastrous, but Abraham shows us how to "take now" in responding with obedience to God.
How many times a day do you receive the response, “Just a minute”? Perhaps you’ve asked your children to wash up and come to the dinner table or asked your spouse to lend you a hand or asked your mom or dad to read you a book or help with your homework. Many times we receive “Just a minute,” instead of an immediate “Yes mam,” or “I’m coming.”
In situations such as these, we may be in the middle of something that we want to finish, or we may not want to do what’s being asked of us, or we may simply be a natural procrastinator. There are times where that’s okay and no harm is done, but there are other times where hesitation is not so good.
Why do we hesitate, for there are times when hesitation proves disastrous? When we hesitate, we delay momentarily, we hold back because of doubt or indecision. If a base runner hesitates when stealing a base in a baseball game, he’s out. If a quarterback hesitates in delivering a pass, he’s usually intercepted or sacked. If policemen, firefighters, or doctors are hesitant in their response, lives can be lost. Hesitation is rooted in fear and indecision.
Some folk would say, “I’m not hesitant, I’m just careful,” but hesitation is quite different from being careful. Being careful is an indication that we’re working through the process, remaining true to our training, beliefs, or faith. Base runners and quarterbacks, firefighters and doctors, they’re careful in their study. They’re careful in their practice. They’re careful in the development of their game plan, so that game time does not result in hesitation, but in response.
Being careful is an indication that we’ve committed ourselves to a process of faith and belief that prepares us to respond instinctively out of obedience and trust, while hesitation is a sign of indecision, an indication that we’re holding back, reluctant in what we’re doing or being asked to do, unwilling or unable to commit, because of lack of training or faith. Hesitation is rooted in fear.
In this morning’s scripture, Abraham is far from hesitant. As a father, I can only imagine what must’ve been running through his mind when he was asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac. He didn’t hesitate because his training and his faith in God had prepared him to respond, not hesitate.
The New King James Version translates God’s imperative as, “Take now your son, Isaac, whom you love.” Take now. Abraham responds; no hesitation. What is God asking you to “Take now?” Where is God asking you to respond and not hesitate?
The truth is that we’re our own worst enemy when it comes to “Take Now,” and far too often, it’s in the relationships with those closest to us that we refuse to “Take now,” which makes those relationships far less than what they’re intended to be. We hold back, we’re hesitant when it comes to our relationships with our spouses, our children, and our parents, because we’re afraid. We’re afraid of rejection, so we hold back. We’re afraid of separation, so we hesitate. We’re afraid that if someone gets too close, even our own family, they might actually see who we are, and we’re scared to let someone get that close.