My Verse

Isaiah 43:1

"But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Isreal, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!"

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sacrifice: Abraham and Isaac

The story of Abraham is a story of patience (and impatience), waiting for the fullfillment of God's promises. We see in Genesis 15 the beginning of a promise, and the faith that Abraham had in God, that He would bring that promise.

Gen 15:4-5
Then the word of the LORD came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir." He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

But Abraham would have to wait many years before he ever saw that promise fullfilled. Because God is so faithful, He continues to remind him of His promise, and that some day he will be the "father of many nations". Can you imagine the joy he felt when Sarah finally gave birth to Isaac? And how old were they? Over 100 years of age, and we can't even wait 30 minutes for our food.

Now skip forward to Genesis 22, "Some time later, God tested Abraham..." And we all know how it goes from here. God tells Abraham to give Him his only son, his "promise", and Abraham takes Isaac to the alter, lays the wood on the alter and then places Isaac bound atop the wood. He takes the knife and is prepared to follow through with the sacrifice, when he is suddenly stopped by "the angel of the Lord" telling him that He knows Abraham fears the Lord, and would not withhold anything, not even his son.

What an amazing show of obediance. I tell God continually, "I will lay it down on the alter," in songs, in prayer, in action. I am so willing to lay [it] on the alter. But today, what do I hear as I am once again singing of laying my life on the alter? "Is that enough?"

What? God I don't get what Your saying. I am here, and I want to honor You, by laying everything on the alter. And then He reminded of Abraham. "It" is my past, my present, the future, worry and stress, even the promises He has made anything that I have placed ahead of God. I sing of surrender, but I only want to give what is easy to let go of. I sing that I love God more than anything, but I am unwilling to go any farther than laying "it" on the alter.

Abraham was ready to go all the way. He had the wood, the fire, and the knife and everything that it would require for him to sacrifice his son, his promise. He didn't stop at just laying Isaac on the alter, but I do. I stop, waiting for the "angel of the Lord" to let me know I have gone far enough, and that I really don't have to go through with it. And today, God was calling me out.

God, I don't want to just lay my life at the alter. I don't want to stop at laying down, anymore. But am I really able to sacrifice, ready to sacrifice? Can I take a long awaited promise and really give it up? God if that is what you are calling me to do, then I want to do it. I want to do nothing more than bring You glory. To love You with all that I am. To give You everything.

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