“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” ~ Genesis 22:1-2
Father in the name of Jesus I come to You asking You to reveal to me Your plan and pathway for my life. I pray that You open my heart, ears, eyes and mind to what You desire to reveal to me through this blog. Holy Spirit, please speak to me and illuminate the text. Help me to see and do what Your full and perfect will is for my life and I thank You for the grace and Your ability to answer this prayer, not only for me, but also my family and friends in Jesus name. AMEN!
When it comes to living like Christ we are faced with many temptations, trials, persecutions, plots of the enemy and we can tend to wonder where God is in all of that. We look at our life and we are not always pleased with where we are and thank God we are not where we were, but we still wonder deep inside “why am I just here, isn’t there more?” We are tempted often to look at our situation and inwardly complain but outwardly give praise to God when face to face with other people. We look at the beauty, majesty and power of God and know God can turn situations around, but we don’t understand why we haven’t received what we desire of The LORD.
Abraham was a man of faith, a man of devotion, loyalty and love for God. When we read about the life of Abraham, we see someone who was diligent in obeying God, but one who often fell short of the glory of God as we all do. (Romans 3:23) In the text of Genesis 22 there are many valuable insights into how it is to have a true, genuine and realistic walk with God. However, we see something that is strange, we might even say sadistic of God. God asking someone to sacrifice his only son? What’s the purpose of God asking for that? In the times of the Old Testament the children of Israel often committed spiritual adultery and idolatry by leaving God to serve false gods, one of them being Molech, a god that required a blood sacrifice by way of burning the persons child(ren). It is obviously unlike God to compare Himself to any false god or even be associated with the practice of demonic worship and idolatry. Yet, we see God telling Abraham to do something that seemed completely irrational.
God tells Abraham to sacrifice his only son who he loved dearly. To understand the love and value of his son Isaac, we have to remember Isaac was a promised son, a son that was going to carry on the blessing of Abraham to all generations and continue the linage of the Messiah, Jesus the Christ. Abraham wasn’t given this child immediately; often with the blessings of God we find the prerequisite is a time and season of waiting. When we think of waiting we hope for a month or two, possibly and at the most six months, but Abraham waited a long time. Abraham was actually physically unable to produce a child, he was a hundred years old, but God specializes in the miraculous. In the process of time God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son. It’s valuable to know that this is the first time the word “love” is mentioned in the Bible. God makes no mistake in allowing the word “love” to be seen, showing the depth and greatness of the sacrifice.
This passage of the Word of God is extremely relevant to the work of God in our life. God often requires us to do things that are unseemly, something that we don’t desire or want, and something we don’t expect. We live in a day and age where we are taught that the blessing is on the way, God wants to give you everything you want, and the truth is, God doesn’t want to give you everything you want, God wants you to give Him everything you want, a beautiful sacrifice. God demands of us our love, devotion and time. Often when things begin to get above God in our life, God requires, strives and wrestles with us to lay it on the altar of sacrifice as a burnt offering. While there are many specifics in this text, I will mainly touch on our need for sacrifice as we walk with God.
Throughout our walk with God we are compelled by God to lay down something that we “love something that we greatly desire, want and would almost do ridiculous things for. Sometimes in order to get those things we abandon God, we forsake the God of our salvation. However, through time we finally come face to face with the demand of God “sacrifice the thing you love.” Sometimes the hardest thing to do isn’t always to sacrifice it, but to wonder “why?” Why do I have to let go of wanting to Pastor a Church? Why do I have to let go of wanting to be married? Why do I have to let go of wanting to have a child or more children? Why do I have to let go of getting the new car, house, apartment or trailer. Why, Lord? Aren’t You the God of blessing? We often tend to rebel against God and still strive to get these things, inwardly knowing we have placed them above God, our greed, selfish nature and ignorance steps in and takes away our faith. Jesus said in His parable of the sower that when we hear the Word of God often something happens “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” (Mark 4:19) We are faced with God or the “thing” we want. What’s your choice today? Could God be speaking to you specifically through this about the “thing” you are supposed to let go of? Could God have supernaturally inspired and led you to find and search out this blog and it’s bringing you face to face with a decision to obey God and trust Him in a new way? We question God, “why Lord?” I don’t understand is a prayer that takes place when face to face with these things, but the Word of God tells us that “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 55:8)
Sometimes the things we desire begin to captivate our minds and souls, we wake up thinking about them, we do works for God thinking He will bless us with them, we look for them, strive to find them, save money, spend money and sometimes even give money with a false motive for God to give us millions of dollars in return. God will require you all the time in your walk with Him to sacrifice all the way the things you want. You have dreams, ambitions, plans, goals and desires and the truth is God wants you to lay every single one of those things on the altar of sacrifice. God wants a true sacrifice, not a laying on the altar, but keeping the “thing” first place in your heart. God wants all of you, He wants all of us. Jesus said the greatest commandment is “thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:30) So often we love our wants with all our heart, with all our soul, and with our entire mind and with all our strength, so a good godly sacrifice is what it takes to get rid of that. Surrender, that’s what it’s called. Surrendering things to God isn’t easy though, it requires often a lot of pain, pressure and dealings by the Holy Spirit. God wrestles with us to get rid of them, we know they are above God, but we try to conceal it in our hearts and thoughts, but nothing gets past God, the Bible says “thou understandest my thought afar off.” (Psalm 139:2) That’s one of the advantages of being God, you know everything and one of the hurts and pains of sacrifice is not knowing why. It’s important to understand first and foremost that God honors a godly and beautiful sacrifice, something that makes our devotion solely to The Lord and not ourselves.
Jesus was observing an offering one time and saw a widowed woman giving all she had, which wasn’t much, but Jesus said something very significant to us about her. While others were giving out of their great abundance and riches, not really sacrificing Jesus said “Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” (Mark 12:43-44) This is what God see’s when we give our dreams, hopes and ambitions to Him, He sees us giving our all. That’s what He wants, your all. He has a plan for your life, be aware and assured of that, but His plan is completely different from our plan. He has another way of blessing us, but it requires training us and the training of God isn’t always fun, it isn’t always easy, but it’s always valuable, important and purposeful; a knowledge of that will help you in your time of need.
Though there is much to say about this text, I will finish with my own testimony. Even tonight, October 18th 2012 I was face to face with giving up something I so eagerly wanted to do for God. It sounds strange, it’s for God, why give it up? I don’t know, but God does and I have to lay myself on the altar, trusting the wisdom, plan and purposes of God. I’ve had to face many times where I had to give “it” up, the thing I wanted so bad, I had to let go, it was an idol, it hindered Gods plan and work in and for my life. I’ve been face to face with my want for a wife and had to sacrifice it many times. I’ve found that I had to sacrifice ungodly music, rap to be exact, but that was well worth it, I can see the wisdom of God in that because of time. In due time I will understand why these things had to be, why God would allow such a thing to happen, why God would say “Adam, take now your wants and desires and offer them as a burnt offering.”
When God steps into your life in a new way, He often requires a sacrifice and to go to the next level in your faith and spiritual maturity, it’s required of you to let something go. It seems one of the hardest things for me to accept was the fact that I knew God could give me those things, easily. It’s times like these where we have to yield to the plan of God not always knowing the purpose and plan of God, but assured that there is a plan that God has formulated in His mind. It’s times like these where we have to remember the promises of God and cling to them. God has a plan for your life, God has a purpose for your life, and God has a reason for your life. You were born in a specific place, a specific time, a specific location and to a specific family, there’s a real reason for all of that. In order to reach them, to change the world, to change the nation, to change the generation, we have to give up ourselves to God. In the time when you are faced with the beautiful sacrifice remember in order to be like Christ, we have to be willing to give up things, let go of things and selflessly sacrifice things, it just so happens to be your greatest wants and desires. Remember this, God loves you and God has a plan. God bless you.
Father in Jesus name, I pray that You help me. Lord, help me to fulfill Your will. Lord, help me to do Your will, willingly and with joy. Lord, help me to sacrifice the things You want me to sacrifice and fully place myself on the altar. Lord, help me to offer myself as a complete and living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to You which is the reasonable and logical thing to do. Lord, show me how to let go and let me be free to serve and love You with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. Teach me and give me the grace to love You and other, please. Help me to serve with passion, purpose and diligence. Lord, let me be Your witness that You change lives and free people from the strongest wants and addictions. Lord, set me free from captivity of self and shame and I thank You in the name of Jesus for Your ability and my inability, fill me with Your Spirit please now by faith. Thank You Lord for Your sacrifice, may mine be similar, but not greater in the name of Jesus and for Jesus! AMEN!