Saturday, February 27, 2010

Trust and Obey

I've been studying the life of Abraham and specifically God's covenant with him. In Genesis 15 God promises Abram that he will have an heir and his descendants will be as numerous as the stars. Again in Genesis 17 God confirms this covenant and changes Abram's name to Abraham, father of many. Years go by before Isaac, Abraham's son, is actually born. Then when Isaac is still a boy, God asked Abraham to sacrifice him as a burnt offering. Abraham obeys.

The story is found in Genesis 22. Abraham and Isaac are going to make the sacrifice, carrying the wood, fire and a knife. Ironically we only see Isaac ask one question during their walk up the mountain. Isaac asks, "Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" Abraham assures him that God himself will provide the lamb. So we know now that Isaac doesn't have a clue that he's the sacrifice; he believes his father. Abraham sets up the altar, binds Isaac up and lays him on it. Just as he is about to slay Isaac, an angel of the Lord stops him. Abraham is blessed because he fears the Lord; he was willing to give up his own son.

This whole story makes me ask a lot of questions. Like how do you find the strength to walk up a mountain knowing that you're going to sacrifice your son, the only son you have? How does Abraham reconcile this request with God's promise that he will have numerous descendants? How does Isaac feel when he realizes he's the burnt offering? What must he think when Abraham, his father, is about to kill him? Further when Isaac hears the angel commend Abraham's obedience, what must that do for his faith?

The answer for Abraham is found in the beginning of this story. Genesis 15:6 says, "Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness." You see Abraham knew what God promised- numerous descendants. He didn't know how and surely it didn't make sense that his one son would be taken away. But he believed God.

We're often asked to make sacrifices; granted it's usually on a much smaller scale! Maybe it's time, resources or simply the way we thought something should work out. The question is do we believe God? Do we trust Him enough to gather our supplies, walk the path, and leave the rest to Him?

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