Genesis 22:5-8 (NLT)
“Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.” So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together, Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” “God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together.
You have wood that has been prepared for the altar of sacrifice. You have a knife to make the sacrifice. You are going to the place of sacrifice. All that you have to sacrifice is your son, your only son who represents the greatest promise that the Lord God ever made you. Would you go? Abraham was a righteous man. He was not known to be righteous for the things that he had done but simply for his faith in God the Father. How could anyone question the faith of Abraham when considering this account? When faced with such a choice, would you still go? It is not enough to prepare our life for presentation to God by cleaning up our act because He sees beneath the surface to the contents of our heart. He is looking for integrity and sincere faith that allows us to trust God when it seems that we are about to lose everything. It is not enough to have everything you need to make a sacrifice or even willingness to approach the altar of God no matter what it takes to get there. It is that pivotal moment in time when the Lord requires your “everything” that counts. When God calls you to sacrifice that which is most precious will you still choose to meet Him in that place? If all you had was wood, a knife and your promise would you still go?
Genesis 22:2 (NLT)
“Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.”
God did not wake me up this morning and instruct me to go and sacrifice any of my precious children. Thank you, Jesus! Jesus sacrificed His Life so that my children could be saved, healed, set free, and delivered from all sin and shame. However, there are times in life when I believe that God requires us to bring our loved ones or any other promise that we hold dear before Him. He is looking for love. The Lord sees within our heart and how much we love our stuff including people and things. It is revealed in the prayer life of many people who do not communicate with God but rather list their demands. God looks inside our heart to see what our personal motives of surrender are. If we are weak, weary and hungry, then most certainly we will seek His Refuge, Rest and Restoration. But when we are strong, will we still come? When we are broken, suffering and devastated, then we want Him to be our Healer, Deliverer and Savior that is until we are all patched up and head back into the world. The Lord is after more than a superficial relationship like so-called religion where you scratch His Back and He will scratch yours. God is not some heavenly contact as we view many people in the world, we offer Him as little as we can to get as much as we can. When the moment comes when there is nothing left but you and your promise, when the Lord says come to the place of sacrifice, will you go? This is not a matter of pure will, it requires immediate inspection of our heart. We must decide if we still go when God says, “Come!”
Proverbs 16:1-3 (NLT)
We can make our own plans, but the LORD gives the right answer. People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives. Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.
I am quite sure that once Isaac arrived, Abraham was a content man. I have no doubt that he praise God for what He had done by giving him this boy even in such advanced age. All of Abraham’s hopes and dreams would be fulfilled in this young man, he just knew it. Then he got the call, “Take your son, your only son – yes Isaac whom you love so much…” The call was undeniable and unmistakable. God was not asking for Ishmael but Isaac. He was clear. I am quite certain that Abraham had planned the rest of days out after his son arrived. He had a long list of things to do compiled while he waited and trusted the Lord for the boy. I do not believe that hauling him up a mountain, tying him on a stack of wood, raising a knife over him ready to kill him and burn his body as a sacrifice to the Lord was on that bucket list. The Lord was examining Abraham’s heart to be certain that his righteousness was intact and faith still strong despite the arrival of his promise. It is impossible to please the Lord without faith, but sometimes faith is difficult to secure in our season of prosperity. What was the intent of Abraham? Would he still go?
Genesis 22:3-4 (NLT)
The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.
Abraham did not hesitate to trust the Lord and got up early the next morning. Are you ready to face today? Faith is a requirement. Abraham still had faith in God. His faith was not exhausted waiting and watching for Isaac to come. I believe at this point this is where Abraham was responding by faith to what he knew about God not because he was certain of where God was going with this. Faith is absolutely necessary to trust God. But confident hope is what we step out in faith to walk on. Faith without works is useless. (James 2:22-24) Our faith in God is evidenced by what we do. Abraham prepared to make a sacrifice without a lamb and only his promise to offer. He saddled the donkey to prepare for the journey. He chopped the wood to get ready to make a burnt offering to the Lord and Abraham left his home (his personal comfort zone) to go where God told him to go to make his sacrifice. Abraham looked up and saw it in the distance. The journey of faith our family has been on for the last two years has been a very long one. I have thought about Abraham and Isaac on that day many times. The Lord seems to carry me back to the foot of the mountain every time my faith seems to waver or confident hope is lacking. He reminds me that we started this journey together and I still have His Promise that our son will live and not die. We have been tested in our belief not once but four separate times. Just when I think the journey is over, I look up and see the place in the distance realizing that God is not finished with me yet. I wonder if I am still up to this task of trusting and believing God. I have to. My promise is on the altar today. I must be prepared to make the sacrifice to see the Glory of God!
Genesis 22:9-11 (NLT)
When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. At that moment the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!”
Many times along the way, I have asked the Lord, “Are we there yet?” So many times in fact, that He doesn’t answer just keeps moving in our life. Our son has been healed completely of cancer four separate times. As of today, there is no evidence of the disease in his body that is detectable. But the doctors are concerned that there are dormant cells just waiting for the chemotherapy to leave his system so they can come raging back. Ok, maybe I am chuckling a bit right now as I realize that is how sin works. It lays dormant in our heart until we get over this “God Thing” or allow our love to grow a bit cold so when we hit “lukewarm” it can rise up and take over our unsuspecting heart once more. The doctors told us that it was impossible for the cancer to be gone in just four cycles of the latest regimen but it was gone. We praise God for His Early Intervention. But now we are faced with the greatest challenge of all! Each time that he has been treated, there was an active threat in his life. Now it will require every ounce of faith and trust in God to potentially submit his body to a bone marrow transplant. A procedure where they bring him close to the point of death to infuse healthy cells to bring him back to life. I cry out to God and He is asking the same question that He has from the beginning, “Do you trust me?” My weak whisper is “Yes”. What He is waiting for is “Here I am”? Yes, doesn’t mean my feet are moving it means only that I hear Him. “Here I am” is a presentation of all that I am ready to move on His Command!
Jeremiah 17:7-10 (NLT)
“But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”
God loves you. He loves me. He has more than proven His Great Love in the sacrifice of His Only Son, Jesus Christ. Ha! Sounds familiar. God carried out the task that He asked of Abraham. He provide the ultimate sacrifice for the sin of all mankind making God totally accessible to His People once more. In His Presence is blessings and promises that we have never even thought of or imagined for our life. If God can get us to move there, and remain there by faith becoming righteous then we will have it all. We must learn to trust the Lord. We must learn to have hope and confidence in His Word, Will and Way. He will do whatever it takes to make us cling to Him not as punishment but to promote and prosper our faith to a level of receivership. But the human heart is quite deceitful. Sometimes we think we are faith filled and trusting the Lord but our motives and intent are all wrong. The Lord searches our hearts and examines our motives. He wants to bless us and prosper us so He reveals our insufficiencies of faith not for His Benefit but our own. God is waiting at the altar for you. Think about it. The wood that Abraham chopped down were grown by God in advance for such a time as this to provide what was needed for Abraham to be faithful. God goes before us to prepare us for these difficult times when He is ready to elevate our faith to a new level. He is calling each of us to the mountain of sacrifice. You know what He is asking you to bring…will you still go? “I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there. You know I have done all this with good motives, and I have watched your people offer their gifts willingly and joyously. O LORD, the God of our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, make your people always want to obey you. See to it that their love for you never changes.” (I Chronicles 29:17-18)
Romans 4:20-25 (NLT)
Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.
Standing at the foot of my mountain, my heart is yelling at it to get out of the way. But my spirit tells me that I must walk up this mountain to meet the Lord. The Lord has spoken to me many times in the course of my life. I know His Voice. I know when I have heard from God and when He has remained silent. It is time to keep walking by faith and not by sight. He has not told me to put down the knife yet as He keeps cutting away that those things that keep me from the kind of faith that leads to righteousness. He is cutting away the flesh of my heart to get to its core. (Romans 4:9-11) This has nothing to do with religion. It is not about the spiritual doctrine that I follow. My Christians friends do not offer the hope and encouragement that I need. Nobody understands the breaking of my heart…except My God! He called me to this place because He loves me. My faith must be stronger. I cannot waver if I want to see the Glory of God. It is easy to forget sometimes what this race of faith is all about. The great cloud of witness don’t seem to offer the comfort they once did. They are forgotten in a dusty leather-bound book on a shelf. God knew this would happen so He sent us son. His Only Son to die a horrific death to set us free from the captivity that keeps us from all of God’s Promises by faith. But His Sacrifice is no good, if we refuse to answer His Call. He is calling us today to a place of sacrifice. He gave you the wood. You have the knife. He prepared the place and told you to go. All you have to give is your all and it is required. Will you still go? Will your faith take you to the Altar of God with nothing left to give but something that hurts? We must be fully convinced in our faith that God is able. Otherwise our life and our words are worth nothing! What is response to His Call today? Will you say as Abraham, “Here I am?”
Genesis 22:1 (NLT)
Sometime later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. “Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.”
Why? I have been asked this question a hundred times. I refuse to ask it of myself or my God. I have my answer and will give it you. God tested Abraham’s faith. He is testing mine. Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen. It is our assurance of things that we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1) Without it, I cannot please God. (Hebrews 11:6) If I am not willing to live by faith, then I will die forever one day. (James 2:26) But if I live by faith, I will live forever by believing and trusting God no matter how many days that I spend on this earth! God wants me to know if my faith is authentic so He calls to me in my comfort zone to come to the altar of sacrifice and bring all that I am. (2 Corinthians 13:5) God doesn’t want to take back His Promise, but rather give me forever! It is for this reason alone that I will still come!
I Peter 1:6-8 (NLT)
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.