This post is part of the Abraham: Questing with God series. Abraham is a touchstone for us – the original pattern of faith. What’s possible in your life?
God has created a world filled with many beautiful things for us to enjoy. His heart is to bless us.
Yet, He rightfully insists He remain supreme over all creation, including the things He designed for our pleasure. Truly, He is our supreme joy.
“Go and sacrifice your son as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.”
This is all for His supreme glory and story, as well as our good — His highest thoughts and designs for our life.
Even so, what God asked Abraham to do will seem scandalous to many …
“Abraham, offer your son to me as a sacrifice.”
Think of it … after a 25 year odyssey of faith, Abraham and Sarah’s lives were filled with the joy of a fulfilled promise.
The promise was more than the birth of Issac. Within the son was all God promised to Abraham … You’re descendants will be as the stars in the sky. In you all the families of the earth will be blessed.
Indeed, the promised Messiah was contained within the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham.
And yet when Issac was an emerging young man, God asked Abraham to climb a mountain and sacrifice his son as a burnt offering.
By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son–blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.
This is the last thing any healthy parent would do. I think we could say nearly all parents would never do it — the instinct of a parent would be to die first.
But Abraham was extraordinary in his quest to follow God.
Yieldedness breaks the stranglehold of possessiveness
God wants to bless our lives. He created the Garden of Eden and all things for our enjoyment before He created Adam and Eve.
Sin has introduced an obsessive possessiveness, a covetousness within the human nature. We envy. We lust. We idolize …
It’s really the heart sentiment of an idolater if we’re honest.
There are even strains of Christianity, especially in America and the West, which value “things” too much … if we have faith, we can wildly prosper.
Again, God’s heart is to meet our needs and more — God the Father desires that His sons and daughters enjoy life.
Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life, and have it even more abundantly … If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will My Father give good things to those who ask Him?”
But Abraham shows us what it takes to experience God’s highest thoughts and dreams for our lives.
The “monstrous substitution”
The value we place on God must so far exceed the things He has created, that we would be willing to lay it all down … even promises of God we have realized have to be yielded to His supremacy.
This is an important part of what it means to walk in the steps of Abraham, our model of faith.
The roots of our hearts have grown down into things, and we dare not pull up one rootlet lest we die. Things have become necessary to us, a development never originally intended. God’s gifts now take the place of God, and the whole course of nature is upset by the monstrous substitution. –A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God
Abraham was willing to follow through and offer his son back to God. The New Testament tells us Abraham simply concluded God would raise Issac to life again! See Hebrews 11:17-19.
In God’s mind, Abraham received Issac back from the dead — a type of the Father resurrecting Christ from the dead.
Let’s bottom line this …
Nothing in creation can come before our Creator.
This includes the beautiful promises he fulfills in our lives. Even the promises we experience for His greater purpose.
As we hold everything with open hands, we can truly enjoy what God has created. It’s a secret to release a life of true purpose (living with accuracy) and authentic enjoyment.
Do you find this account of God testing Abraham to be offensive — even scandalous? Has God asked you to yield something back to Him, even wonderful promises He has fulfilled? Are you in this type of season right now in your journey?
See the entire Abraham: Questing With God series. Abraham is a touchstone for us – the original pattern of faith. What’s possible in your life?
photo credit: markb120 (Creative Commons)