Jessica Albritton, NextGen Minister LHBC
3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.”6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together.7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. 9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
Growing up I was always the kid asking the why questions. Mom or dad would ask me to do something and I just wanted to know why. One of the most frustrating things my parents ever told me was “because I said so.” I often tried to convince myself that I deserved to know the reasoning, but my parents didn’t see it that way. When I questioned my parents’ instructions it came across as distrust and intentional disrespect. My parents often asked me to do a lot of things as a child I didn’t understand but as I’ve grown older I’ve come to realize they were a lot smarter than I often gave them credit for. I knew I could trust my parents, but at the moment it was hard to respond in complete obedience when I couldn’t see the full picture.
I’ll be honest, the story of Abraham and Isaac is jarring, and I believe God intended it to be. I can’t help but wonder what Abraham was thinking in Genesis chapter 22. He had heard clearly from God to sacrifice his son Isaac, the son that was given to him to fulfill the promise of descendants. Abraham had walked with God faithfully, he knew the voice of God, he knew God was trustworthy, yet here he finds himself being commanded to do what seems impossible. Take his son, the one he had waited on his whole life, the one God promised him, and sacrifice him on the altar. God had made a covenant with Abraham to give him descendant’s, and Isaac was at the center of it, but how will defendants come through Isaac if he dies? In verse 5 Abraham tells the young men that had come with them to stay with the donkey while he and his son went to worship and after they would both return. Why would Abraham insinuate they would both return if he was about to kill Isaac? Now we know that God did not let Abraham go through with the sacrifice of Isaac but at the time Abraham didn’t. God stopped him only seconds before and provided a ram.
It doesn’t state it in Genesis 22 but we find in Hebrews 11:19 that Abraham reasoned that God would raise Isaac from the dead. Abraham’s faith in God went beyond surface level trust, Abraham believed God could do the impossible. When it comes to the Lord often He asks His children to do things we don’t quite understand, things that don’t totally make sense. In those times we can respond in two ways, trust that He knows best, or question Him.
God’s word tells us in Romans He will work all things together for good, In Isaiah scripture tells us those who put their hope in the Lord will have renewed strength. 1 John tells us that if we confess our sins He is faithful to forgive. Deuteronomy promises that the Lord goes before us and will never leave us. Mark reminds believers that the Lord answers prayers. Philippians states that the Lord will supply all our needs. Psalms reminds us that the Lord delivers us from trouble.
When we intimately know God as a loving heavenly father who cares for His children we can surrender fully to him. I have heard it said the opposite of faith is not doubt, its disobedience. When we have faith in God we obey Him, even when we don’t fully know what the outcome will look like. Abraham didn’t know why God asked him to sacrifice Isaac but he had faith in a God that he trusted. Our faith in God can help us to obey Him even when we are given difficult commands. God’s goal is to bring each of us to the point of ultimate surrender, to the place where even when we don’t fully understand we can still trust Him. What difficult thing is God calling you to do? What is He calling you to surrender to Him? Do you trust that He is faithful?
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Heavenly Father, you are trustworthy even when I don’t see the full picture. Help me to respond in obedience to you even when it’s hard. When difficult commands come help me to remember your promises! In Jesus name, amen!
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.