Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC

Genesis 22:1-3, 9-12
After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 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….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. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 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.”

When we come to Genesis chapter 22 a lot of life has passed by the great Patriarch of the faith, Abraham. God has told him he would be the father of a great nation and that in his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed speaking of the promised Messiah who would come from his posterity. Yahweh God told Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky and the grains of sand on the seashore. Scripture says Abraham believed what the Lord told him about the seed to come and it was credited to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). The real kicker in all this is that Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was barren. They just could not get pregnant, but don’t you know that what man calls impossible God calls possible! When Sarah was 90 and Abraham was 100 she conceived by the miraculous hand of God and gave birth to the chosen son and they named him Isaac. All was now right in the world, Abraham and Sarah had their chosen son, the one through whose lineage the Messiah would come, and now they could die and finish their last days in peace.

Now, enter scene two. Some years later, Isaac is now an older teenager, and he and his father are just minding their own business going about a normal day when the Lord gets Abraham’s attention. The Lord then asks Abraham to do something that no parent could ever even imagine, sacrifice his only son as an offering of worship.

What?! I can’t even dream of the anguish that was racing through Abraham’s heart. “Sacrifice Isaac, Lord this must be some kind of joke. He’s the chosen one, how else will You bring Your seed into the world if he’s gone?” What is so remarkable about this story is in the midst of all the wrestling, all the questions, and all the confusion, Abraham chooses to obey God. His was immediate obedience…he rose early the next morning and left. His was complete obedience….he went a three days’ journey and prepared Isaac for sacrifice. What a testimony! But it was all a test, and the Lord stepped in at the last minute and provided a true sacrifice.

The Lord tests His children, and He often tests us through the hardest circumstances and concerning the things dearest to our heart. He wants to know if we are willing to lay down those things which are nearest and dearest to us to express our love and devotion to Him. So, what’s your Isaac? What is the one thing or combination of things that you think you just cannot give up for God? What can you not even fathom doing without? What area of life can you not conceive having to totally rely on God? Lay it down. Trust God. The harder the test the better the diploma, and so too with God.  He chooses the hardest tests at times so that we might have the strongest faith possible. When faced with the test, lay down your Isaac. You’ll never regret it.

Dear Lord, there are some things in my life that I can’t fathom doing without, but God I know you are faithful. You are my portion, and better is one day in Your courts than thousands elsewhere. Lord, today I lay down my life for Yours. I acknowledge that there is nothing I own, no right that I have, and no prerogative I can claim above Yours. You are my everything Lord! In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Psalm 19:14
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.