Text Genesis 22
As it has been rightly said, there is no testimony without a test. The bigger the test the bigger the testimony will be—that is if you pass the test. God tests his children. Tests expose who we really are. The Bible says that the testing of our faith develops our character (James 1:3-4). The secret of having all that God ever wanted you to have is by giving up all that God wants to give up. Total obedience and surrender to God’s will is the key to living an abundant life. Abraham was one example of those who expressed absolute obedience to God’s will. There are several lessons we can learn from Abraham’s Obedience:
- Our obedience can be a painful experience (vv. 1-2).
God made clear what He wanted Abraham to do: “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go [by yourself] to the region of Moriah (Genesis 22:2). Isaac was the son of the promise. Despite the pain of losing his son of the promise, Abraham painfully obeyed. Sometimes God will ask us to do things that may not be popular or even easy, but at all times he requires obedience from us. Abraham’s love for and faith in God was greater than anything else, including the son whom he loved. Our love and commitment to God bust be greater than our hopes, goals, dreams and all else that we treasure.
- Our obedience should be prompt (v.3).
God calls us to obey promptly. Abraham’s life was marked with prompt obedience to God’s Word. Whenever we delay our obedience, we create room for second thoughts. There is also a tendency to compromise God’s standards. Those who are truly obedience do not drag their feet whilst doing God’s will but they are prompt in executing whatever God asks of them.
- Our obedience should be thorough (vv.3, 9).
He did everything thoroughly well. He did every thing as was required of him. Although it was certainly a painful experience for Abraham to sacrifice his son, we don’t sense any sign of resentment against God, or even questioning the goodness or wisdom of God. Abraham simply obeyed in everything. He prepared all that was required for the sacrifice. Sometimes it is easy to conveniently “forget” the details in the areas where God wants us to obey. For instance God may ask you to give towards a certain cause, and then you choose to give but not as regularly or as meticulously expected of you. When you choose to obey then obey in everything. It has been said that partial obedience is total disobedience.
- Our obedience should be marked by faith (5, 7).
Abraham took God’s word and his character seriously. Deep in his heart Abraham knew that God was still committed to his word and promise. He knew that the God who had called his to leave his native land and relatives, the God who had promised to make him a great nation—through Isaac—was still committed to that very promise. He knew that even if it meant raising Isaac from the dead God would do it because God cannot deny himself. “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death” (Hebrews 11:17-19). He told the servants that he and the boy would return after they had worshipped [v. 5], he told Isaac, his son that God would provide the sacrifice [v. 8]. Although this faith and confession did not make things better for Abraham, it clearly indicates the man of faith Abraham was. Our trust should not be in what is visible but the invisible promises of God. Our hope and trust must be founded in the character and the word of God which does not change.
- Our obedience should be sensitive to the leading of God (11).
Abraham was not taken up by the moment. It took him three days to get to the place of sacrifice [v. 4]. These days must have been the most difficult for Abraham. He could have changed his mind, but he chose to obey. For Abraham it was all about God. His heart was still in tune with God, to the extent that when God called again, he promptly obeyed [v. 11]. When our trust in God our hearts are in tune with the Holy Spirit no matter how painful the experience may be.
To truly know God is to truly surrender to his Word. The hallmark of true worship is obedience. The test of one’s faith is not about how much he or she has but rather how much one is willing to let go because God has said so. Obedience is letting God be God. Obedience is progressive. As you pass the test of obedience in small things God entrusts you with bigger things. God can never entrust you with anything before you have passed the test of obedience.
Anything you are not willing to let go of will eventually become your idol. It will become your god. You will end up worshiping it. What is it that God is telling you to surrender to him? Your willingness to surrender to God is a test of how seriously you take him. If God is God, then every Word he says can be trusted even when it may not seem reasonable. It may contradict everything you have believed in. It may seem to be working against every plan you have set for yourself. But remember that if you really want o have it all from God, you have to be ready to give it all to him.
Obedience releases God’s blessings. Because Abraham was willing to give up his one and only son, God made him a father of nations. Abraham’s descendants would be “as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.” Not only would they be a multitude, they would also be a powerful and prosperous people. “Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies” (Genesis 22:17). Because Abraham was willing to give it up all, God gave him all.