I was reading Genesis 22 this morning. About Abraham being commanded by God to sacrifice his son. Whenever I had read that in the past I always felt in awe of Abraham’s obedience to God and wondered if I could have done the same. But I dug a little deeper and I read again and I prayed for understanding and friends, I believe I have been missing a very important part of this entire story.
Take a look at the first part of this chapter with me.
1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
Verse 1, God calls to Abraham. God knew where Abraham was, He had not lost him but this entire chapter is about being obedient from beginning to end, and so from the beginning God gave Abraham the choice to answer Him. How many times do we hear God say our name, try to get our attention, and we ignore it, go on about our day, shrug it off? God wants our obedience to come out of our choice.
Verse 2, God commands Abraham to take his son to be sacrificed as a burnt offering. God knew it was Abraham’s only son, He had given Him Isaac in the first place. God knew that Abraham loved his son and still he asked for the ultimate sacrifice.
And here, for me, this is what I want.
“Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey.” (Genesis 22:3)
He didn’t wait, “God are you sure?” He didn’t debate. He didn’t put it off. The NEXT MORNING. He didn’t wait to make sure. He didn’t try to negotiate with God. As a teenager God was more like a genie in a bottle instead of my heavenly Father. I would negotiate, “God if you would just _____ then I will be nice to my brother, never tell a lie, never ______.” Newsflash, God is not a genie in a bottle, just in case you were wondering.
Back to the story…
Abraham trusted God no matter what but Abraham also knew that God was more. God loved Abraham. God understood how Abraham felt about his son. But Abraham also loved God and he had faith that both he and Isaac would return from the mountain.
Look at what Abraham says to his servants. “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then WE will come back to you.’
Again this is shown when Isaac asks his father where the lamb was for the sacrifice. Abraham tells him, “God himself will provide the lamb…”
Imagine every step Abraham is taking up the mountain not only is his heart heavy with what he has been instructed to do, but he has to climb a mountain as well. Every step he takes over the rocks and dirt taking him higher and higher. Hearing his son’s voice, watching him take each step beside him, soaking up every minute because even though he loves Isaac, Abraham loves God more.
Abraham had a “whatever it takes’ mentality. We don’t offer burning sacrifices to God now; the ultimate sacrifice was given 2000 years ago when God gave His son as the ultimate sacrifice. Abraham was speaking prophetically when he said that God would provide the lamb. And by the way, Isaac carried the wood, as Jesus carried the cross when He made the ultimate sacrifice.
Whatever it takes.
Do I have that mindset? Am I willing to listen and act immediately on direction from God? Do I have the relationship with God like Abraham did that when He calls my name, I know hear it and respond immediately, “Here I am.”
And whatever He asks, the nudge to buy a cup of coffee for a perfect stranger, as simple as speaking to that girl across the room, buying a meal for a family, giving sacrificially, volunteering to help out at church, to the more radical, doing mission work, traveling around the world, whatever it takes but being obedient.
Each nudge, no matter how small, is like a post-it note from God to His children letting them know that He loves them and that He’s there. And by being willing to do “whatever it takes” you get to be a part of God working in the lives of others and in turn He will be working even more in your life. The reward you get is better then any three wishes from a genie in a bottle.
It starts with a cup of coffee (or tea if your fasting) but the more you listen, the more you hear and as long as you know your answer will be “whatever it takes God” then the life you lives can be a glorious walk with your Heavenly Father doing whatever it takes.
If you want to find out what happened to Abraham and Isaac, check out Genesis, chapter 22.