2 “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.”
3 The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. (Gen. 22:2-4) NLT
Obedience. Trust. Reverential fear of the LORD. All these are evident of Abraham’s relationship with God in these few verses. He didn’t question, he didn’t argue, and he didn’t barter. Abraham obeyed without hesitation when God asked him to do the hardest thing He could ask any parent to do—especially when this son had been so long awaited! Sacrifice your son.
These are familiar verses, ones I’ve read many times and heard sermons teaching me their meaning. Yet, this time, I saw for myself the impact of these verses. I felt them as a parent might feel them as God spoke them. Now the title at the top of my NIV bible says, “Abraham Tested”, however, Abraham did not have that information. All he knew was God asked him to sacrifice what he loved most dearly. And God was specific which son he meant.
The length of time for this journey caused me to pause: “On the third day”. The significance and symbolism shouted “JESUS” to me. God was not asking Abraham to do anything He wasn’t prepared to do Himself—sacrifice his son. In the end, God provided the ram as a substitute and Isaac was spared. While I KNEW that was a foreshadowing, something in my soul responded to those words as I read them this time. Jesus was the lamb, there was no substitute in a thicket for his life. He willingly laid himself on the altar—for me, for all of us! That is the cost of love, true love. I felt God remind me in such a loving manner, “Whenever you doubt my love for you, remember!”
4 We went ashore, found the local believers, and stayed with them a week. These believers prophesied through the Holy Spirit that Paul should not go on to Jerusalem. (Acts 21:4)
13 But he said, “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 21:13)
Obedience. Trust. Reverential fear of the LORD. Paul also displayed these characteristics. He knew God’s purpose was for him to spread the name of Jesus. Many people had prophesied that something bad was going to happed to him in Jerusalem, yet Paul never faltered. He was willing to die, to sacrifice himself, so others could be saved. Again, the cost of love!
Father, you touched my heart with the words I read today. I know you are encouraging me to stay the course, to trust the outcome to you, and remember how much you love me—to the point of sacrificing Your Son for me. Thank you for showing up exactly when I need you! I love you! Help me overcome any fears I may have that would hinder me from obedience, trust, and the reverence you so deserve! In Jesus name, Amen.