What do you cling too in desperation? What are you most afraid to surrender?
Who or what do you love the most, with a desperate fear of losing?
For Abraham, Isaac was the love of his life. It was the promise and gift God had personally given Sarah and him. They had prayed for years over him, waited in faith, battled for him- their son. And now they loved him with a love only mom and dad could know of.
And yet this was the exact thing God asked Abraham to surrender- to give up- to lay before him.
"Abraham, take your dear son Isaac whom you love and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I'll point out to you." Genesis 22:2
I think often that's the way it is. God wants us to surrender the thing we love most. Our deepest test and toughest battle will be with that thing. Are we ready to put whatever it is on the altar of sacrifice?
I believe one of the first real sacrifices I made for God was when I was eighteen. I went as a student missionary to Peru for a year to serve at a medical clinic. I knew I had wanted to go serve and do missions, yet I didn't want to go to a medical field. Going overseas and accepting the "call" to go and help others, wasn't my real sacrifice. For me, it was what God asked me to do when I got there.
During my year in Peru, I was challenged to do things I was very afraid and uncomfortable with doing. I was helping in a medical clinic even though I was afraid of doctors and hospitals. It was difficult and humbling because it was very challenging to do something I disliked and was nervous about and I felt like I was constantly the "slowest" and "neediest" helper.
Throughout this year, God told me that I needed to switch majors and become a nurse. And that was when I knew he was asking me to make a sacrifice for him, because being a nurse was never something I wanted or imagined doing. It was scary, humbling, embarrassing, something I didn't want to do, but I think it was one of the first sacrifices I made that cost me something. And looking back it built my faith and I'm grateful God led me in that way.
But what about bigger sacrifices? What about tests? Have you ever had to sacrifice something big for the sake of the Gospel?
It's scary to think about sacrifice, because what if God wants to take away something you love the most?
Oh wait, like Isaac.
In the Enduring Word commentary, it says that God tested Abraham- in a test not to reveal faith. That Abraham was built slowly by slowly, piece by piece into a man of faith and a man of God. That the thing God was asking Abraham to do, was like putting a sword to his own heart because of how much he loved Isaac.
And yet Abraham obeyed anyways...
He obeyed showing that he trusted God even when he didn't understand.
He obeyed displaying that he would follow God's direction even when he did not feel like it, did not like it, and did not want to do it.
And he obeyed with trust that God's Words and counsel was sovereign, that He could trust him, and that he did not need to ask other people for counsel or advice.
It's so crazy to think that God would ask Abraham to kill his own son?
It's crazy right?
And yet that's what He did for us. He gave us Jesus. The sacrifice Abraham was willing to make, what God asked him to do, was a representation of what God would give for us. God said that he would provide the lamb for the sacrifice on the altar. And he did, he provided a ram caught by its horns in the thicket that day, so that Isaac could go free. And Jesus, an innocent man, the Son of God, was provided for us on the cross as the Ultimate sacrifice for our sins.
God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood- to be received by faith." Romans 3:25
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice- holy and pleasing to God, this is your true and proper worship." Romans 12:1