Choosing To Obey Jesus Even When It Is Difficult And Painful.
- What happens when God gives you a great blessing and then asks you to give it back to him?
- What do you do when Jesus asks you to do something difficult and painful?
- When God has been good to you and then it feels like he has suddenly stopped being good?
- When God has been listening to your prayers and then it seems like he has gone silent?
God has blessed you with:
- A lovely house
- An awesome car
- A loving spouse
- A great job
- A nice piece of property
- Wonderful children etc
Like the Apostle James tells us, all good gifts come God. So, I hope that you haven’t been mistakenly thinking that all the wonderful things you own have been given to you by the state, government, university, parents, spouse, children or whoever else you have been falsely giving credit. No! All good gifts are from the Lord.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
So, after the Lord has given you all these precious blessings and gifts and before you have even fully enjoyed them, he says you know what? Sacrifice whatever I gave you. Give it up to me.
The same way he asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering.
When I re-read this story, I just couldn’t believe the things I was reading.
In Genesis 12 and Genesis15, God had made such glorious promises to Abraham. And true to his word and himself, God made the impossible, possible, he gave Abraham a Son, a Son who would carry his lineage forward.
God delivered on his promise but even before Sarah and Abraham could settle and fully enjoy their awesome gift of Isaac, the tragic happened.
God said, “Sacrifice, Isaac. Give him back to me.”
I can’t say I understand what Abraham must have felt. I can only speculate.
I don’t know if he kept repeatedly questioning God.
“Why Lord?” (Like many of us find ourselves doing in moments of trial)
“Why would you ask me to do something so cruel?”
Or he probably didn’t feel any emotional sadness because he knew his God intimately. He had faith in his God. He loved his God. He had hope in his God.
Abraham obeyed. He put God first before anything or anyone.
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded 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. 9. When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. 12. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” 13. Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” 15. The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16. and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17. I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18. and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
Genesis: 22. 1-18
When I think of Abraham’s obedience, it leads me to admire him.
Truth be told, when God often asks me to give things up, I act like a really spoilt child. I do a lot of grumbling and I even throw in a few embarrassing tantrums. It’s very shameful behavior to say the lest.
When Abraham choose to obey God, trusting that God would come through for him, God indeed showed up. That is God’s nature!
Loving, merciful and forgiving. I can only imagine how terrifying for mankind if God was more punishing than forgiving. I shudder at the idea.
Because our human flesh is so prone to sin, I thank the father that he is gracious and ever kind to us. Blessing us even when we don’t deserve it.
I pray that, when we are faced with the often difficult task of giving up the things and people we cherish and love so deeply, God will give us the strength to obey him. Trusting that he won’t ever leave us or forsake us.
Choosing Faith, Hope and Love. Because as the scriptures continually show us, Faith, Hope and Love always triumph.
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