Genesis 22 begins with the sometimes troubling first verse:
Some time later God tested Abraham. Â Â Genesis 22:1 (NIV)
It can be disconcerting to think that our loving Father God will give us â€˜testsâ€™.Â However, without a â€˜testâ€™ it is difficult to determine if a student/child has really learned a lesson.Â So as we look at this test (better known as a story of Abraham and his son, Isaac) try not to think of Ms. Willabing your old Math teacher that gave you â€˜pop quizzesâ€™ on the day before Christmas holiday began and who you caught with a smile on her face while she did it!Â Test can be good things.Â Especially if you have a good Teacher!
God had greatly blessed Abraham with Isaac, his promised son.Â But too often as a parent, we can put too much of our happiness on our children.Â We live through our children, expecting their achievements and their life to make our lifeâ€¦happy!Â I believe that God was testing Abraham, making sure that Abraham was placing Isaac on a â€˜godâ€™ level, neglecting his worship of his LORD but instead worshiping the Lordâ€™s gift.
Isaac was being raised by a parent who walked out his love and worship of the Lord right there in front of him.Â Isaacâ€™s spiritual education was personal.Â It was real.Â I believe that is what this generation is wanting.Â And so when Isaacâ€™s father told him that the sacrifice would be provided by God Himself, Isaac didnâ€™t question that.Â I canâ€™t wait to ask Isaac what went through his mind when he realized that he would be the sacrifice! (Remember that human sacrifice was very common in that time and place.)
Abraham did not understand the Lord ways in this.Â God fulfilled His promise of a son to Abraham and then told Abraham to sacrifice the son.Â But Abraham was obedient.Â Abraham had learned about the extravagant love of God through the priceless gift of Isaac.Â He trusted God.
[God said,] â€œNow I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.â€Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Genesis 22:12 (NIV)
In loving God, I have spent time with Him.Â I am learning who and what He is.Â I am learning about â€˜holy fearâ€™.Â I am not afraid of God.Â I acknowledge and â€˜seeâ€™ in my spirit how powerful and all-consuming He is.Â This is hard to put into words.Â I do not fear my Heavenly Father as I feared my earthly father.Â But my Heavenly Father is able to do much more to me!Â (Luke 12:4-5)Â And so my obedience comes from love and holy fear.
Jesus said in Matthew 22:37 that I am to love God with ALL that I am.Â I am to love God as Abraham did â€“ holding nothing â€“ and no one â€“ back!Â I am going to really step out today and ask â€“ do you love God with all that you are?Â Including your children? Your spouse?Â Your parents? Do you trust God enough to give Him the one(s) you love most in this world?Â If you cannot say, â€œYesâ€ to that question, I hope you will wrestle with God about that now.Â I heard the question many years ago but did not deal with it until my own son was dying of cancer.Â I had prayed and prayed and prayed for God to heal him.Â Believed for it.Â Trusted God for it.Â Then came the day when I knew that God was asking for me to trust Him with a different answer.Â God is big enough to discuss and debate and wrestle with any question you have.Â If GodÂ asks: â€œJody, will you love me â€“ love me with all you have?â€ and my answer comes: â€œYes, God, butâ€¦â€ then I need to spend time with Him about it now.Â Today.Â The victory is when you know you have taken a step closer to your Father and given that loved one into the hands of the One who loves that person even more!