Divine Thinking

[reprinted from October 12, 2010]

Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. “Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.” “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.”

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. On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. “Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.”

So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together, Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” “God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together. When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood.     Genesis 22:1-9 (NLT)

I wonder what Isaac thought at that moment! Did he look at his father like, “Are you nuts?!” Or given the time and social mores and maybe even the relationship that Abraham and Isaac might have had, did Isaac quietly relinquish his control in absolute trust to his father? Child sacrifices were not unusual in this time. Going to worship God on a mountain was also not unusual. Taking the gift for which you asked and prayed and destroy it? Was that what Abraham was doing?

Since I made that 180 degree turn in 1995, acknowledging that I was a sinner and accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior, it seems that God has asked me many times to relinquish my plan and come along with His plan. He has let me wander and take my own path, waiting for me to turn back to Him. It isn’t easy” to follow God. It may be simple, but not easy. It isn’t easy for me because it means following God even when I cannot “see” the outcome.

My answer to the control question has usually been more toward the “Are you nuts?!” side than the peaceful release. I theologically know that God knows best but it’s taking that step away from me to Him that trips me up. And besides, how do I know it’s really God?

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.             Philippians 4:4-9 (NLT)

This is just one of the Scriptures that comes to my mind when I wonder if what I am hearing is God. Yes, I also consider what I feel in my spirit and what has God done in my experience but in any given situation, I could hold up this Scripture and get a ‘reading’ on which path/answer is truly God.

– Which path would glorify God with my gentleness and show that the Lord is near?

– Which path brings on ‘anxiety’ and which brings ‘peace’ in my spirit?

– When I lift the situation in prayer, which path does thanksgiving overflow and which path do I want to present before God if I am staring Him right in the face?

– Which path is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy?

The answer may not be the easier path. It may not be the logical path. The answer could be the obvious right answer. Jesus promised that if we seek Him first; if we knocked, He would answer. How excellent and faithful is my LORD.

Going through a tough time? Unsure which way you should turn? Instead of staying up late with worry, let us spend the time in prayer instead. What a divine thought!

Everything We Need written by Keith Lancaster & sung by Acapella (1993)

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