Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were asked to make a decision that felt like you were relinquishing something you love? A part of yourself or your life you felt was intrinsic, inseparable even? Well, that is the kind of situation we’re focusing on in today’s post. In this biblical story, we are introduced to a man named Abraham. For some historical context, you should know that he was originally named Abram before God called him away from everything he knew, asking him to take a walk down a new path that was completely unfamiliar to him. Along this journey, he and his wife were promised a child. They were both quite old, Abraham being 100 years old and Sarah being 99 years old, by the time they conceived their son, Isaac. Isaac was the promised son that God foreshadowed approximately 25 years prior. This is the same son that, in our passage of focus for today, God asks Abraham to sacrifice. Now that you’re familiar with the backstory, let’s begin to explore the dynamics at play.
“Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied. 2 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.'”Genesis 22:1-2 NIV
Now, it’s easy to disregard the intensity of the stories we read in the Bible sometimes because, like a movie, we are receiving details that the characters are unaware of. In that first line, we get some pretty important context. This is a test that God is bringing to Abraham. While we don’t know God’s reasoning at this point, it’s safe to asssume that He has one. Like a teacher doing role call at the beginning of class to ensure all of their students are present and accounted for, we observe this brief exchange of identification between God and Abraham. God, wasting no time on pleasantries, makes a request of Abraham that is so monumental that it’s almost absurd.
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There are many instances in the Bible where God makes it clear that He is well acquainted with the heart of humanity. In His choosing of David over all of his other brothers. In His acceptance of Abel’s gift over Cain’s. God is no respecter of persons and He makes it abundantly clear that living a life of honorable service to Him is primarily a heart issue. With this understanding of the God who created the universe, who exists outside of time, and has all power in His being; Shouldn’t we be able to trust Him at His word?
The short answer is yes. However, our thoughts and behavior often show otherwise, complicating what God originally intended to be a simple solution to address our needs. You may be familiar with the quotable found on many t-shirts, mugs, and other collectable items: “Keep Calm and…” The end of that statement has an extensive list of suggested things, people, and places to put your faith in. Yet, every believer is aware, to some degree, that the only true source of stability that we can put our trust in is God. This year, 2020, has quite rudely interrupted the norms that humanity has created for ourselves and made it abundantly clear that many of the things, people, and places we have put our faith in are not able to hold us up when life takes an unexpected turn.
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For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
Let’s just start right out of the gate with the truth. God did not give us that spirit of timidity. Yeah, I said us. As usual, I am here to address something that God is working on in my life as well as sharing a word that I hope will encourage you to stand up and stop allowing the fear of failure or any other anxiety-ridden thought to prevent you from living in your God-ordained purpose.
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As I took a much needed break from my desk, after getting frustrated with my client-scheduling attempts, I was reminded of a valuable lesson…
You don’t need to have everything under control or figured out. Instead, give your best effort, let go of the situation, and trust God to work it out for your good.
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