As I have mentioned before, with the new year came a new project, and each day has a posting with devotional thoughts over at 66 Books (I know I have mentioned this plenty here, but it is so critical to be in the Word I simply can't stress it enough. It's never too late for a fresh commitment to read His Word more faithfully). This is my posting from January 8, which I have carried into my verse for the week, next week I will resume posting an original verse of the week posting for my blog (Lord willing, He has spoken so vividly through my daily readings that I just have to share). This passage held up a convicting mirror to my life. Have I REALLY surrendered all to Him?
He said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." Genesis 22:2
Then Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you."Genesis 22:5
He [the Angel of the Lord] said, "Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me." Genesis 22:12 (ESV)
My son had a chapter to read out of the book School of the Woods this week entitled The Gladsome Life. While I don't know that I agreed with everything in the chapter (generally the case when reading anything besides Scripture), it pointed out animals' apparent blunt acceptance of whatever life throws at them. Obviously our thought processes are far above the animals that God put us in dominion over back in Genesis one, but I think we could learn from their seeming lack of anxiety.
It helped me gain another perspective on the faith that Abraham lived out in this chapter. He did not act blindly or out of foolishness. He acted out of obedience and complete faith. We don't know his thought process as he went on this journey to possibly sacrifice his child or if he wrestled with the decision. I assume he probably came back a different man than he had left, or at least confirmed in who he truly was.
Hebrews eleven gives us a little internal glimpse into the situation in verses seventeen through nineteen which say, in part, "By faith, Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice . . . Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death." He did not know how or when God would take care of things, but He trusted God's promise enough to obey an act that seemed to completely remove any possibility of fulfillment of the aforementioned promise. He figured, "Well, God can bring Him back to life. I just have to obey, and God will take care of the details."
I love that as he leaves the rest of his party behind he says that he and Isaac are going to worship. That's where so many Israelites' sacrifices fell short. They were not worship, they barely met the ritual standards. When I surrender something to Him it should not come from a reluctant heart or one of obligation or duty. My tithe should not go into the offering plate accompanied by a mental check mark on my to-do list. I need to approach the altar with joyful worship as my goal. That pearl of great price is worth every piece of my life that I can fit on that altar.
Would I be so trusting to raise that knife over my family, or my plans, or my desires, or my expectations?
How about my sacrifice and life of obedience . . . would it qualify as worship?
Would God be able to say to me, "Stop! Now I know that you fear Me since you did not withhold this from Me"?
How far does His control of my life go? Time to sweep out the cobwebs and invite Him ALL the way in. He's not just a weekend guest, He has taken up residence and knows about all the skeletons in my closet. Loves me anyway, and asks me to follow Him.
Is it ALL on the altar?
I need to target areas of my life that I would not willingly raise a knife to should God ask and surrender them completely to Him.
As I attend worship services and serve You in the church I need to do so with an attitude of joyful worship not obligation.
I need to recognize that "trust and obey" doesn't always make sense in my finite mind.
Help me to trust You implicitly, to rest in your great love for me. Help me to hold nothing back from Your gentle hand. You are an awesome God, in control of everything, able to accomplish anything, Creator of the Universe, and you love me. You are deserving of everything I own and everything that I am. I want to offer my life as a living sacrifice of joyful worship to you.
To follow along each day with devotionals from our reading through the Bible in one year please subscribe, bookmark, favorite, or somehow remember to check in over there. Whatever tools you use, I hope you commit to making His Word a priority this year.