Thursday, March 11, 2010

Beautiful Sacrifices

Does God ever ask you to sacrifice something that is near and dear to your heart?

I am thinking of the story of Abraham and Isaac tonight. The Lord asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, who was so dear to his heart. It is through Isaac that the many descendants whom the Lord promised Abraham would come. It is easy to think that Abraham had no feelings, as if somehow those in "Bible times" are exempt from anything that we feel today.

No, I cannot imagine the anguish in Abraham's heart as he traveled for three days - without turning back - to this place where the Lord wanted him to sacrifice his son, Isaac. "On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance." (Genesis 22:4) I cannot imagine the hard time Abraham must have had when his son said to him, "Father?" (22:7) and questioned his father on where the sacrifice was. I cannot imagine how Abraham kept himself from doubting when he replied, "God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." (22:8) I cannot imagine for the life of me how Abraham must have felt as he took his son and tied him down to the altar and reached out his hand with the knife to slay his son.

All for the Lord. All for my God. All for Him, as His servant. He is who I am living for. I believe. I trust. I love. All for the Lord. All for my God.

I really do wonder what was going through Abraham's mind as his arm was in midair and the knife was perhaps just inches from slaying his son, with his own hand.

Whatever was going through Abraham's mind, his thoughts were pierced. "Abraham! Abraham!" (22:11) The Lord was speaking.

"Here I am," (22:11) Abraham replied. Here I am? Even still, Abraham was faithful and willing ~ a true example of a servant of the Lord.

"'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.' Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns." (22:13) This is amazing. This is what makes my heart skip a beat.

It was the sacrifice that Abraham was looking for; the sacrifice that he told his son that the Lord would provide.

"He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son." (22:13)

It makes me wonder. It really makes me think and evaluate my life. What is near and dear to my heart? What am I not willing to give up? Where am I unfaithful and unwilling and untrue?

This past summer I thought that I was giving up my summer to go overseas to serve the Lord. I was terrified to give up my family, to give up what was comfortable, to give up my home, to give up my normal life. I gave it up and it was all returned to me tenfold and more. It was the best summer of my life.

Sometimes the Lord asks us to give up things that are most precious to us. It is then that our faithfulness to the Lord is tested most. It is then that our love and our obedience and our willingness is tested. It is then that our hearts go through the fire. It is painful at first. It is terrifying. It is heart-wrenching. It is good.

Greater things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done. I believe... I believe in You, God.

No comments: