By Steve Balamut
In our busy, fast-paced lives, it can be so easy to place God on the backburner. We give God just enough attention, by completing routine prayers, reading short devotions, or quickly listening to a motivational sermon. We check off all the right boxes, but in reality, are creating an inner spiritual bankruptcy, only scraping the surface of our potential relationship with God. The scary result of this mentality can be shallow lives, hollow spirituality, and confusion in purpose. God needs to be the undisputed priority in our daily lives in which everything else falls underneath.
In Genesis 22, God demonstrates a dramatic but very valuable lesson through Abraham. In this passage, Abraham is called on by God to sacrifice his only son Isaac.
After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 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.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. – Genesis 22:1-3
Giving Our Desires
I want to point out how important Isaac was to Abraham. This child was the delight of his heart, the completion of a long awaited promise from God, and the son from which Abraham would develop a legacy.
Often God will test us within particular areas of our lives in order to remove the earthly treasures from our hearts so that he may remain unchallenged there. The treasures we hold on to can be family, friends, a job, schooling, or different belongings that seemly outweigh our passion for God. Two important questions to ask are:
1. Am I keeping God as my central need in life?
2. What earthly treasures are blocking God from remaining Lord of my life?
Acting Out in Faith
Abraham’s faith in this story is incredible. He responds immediately to God’s command. Although Abraham may have been internally troubled, his passion and trust for God leads him to act in obedience. In verse 5, Abraham says to his servants, “…stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” Abraham was ready to surrender everything, knowing that there was purpose and meaning behind the actions of God. The story goes on to tell how God provides a ram for the sacrifice instead of Isaac. He blesses Abraham for his faith and obedience, and promises him the desires of his heart. God promises Abraham that he will multiply his offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. Furthermore, through him, everyone on earth will be blessed.
In this story, God chooses to work with Abraham from the inside out, cutting straight to the heart rather than working on the outside margins of his life. Abraham was a man who completely surrendered to the will of God, and in return, gained a deep-rooted trust with his creator.
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. – Matthew 16:25
As men and women, we usually remember a lesson that is learned through the physical rather than the factual. We have to experience a challenging event, just like Abraham, in order to fully understand and rely on God. If you are going through a season of uncertainty or challenge, I encourage you to trust in God and keep Him as your highest priority.
The creator of the universe has mapped out a grand purpose for your life that exceeds your own carefully thought out plans.