Hi. I’m a little behind in our first couple of weeks of Bible together, life happened quite hard for us. But we are getting back on our feet and this is the exact beauty of why I invited you to join me on this journey. It isn’t about keeping up and getting it all read and feeling like a failure when we don’t. No. It’s about returning and picking it back up and the steadfast waiting love of our God that doesn’t change and never leaves us. We get back up however many times, and He is ready for us. Ready to fill us with His words of life and encourage us in this discouraging world. It’s about recognizing our anchor and running to Him over and over all year long. Here are a few of my thoughts, the meditations of my heart, soaked in the whisperings of the Holy Spirit as I read Genesis 22 last week. The question I ask you to ask yourself as you read is this;
What is faith? Is it the weak falling or the strong rising?
Over and over reading through this I was convinced this could never be me, that I absolutely do not have this kind of faith…Until God brought it home to me and I began to understand, maybe I do.
If you haven’t read this yet, click on the link and then come back.
For some, this might be the first time you’ve read about Abraham loading his son with a pile of dry wood to carry to the top of a mountain, packing a machete, carrying a torch, walking along, answering his son’s questions, and I wonder was he asking his own?
For others, like me, you’ve read this passage umpteen times and maybe this time, it’s a little different.
Isaac was the promised child. The culmination of faith and patience. Isaac.
Isaac means laughter and I see nothing worth laughing about it in this passage.
As I read through this, a picture begins to form in my mind. Father and son, walking slow. Can you imagine? What was Abraham thinking? How did he say to Isaac, ‘God will provide a lamb’, and right up until the last moment, what was he thinking? As he lifted the knife to cut his son’s throat, what the heck kind of God requires us to kill that which is closest to our hearts?
My heart thunders with anticipation as I put myself in the story.
Put yourself in the story. Listen to the tears. The heart aching for God to do something. Raising your hand, are you willing to give God what is woven into your very soul? What is love anyway?
Was anyone or anything closer to Abraham’s heart than Isaac?
God knows the thoughts and intentions of the heart. He asked for Isaac, not because He takes pleasure in human sacrifice, but because He is a God that requires heart sacrifice.
From the beginning to the end, this is the same.
In another passage we read, I am not a God that delights in sacrifice, but a broken and contrite heart I will never cast away.
Is this Abraham? Walking up that mountain, counting every step, broken-in his heart, giving back to God the greatest gift he had ever been given. Giving God the delight and joy of his heart, the laughter in his soul? Is this what Isaac means, give God what makes you happiest?
But I hear the echo of Abraham’s words of faith, ‘God will provide the lamb, my son.’ God will. Was he willing God to will? Was there a hint of fear in his words, did he speak those words with trepidation in his soul, in a quiet hush, bowing his heart to the will of God, and hoping, is faith just that? Hope that God will save us? True faith, the depths of faith, underneath it lies nothing more than a hope that God will as he promised. No matter what we face, it ultimately comes to heart level and we make a choice to believe in a God we cannot see, to hope in Words printed thousands of years over, faith is always a choice we make.
Did Abraham ever doubt this? What about the times he lied and told people Sarah was his sister and not his wife? Was that faith? Abraham was a man and he made some mistakes in his life, was this a mistake? Did he doubt his faith more than a couple of times on that two-day trek to the mountain?
Is faith the weak falling rather than the strong rising?
There is no true faith without works, and the work is always executed in the heart first.
And then it happens. Just as Abraham raises his knife in hand to cut his son’s throat, an angel of God cries out to him to stop! Be still my fast-beating heart, exhale…
What was Isaac thinking? Were they both crying, praying for another way? God waits until the last second to show up. Trembling, I see Abraham drop his arm, hang his head and look up to realize his faith is real. Caught in the thicket is a ram, God provides.
What kind of faith is that? Not my kind.
I don’t understand it and I’m positive I would fail this test if I were Abraham and then I realize God is asking the same of me, of all of us, from the beginning to the end, it’s the same, it was always an issue of the heart and it always will be.
Abraham chose to believe God and proved his choice in obedience, whether he doubted along the way up that mountain, we are not told, but don’t doubt it was a choice for him to walk that path. He chose God.
I am not a God that delights in human sacrifice, but a broken and contrite heart I will never cast away.
Heart sacrifice. God sees the heart. The work of faith is to believe, the proof of belief is obedience, from the heart comes faith.
Giving Him everything in my heart is a messy ordeal.
Yet, it is the only deal He’s making.
God requires first-place in our hearts.
As I finish reading this passage, my prayer is that of the Psalmist;
O Lord, You have searched me and known me. Search me O God and know my heart. Create in me a clean heart, O God….Then guide me on the road to eternal life.
Open up before God, keep nothing back;
He’ll do whatever needs to be done.
He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon.
Psalm 139, 37
Let’s not forget,
God blessed Abraham abundantly for his faith and
even when our heart fails within us, and we lose faith, God is greater than our hearts, and His faith never fails.
and He is always ready to welcome us back into his arms and always ready to pour his grace and blessing into us.
God loves us first.
Don’t ever lose heart.