Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Since Loretta must take a no-pay-leave today, I took a comp day to recuperate at home with her. It does make a difference to sleep a little bit longer, after several weeks of intense pressures of sermon preparation and ministry. It is not easy for a workaholic to rest. But I am sure God is wise to establish “Sabbath” for man; it is for our own good to be able to rest completely from stress after 6 days of labor each week.
"Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about" (Genesis 22:2). God's command is - Take now, not presently. It is extraordinary how we debate! We know a thing is right, but we try to find excuses for not doing it at once. To climb to the height God shows can never be done presently, it must be done now. The sacrifice is gone through in will before it is performed actually.
"And Abraham rose up early in the morning and went unto the place of which God had told him" (v. 3). The wonderful simplicity of Abraham! When God spoke, he did not confer with flesh and blood. Beware when you want to confer with flesh and blood, i.e., your own sympathies, your own insight, anything that is not based on your personal relationship to God. These are the things that compete with and hinder obedience to God.
Abraham did not choose the sacrifice. Always guard against self-chosen service for God; self-sacrifice may be a disease. If God has made your cup sweet, drink it with grace; if He has made it bitter, drink it in communion with Him. If the providential order of God for you is a hard time of difficulty, go through with it, but never choose the scene of your martyrdom. God chose the trial for Abraham, and Abraham made no protest; he went steadily through. If you are not living in touch with Him, it is easy to pass a crude verdict on God. You must go through difficult trial before you have any right to pronounce a verdict, because in difficult trial you learn to know God better. God is working for His highest ends until His purpose and man's purpose become one.
This is a difficult trial that we properly would all attempt to escape. Abraham did not know ahead of time what God would have asked him to sacrifice. He had walked with God for a long period of time. He knew the blessing of God. God bailed him out from his mistakes and saved him from different kinds of crisis in life. Abraham knew God was good, but he did not expect God was so cruel and difficult too. Surprisingly Abraham did not complain. He just followed God’s demand and took his beloved son to Mt. Moriah. I am sure his mind must have gone through big battle, “why did God want me to kill my son? If he wants me to kill my son now, why did He give Isaac to me in the first place? Would it be better if I never had Isaac, than to kill him with my own hand? Human sacrifice was not uncommon at that time; many pagans’ worships did sacrifice young children to please their gods. Abraham properly thought it was the common pleasure of deity – they have appetite for children’s blood and youthful flesh. He was ready to give whatever that will please God the most. Total abandonment of ourselves and self interests to God is what pleases Him the most. May God enjoy your sacrifice to Him today!
Love you in His wonderful pleasure,