The Blessing of Obedience

December 16, 2013

Genesis 22:1-18

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

2Then God said, “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.”

3Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

6Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

8Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

9When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

12“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.”

13Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

15The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”


The Blessing of Obedience


This  story of God asking Abraham to offer up His only son Isaac, the son of promise, was God’s ultimate test of Abraham’s faith and obedience.  It is one many of us are familiar with and hopefully we have seen it as the type of God the Father offering up His only Son of promise, Jesus Christ.  What we see happening through this story and through Abraham’s faithful obedience is a perpetual blessing that has been cascading through the ages in both the spiritual and natural realms.  The focus of what is shared in this discourse is the promise and the blessing that was produced through this act of obedience.

We learn a number of lessons from this passage.  One very important one is that I don’t have to understand why God does or ask what He does, it is only important that I am willing to obey Him no matter what the cost.  When God requires a death it is for a multiplication of life.  When God plants a seed, that is sown by His people in faith, He has already seen the harvest it will produce.  A Father’s heart is for legacy, but legacy is not created by holding on, but in letting go.  What God gives us in promise and blessing can become our idol if we are unwilling to release it back to Him.  Our heart of complete trust and obedience is the key to unlocking God’s unconditional and exceedingly great blessings and promises.  

What God promised Abraham those many hundred of years ago we are still reaping in our world and in our personal faith today.  You, in Christ, are an element of that answered promise to Abraham.  You are one of his descendants, stars and grains of sand, rather you were born a Jew naturally or not.  “A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God. (Romans 2:28-29)”  You see God’s true seed that He is looking for are those that have that same kind of heart as His friend Abraham; a heart of complete surrender, trust and obedience.  This is what the Father is looking for in us.  

When God made this promise to Abraham, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me,”  He swore by what Hebrews 6 calls an immutable or unchangeable thing in which it is impossible for God to lie. 

Why did God do this?  Hebrews 6:17 says, “Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.”

What does that mean to you and I?  Sometimes as we labor in kingdom purpose we can get discouraged in well-doing and good works.  When can get lazy and complacent concerning our faith and the purpose that we have in Christ.  I believe this is what prompted the Hebrews’ writer to share this and remind us of our inheritance; “It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”  He says prior to this in verses 10-12, “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”  

The promises of Abraham are flowing through you as you are faithful to persevere in the faith and His blessings are unto you as well who obey and keep His Word.  Faint not, for His promises never fail. 

 

Blessings,

kent

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