I love our kids. I do. One of the greatest blessings God has ever bestowed on me was the gift of children which is why I marvel over the story of Abraham. When I desire more faith in God and trust, I only have to look at Abraham as an example of faith and total love. His dependence on God superseded his love for his promised son, Isaac.
God’s test of asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac is compelling to me. Genesis 22:2, “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.'” This story teaches me and encourages me every time I study it. I know that when the test came to Abraham, he was ready. I am sure he reflected on God’s promise of a son to him in his old age and how God had DELIVERED the MIRACLE.
But now? God was asking him to sacrifice his son. After God’s request, scripture tells us simply in Genesis 22:3, “Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey…” and obeyed. It was a three day trip in which he had gathered and took with him all that he needed, including his beloved son, to fully obey God.
As I think on Abraham…and his faith…his love…his trust and his obedience…to God, I find many things to reap from his example. How can we apply his story to our lives today? How can we strengthen and grow our faith in Jesus?
1) God has to be first…..not our children, our spouse, our job, our reputation, our successes or dwelling on our failures.
Anything can be an idol. We learn from Abraham that we can be a good person, following Christ, and at any time God can and will test our heart…our faith…our trust. If our relationship is not how God intends or has instructed, then our faith, when tested, is weak. We fail and there is no chance of it being STRENGTHENED. TO GROW OUR FAITH it has to be challenged and tested. Just like we strengthen our muscles, our faith has to be worked out, stretched and challenged to grow and become strong.
2) We must obey fully and immediately. We see no questioning of God by Abraham. We can learn here that Abraham got up early and got busy.
3) Faith is not faith at all if we already know and see.
A strong, growing faith is stepping when you don’t know…..when you don’t see.
4) Total obedience is required…not partial.
99% obedience is not acceptable to a Holy God. It might be acceptable for a test in school but not on God’s direction and instructions for your life. Blessings flow freely with 100% obedience. But note: God chooses the blessings as well, not us.
5) God’s timing is perfect.
When we desire to grow our faith, we find timing is involved. If we study the test that Abraham was given, we must look at God’s timing. Genesis 22:10, “Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.” God didn’t stop him when he left for Moriah, nor during the three day journey or when he was gathering the wood and supplies for the trip… nor when Isaac asked his father in Genesis 22:7, “…But where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
God allowed Abraham to get to the point that he had to “bind his own son,” tie him up and lay him on the altar…and raise his hand with a knife. It was in the middle of complete and sacrificial obedience that the tide turned for Abraham.
God does and will take us to the point of painful sacrifice or places for HIM/God to do his Best and Perfect work in our lives. Most of the time, in fact all of the time, I have found it is NEVER when I would like it to happen. A true strengthening of my faith in the last six years has been God teaching and taking me to a place of “dropping my hands” and accepting and trusting that HIS clock is the best.
In fact, His clock is the ONLY. That’s when I SEE HIM. If it was on my time frame, guess who might take the credit? Me. And surely my eyes would not be on HIM. God doesn’t ever want me to take the credit nor you. HE wants all of it. EYES on HIM. Focus on HIM.
So understand from Abraham…the steps we have to take for our faith to grow absolutely means putting ourselves on God’s clock, not ours. We could be “sweating bullets” all during the process. Those sweating bullets serve a purpose–it helps us to lean on God …to trust Him…to see HIM not just for who He is, but also for What HE can and will do.
To sum it up…God is God and we are not. His desire is for us to totally trust Him…for that trust/faith to grow…to be strengthened. It can happen for anyone. No matter where you are in life or what you have or haven’t done, a growing faith can start today. The first step is total surrender and the next step is total obedience, 100% obedience, and no care of not knowing. It is called BLINDLY TRUSTING. Just like when you sit in a chair and trust it to hold you, you have to completely and 100% sit down in the Father’s arms.
Tremendous blessings come to those who fully surrender and blindly obey.
“God is God. Because he is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what he is up to.” ~Elisabeth Elliot