Why The Foundation of Faith is Death
“By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”-Hebrews 11:17-18
In the story of Abraham and Isaac, we find an interesting interaction between God, the Creator of all things, and the man whom He chose to be the father of nations, Abraham.
Abram and Sarai (Abraham and Sarah) were old and were unable to have children prior to their communication with God. God came to them and promised they would be able to give birth to a son of their own. They had trouble believing Him, but God would prove His faithfulness and brought their son Isaac into the world.
Yet, prior to Sarah and Abraham having Isaac, Abraham had a sexual relationship with Sarah’s maidservant Hagar. She gave birth to Ishmael. There was tension between she and Sarah after Isaac was born, which led to Abraham giving Hagar bread and water to flee with Ishmael to Egypt.
When Isaac was born it was an epic event in the lives of Sarah and Abraham. They celebrated and recognized the power of God in the situation. Abraham even held a celebratory feast when Isaac was weaned (Genesis 21:8).
Abraham was a proud father and understandably so. He was 100 years old when Isaac was born. I can only imagine what Isaac got away with because he knew his dad couldn’t catch him.
Anyway, Abraham was excited and filled with joy over this wonderful gift God had given to him. Then, the challenge happened.
God comes to Abraham and says, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and…offer him there as a burnt offering…” (Genesis 22:2) Remember, Ishmael was actually his first son, but Isaac was the son that was promised.
Can you imagine what Abraham was thinking? Put yourself in his sandals for a second. He is over 100 years old and finally received a son promised to him by God. The same God that was asking him to take the step to offer his son as a burnt offering. What?!
The crazy thing is, he does it. He accepts God’s request. I’m sure there was some trepidation on his part, but he led Isaac up a mountain anyway, for a sacrificial offering and was about to kill him, but God intervened! He gave Abraham a ram to kill instead as to be a replacement offering for Isaac.
Now, people often look at this as a sacrifice attempt of Isaac that God blocked just to test Abraham, but perhaps the sacrifice did occur all along? What if God was making sure an unnecessary sacrifice of a child wouldn’t take place?
I think Abraham had to sacrifice himself on that mountain. He had to let go of something near and dear to his heart and show God that He truly worshipped Him over any possession or person on earth. Abraham died to himself to reveal ultimate faith in His Creator.
What about us?
God is calling all of us to that mountain. We might have become too attached to some items or individuals in our lives that we have allowed to be a higher priority in our lives than our connection with God. There is nothing that should be placed above Him. He is asking us to bring our jobs, money, girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands, wives, families, cars, sports, and anything else that has become more important to the top and lay them down as an offering to Him.
He may or may not allow the full sacrifice of the object to take place, but He wants you to be willing to make the initial sacrifice of self in order to move into a more sacred relationship with the Almighty God.
The foundation of our faith is found in the death and resurrection of our Savior. In order for our faith to be complete, we must be willing to die to ourselves and trust the Lord to be guiding our life.
Abraham accepted the request to sacrifice. Have you?
May we be willing to respond to the call of God. May we be honest with ourselves about things or people we have a tight grip on that God is calling us to lay on the altar. May we find the foundation of our faith in the death of our self.
Peace and blessings friends.
QUESTION: What are you holding onto that needs to be taken to the mountain as an offering?