Trust and Obey
“After these things God tested Abraham and said to him “Abraham! And he said,”Here I am.! And He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love,and go to the land of Moriah,and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” …When they came to the place of which God had told him,Abraham laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the alter,on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.” Genesis 22:1-2,9-10
As often as I have studied this passage I have struggled to understand on an emotional level how to align it to my belief in God as loving and kind. How do we make sense of the two main concepts that frame this narrative?
1. How could a loving God ask such a thing of Abraham?
2. How could Abraham actually set out to do this thing that God asked him to do?
In church last Sunday we watched a video depiction of these events. I was riveted by them. It was very quiet in the sanctuary as the words from the pages of our bibles leapt to life on a screen for us. To see facial expressions portraying grief when God asks Abraham to obey him, fear and confusion in Isaac when he realizes with horror why there is no animal for sacrifice-that in fact he is the sacrifice. Why would God demand something so difficult of someone He loves?
It was not until I considered this event within the context of covenant and kingdom that I finally understood what this passage is trying to teach me.
When we look at Abraham’s covenant relationship with God we see a man who truly understands that he has a new identity from that relationship. Not only did his name change-everything about him changed! No longer is he childless, elderly Abram destined to leave his fortune to a trusted servant after years of work. Now he is Abraham, a father with an heir and a belief in God’s promise that from Him will come offspring too numerous to count! He is secure and trusts God because God has proven He is trustworthy.
Abraham knows in his bones that God has kept every part of His word so far. Abraham’s new identity is a oneness with God himself! Abraham knows what God is really like and this understanding of the character of God gave him the ability to trust the outcome of even the hardest trial.
So what about us? How can we as believers today take this passage and apply it to our own lives?
We have been given new names by God and new covenant relationships to go along with them. That is our starting place. Our ability to obey God even in those times when we don’t see what possible good could come out of it-as Abraham must have felt, as well as our ability to trust Him in ALL situations will be far greater as our relationship with Him grows.
Abraham trusted and obeyed because he had seen and believed. Take a moment now and remember all the times God has provided for you in the past. Now turn those past examples into confidence that He’ll continue to be there in the future.