Genesis 22:1-14 Psalm 13 Romans 6:12-23 Matthew 10:40-42
I have heard it said that preachers need not ever speak about their own personal sacrifice. You know the kind that involves giving up a lucrative job and making money hand over fist. I hear about this idea that preachers need not speak of personal sacrifice when it comes to tithing to the church. It seems that when people hear about tithing they get upset. There are people, who don’t want to be told what to do with their money, yet they allow peer pressure or slick marketing campaigns to tell them how to spend their money!
Yet, even the ideas of sacrificing a career to preach or to sacrificially give ten percent of our gross income does not come near the sacrifice that Abraham was called to give. Abraham was called to offer his own son on an altar to the Lord. Now I know there are times that our children are quite aggravating. From the time they learn to speak till the time they are living on their own, they can make some foolish choices. Their choices really bring heartache and frustration to us.
In the case of Abraham, he was quite pleased with his son Isaac. He had waited years for a son to be born. He had even listened to his wife and sent his other son, Ishmael, away. Now, God is asking Abraham to go even further.
1. Abraham had a history of listening to God.
Abraham listened to God. He traveled from the Ur of Chaldea to Canaan. He heard God’s promise of a son and a great number of descendants. He trusted God to deliver Lot from the destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah. Strangely, he listened to Sarah and to God and sent Ishmael away. Abraham even dealt with compassion and truth with Abimelech (21:22-34).
Abraham had faith in God. He went where God told him to go. He lived in the place that God directed him to live. He even had dealings with people that were not like him. Yet, through it all, Abraham kept on trusting in God. Then Abraham has this test.
2. Abraham is tested by God (Genesis 22:1-9)
Abraham is to take your only son, whom you love, to Moriah, & sacrifice him. So he travels from the area of Hebron to Moriah, specifically Mt. Moriah. It took them three days to get there. He left his 2 young men with the donkey. He told the servants, “We will go over there, worship God, and then we will come back.” Yet, Isaac asked“Where is the burnt offering?” Abraham tells Isaac, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering.” Here we see that Abraham still has a good amount of trust in God. He takes a while to get to Mt. Moriah, but he goes on anyway. When they separate from the 2 young men, Abraham is still looking toward God.
3.God provided for Abraham (Genesis 22:10-14)
Just as Abraham is about to offer his son, God intervenes. God provides a ram for the sacrifice! God repeats his promise to Abraham (Genesis 22:15-18) that says by Abraham’s offspring, the nations of the earth will be blessing.
It is interesting that Mt. Moriah is the site of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem! Later in time, we see that Jesus was offered up outside Jerusalem, for our sins! If we believe Jesus is the Son of God who died for us, then we will survive this test that is life. We will be blessed because we have trusted God, just like Abraham trusted God. And we will see that nothing and nobody can come between us and our faith in God. That is even though we love our children, they need not keep us from trusting in God. Even the promises that we have from God cannot come between us and our faith in God.
No, sacrificing a career to become a preacher is not as great as trusting God with our very lives. And no, learning to give the first 10% of everything you make to God, is not as great as living God’s way for the rest of your days.
Abraham was tested. Was he going to allow the love he had for his son Isaac come between him and God? That test is also the test we face in life.
Will we allow our children, our parents, our career, our hopes, and our dreams to come between us and God? Will we give up everything we have and that we are, so that we may live our faith in God?
I want to point out that there is no promise of greatness for us when place out trust in God. The only reward we are seeking is unhindered faith in God. What is God asking you to give up, so that you may see all that God has for you?