“…because thou hast obeyed my voice.” Genesis 22:18b
You can walk the Christian walk, you can talk the Christian talk, yet have a heart that is disconnected and far from God. Every calendar day that I make a conscious choice to “get on with my list of must-dos;” and I haven’t spent time in God’s word, I haven’t spent time with Him in prayer, and I haven’t acknowledge His glory – I have a heart that is disconnected and far from Him!
Your flesh will whisper; “Read your Bible later,” but God says; “Seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God…” Then Satan steps in with; “You’ve spent good chunks of time this week with the Lord. You’re not disconnected from Him---you have a closer walk than most.” God’s word teaches me that - “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9
When was the last time I asked God; “Show me what lays in my heart; show me what keeps me from being deluded and destroyed.” I am faced with the evidence of a deluded heart every day, as I defend myself over the smallest of things. Nothing escapes God’s notice! To trust our own heart is as foolish as to trust a quick-tempered lady to babysit our child. “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.” Proverbs 28:26
During my study of this particular verse, I researched the definition of a fool: he trusts his own heart, his own wisdom and counsels, his own strength and sufficiency, his own merit and righteousness, and the good opinion he has of himself. In contrast, I researched the definition of a wise woman and the comfort she experiences: she walks wisely, she trusts not her own heart but is humble and self-diffident, and goes on in the strength of the Lord God.
Imagine God saying; “Deborah, I want you to take two friends, and to journey for 4-days with your only son Caleb. This is a test – I want you to grow spiritually. And, these are the burnt-offering instructions---exactly as it was written long ago;”
1. A male animal without blemish
2. Offered voluntary by the owner
3. Killed and the blood sprinkled
4. Cut into pieces
5. Washed and burned
“I am ordering you to slaughter your own son. Follow Jewish customs; the Passover lamb will be kept for 4-days before killing it – precisely the time it will take you to reach your destination.”
So many times I have read this story, anticipated the happy ending and not been moved terribly much; not feeling the impact of Abraham’s obedience, not listening to the voice of God as He called His servant to do the impossible, and not moved in any life-changing way – until now! “And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” Genesis 22:2
The two highest points in Abraham’s life were; believing God concerning the supernatural birth of his son, and believing God concerning the supernatural resurrection of his son.
To observe Abraham’s faith is very convicting for me; even though Abraham fully intended to sacrifice Isaac, he believed God would raise him from the dead. He was a faith-filled man who transferred his faith onto his son; “And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.” Genesis 22:8
How am I transferring my faith onto our son? Never has any gold been tried in so hot a fire for me personally, as it was for Abraham. Faith had taught Abraham not to argue with God, but to obey Him. What confirms my faith daily?
Isaac was not a child when he journeyed with his father; the Bible reveals he was a full grown man (upward of 20-years of age), who willingly allowed his old father to tie and bind him to a death altar. “Isaac, thou art the lamb which God has provided!” Abraham, no doubt, was comforting Isaac with the same hopes with which he himself, by faith, was comforted. This was not one of those happy father-son moments. Can you picture a pain-filled Father after many a weary step---now finally arriving to a predetermined place. With a heavy heart he builds a death altar. There must have been tears, followed by a display of trust between Abraham and his son.
This frightened and confused world asks; “Where is that Lamb? Where do we look for our salvation?” Some look for this Lamb in various directions:
a. The Lamb of Education
b. The Lamb of Good Works
c. The Lamb of the U.N
d. The Lamb of Baptism
e. The Lamb of Church Membership
The Lamb has come, and Genesis 22 represents the love of God to us, in delivering up his only-begotten Son to suffer and die for us as a sacrifice. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
If we walk the Christian walk, and talk the Christian talk, and believe our heart is connected to God, then we must tread in the steps of Abraham’s faith and allow his godly example to be transferred onto our own lives. God, by His Word, calls us to part with ALL for Christ,--all our sins; though they have been as a right hand, or a right eye, or an Isaac--all those things that are competitors and rivals with Christ for the sovereignty of the heart “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26; and we must cheerfully let them all go.
These false lambs that the world look toward, also represent anything we are not prepared to let go of; it’s characterized as an obstruction between us and God, or a hedge we build AND MAINTAIN, that inhibits God’s perfect will for our lives. Obedience is the key to letting go, and trust is the open door to an “Abraham-like Faith.” Yes, sometimes the impossible must be embraced---but the impossible is our fear factor, not the reality of what we must sacrifice.
Fear is a roadblock in our faith’s journey. If we can’t let go, it’s because we won’t let go!
God, by His providence (which is truly the voice of God), calls us to part with an Isaac sometimes, and we must do it with a cheerful resignation and submission to His holy will.
This morning I prayed that God would show me the Isaac in my life; I don’t want anything that controls my heart more than God’s presence. To be spirit filled is an exercise of the mind, obedience to His Word, and an exercised faith that applies the discipline necessary to press on and overcome areas in our lives that keep our hearts self-sufficient and independent of God.
We all follow the path of least resistance and of least commitment. The battle is in our minds EVERY DAY! It is part of our DNA. We must fight this and not just resolve ourselves to do better---that resolve to do better will soon dissolve. DO RIGHTEOUSLY!
Everyday I ask God; “Is this pleasing to you?” If Jesus were to knock on my door, what would I hide before I unlocked the latch? Would I be exposed for what I truly am? And each day I realize, Jesus resides in my heart. He already lives in my home---and anything I do, any word I speak; every act of obedience or disobedience, either outwardly, or inwardly---deep within the chambers of my heart - it either pleases Him or possibly grieves Him.
"Is there a heart that will not bend
To thy divine control
Descend, O sovereign love, descend,
And melt that stubborn soul! " Charles Spurgeon
We will not obey God until we believe Him. To disbelieve is to disobey! One of the first signs of practical obedience is found in the obedience of the mind, the understanding, and the heart; and this is expressed in believing the teaching of Christ, trusting in His work, and resting in His salvation. Faith is the morning star of obedience. If we would work the work of God, we must believe on Jesus Christ whom He hath sent.
I Love you,