Before God

 

After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 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.” Genesis 22:1, 2

Have you ever wondered why God chose Isaac to test Abraham’s faith? God could have tested Abraham through his wife, his herds, or his possessions (think of the rich young ruler who Jesus spoke with). But God asked for Abraham’s son. The writer of the Book of Hebrews tells us Abraham’s faith was made evident by his willingness to sacrifice his Promised Son.

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. Hebrews 11:17-19

Abraham and Sarah, his wife, were very old when she at last gave birth to Isaac. I believe Abraham became overwhelmed by his love for the son that God promised him so many years before. If you have children you may have an idea of what Abraham was experiencing. I remember holding my first-born daughter just a few minutes after she was born. As she lay in my arms and looked into her eyes I became captivated by my love for her. In fact, it has been difficult to keep my love for her in check.

Allow me a moment to explain. I am a firm believer that the best way to love my daughter(s) is to love my wife unconditionally. It is easy to love both of my daughters. I find it more difficult to put my wife’s needs or desires before my own and those of my daughters. But my little girls need to see me put my wife before the rest of us. Sometimes I struggle with this, and sometimes I believe we do this to God. My love for my family can sometimes creep on God’s turf in my heart.

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Abraham went through something similar. He finally had this son, and his love for his son began to take over his life. This son was the manifestation of God’s promise in Abraham’s life. This son quickly became Abraham’s everything. And God would not take a backseat to Isaac in Abraham’s heart. So he called Abraham to sacrifice his son.

I try to imagine what Abraham went through as he travelled knowing what he was being asked to do. The thoughts Abraham must have been thinking as he watched his son on this short pilgrimage. It tears at my heart to think of what I would do if God called me to do the very same thing.

We can often put others and even objects before God. The biblical account of Abraham’s test of faith is a reminder to us that we should never allow anyone or anything to become more important in our lives than God. God was willing to sacrifice his son so we could become his children. His love for us is greater than our love for anyone, and we can only learn to love by learning from him. We can love our families best when we love God first.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

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About Mitchell Norton
My life was changed when God saw fit to forgive me of my rebellion against him. I am not worthy of a righteous God, and I am thankful that he reached out to me. My walk with the Lord has lead me to understand that loving others is just as important as loving God. I am a husband to a beautiful wife, father to an adorable daughter (and one on the way!), and servent of the Gospel. I am not perfect, but one day I will be. "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and has made the Lord his hope and confidence." - Jeremiah 17:7

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