Sunday, March 2, 2014
Who Will Be Blessed for My Obedience?
Ted and I had explored this story, in depth, on several occasions. We've had the pleasure of dissecting it with a dozen friends gathered in our living room for a Genesis study. Most of us have heard this story many, many times since childhood. Yet new observances keep opening the way for me to grasp more and more of God's grace each time.
God tests (but does not tempt), and He gave Abraham the supreme test. Was he willing to sacrifice his only son, whom he dearly loved? (Gen. 22) His prior experiences had brought him to a level of faith where he did not waiver, but did exactly as he was told -- until the angel of the Lord urgently called out to stop him! He then caught a ram in the thicket and offered it in place of his son -- a burnt offering -- a symbol of surrender.
Because Abraham did not withhold anything from God, even his long-awaited, beloved son, God knew he was "all in." Because of Abraham's obedience, not only was he blessed, but all nations on earth would be blessed!
This story foreshadows the Greatest Sacrifice, and we know that God did not withhold His only beloved Son either. The ram in the thicket foreshadows the Lamb of God taking our place on the cross, offering full and complete forgiveness and the awesome gift of eternal life with our Creator.
This is the most beautiful story on so many levels. It takes years and years, and multiple readings of this story for it to sift into my brain to a more full comprehension.
In the ancient times, people would sit around with their families and extended families and tell these miraculous stories and relive the blessings, time after time. Today, we have that same privilege -- if we choose to do it -- to sit around with family and friends -- in living rooms, church gatherings or around campfires -- and chew on these stories, sift these words, ponder these truths together to reap the blessings for obedience in our own lives.
If Abraham would not withhold his only son from God... and if God would not withhold his only Son from us... can I surrender in trust the lives and the futures of my own beloved children and grandchildren into God's very capable hands?
In full confidence, Abraham told his servants (v. 5) "we will come back to you." The same way, I can know with complete confidence that the Lord is guiding and providing for each of them through the complicated and sometimes treacherous paths of our lives.
If, because of Abraham's obedience, his whole family and all nations on earth were blessed, who will be blessed because of MY obedience? Or, said another way, who will not be blessed if I don't fully obey?
Lord, I want the kind of faith that pleases you. I want to fully obey so that you can fully bless. I want to live the life of full surrender and obedience that gives you all the glory.
Who will likely share in the blessings for YOUR obedience?