READING: Genesis 21-23, Matthew 7:7-8:13
It’s difficult for us to understand why God demanded that Abraham sacrifice his son, Isaac. There’s so much in this story, though, we don’t want to miss. God demanded the sacrifice, but He also provided a substitutionary ram to die in Isaac’s place—foreshadowing the coming of Christ, who died in our place as God’s sacrificial Lamb. God demanded much, but He always gave more.
Moreover, we see Abraham’s faith throughout this story, especially as the writer of Hebrews later helps us understand that faith. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his own son, but he was ready to take that step of obedience because he believed God would keep His word to bring a great nation through Isaac: “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” (Heb 11:17-19). Should God have required Isaac’s death, Abraham was convinced God would raise him again in order to fulfill His promises. Indeed, Abraham even said as he and Isaac made their way up the mountain that they would worship and then return (Gen 22:5), and he believed God would provide the “lamb for a burnt offering” (Gen 22:8).
Having faith, though, doesn’t always make following God easier. Abraham believed God, but surely he wrestled emotionally with obedience as he walked up the mountain with his son. You see, faith is a moment-by-moment, step-by-step process that requires ongoing obedience. Obeying is always best, but obeying is not always easy.
PRAYER: “God, through the indwelling power of Your Spirit, enable me to follow You well today.”
DAILY ACTION STEP: If obedience to God is costly to you today, obey Him anyway. He will keep His Word.
TOMORROW’S READING: Genesis 24-25, Matthew 8:14-9:8