Sunday service, Michael Ngubane, 04 Feb 2018
1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Here we see who God is and what He is like. His ways are so different to our ways. If God wants to work through you He will walk a way with you. But obedience is essential. If we look at the life of Abraham, it is obvious that God and Abraham had walked a long way together.
In the beginning God called Abraham and he left his country and family and was obedient to God’s call. And after continuing in God’s way God tested him yet again by telling him to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham did not consult with flesh and blood but simply obeyed. There are certain things God speaks to you and you must not discuss it with others but simply obey. Those who obey God do not have many questions. They are determined to arise in obedience. Abraham did not consult his wife, because she could have influenced him with many questions.
God has maybe spoken to many, but has given up on them because they were disobedient. Have you been obedient to God?
Abraham never questioned God with questions such as, “Lord, I have been so faithful to you, how can you expect this thing from me? How can you expect me to sacrifice my son, the son of the promise?” There was nothing like that in Abraham’s life.
We read that on the third day Abraham saw the place afar off. Then he left the servants behind and he and Isaac went along. It was similar to when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane. He only took certain disciples along and even then He left them and prayed alone – while they slept.
Abraham only wanted one thing – to be obedient to God. There are many things you might gladly give up, but then there are things that are too precious and you refuse to give them up. Many people will actually sacrifice much in order to avoid being obedient to God’s Word. But many sacrifices won’t help until you obey. The Bible says that the sin of disobedience is as the sin of witchcraft (1Sam 15:23).
But hear the word that came from heaven as Abraham was doing God’s will, “Now I know that you fear God”. God declared that Abraham had passed the test.
Have you surrendered all? Jesus went to the cross not because of His own sin, but for our sin that we might be set free from sin. What are you still withholding? What are you still clinging to? God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son to save us (John 3:16). If you abide in your sin you abide in death. But if you come to Jesus and surrender all, you will find Life.