“Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham!'”
See Genesis 22:10-11
When we allow Jesus to live through us we have some very tough decisions to make. Sometimes God asks us to do pretty scary things according to our old mindsets; stuff our old way of thinking would say is not directed by Him. But in our spirits we know it’s God asking us to move forward in certain situations, and at other times we know He’s telling us to just wait. These situations are meant to test us, strengthen us, and hone our complete trust in Him.
He will ask us to do certain things which seem counterproductive to our faith. However, God is not bound by time. He is panned all the way out so He can see the beginning from the end. He knows what choices will lead to what results. So we trust Him even when we don’t understand, and even when it’s uncomfortable and scary. To be clear, it is our old way of thinking that is uncomfortable and scared, not us. We have everything we need for life and godliness as we are! (See 2 Peter 1:3). Our minds are catching up to these facts!
Maybe the greatest example of God asking someone who loves and respects Him to do something petrifying, is Abraham. Abraham’s trusting words and actions toward God were unprecedented–you’ll see why.
In the book of Genesis, Abraham and Sarah, whom God had promised would have many descendants, had none. To make matters worse they were getting old. God told Abraham, “I will make you the father of many nations. I will make you fruitful. Your descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the sky and sand on the seashore” (see Genesis 17 and 22).
The problem was, Sarah was barren.
So year after year after year went by, and both Sarah and Abraham got very old–still, no biological children. They even tried to rush God’s plan at one point and got a microwaved blessing: a child with their maidservant.
Sarah talked Abraham into sleeping with Hagar and he obliged, resulting in Ishmael being born. But this artificial solution to God’s supposed procrastination only caused more problems for them. Ishmael wasn’t God’s best idea, He planned on Issac being born at just the right time!
Long story short, Sarah finally got pregnant as a super old lady. Abraham was exactly 100 years old when Issac was born! They thought it was so funny that a senior citizen would be nursing a newborn, they laughed as Sarah did just that! (See Genesis 21:6-7). The name Issac means laughter!
This new baby boy was looked upon as very special, to say the least. Issac was treated like a prince! After all these years they finally got what was promised! Just imagine if something happened to him. Imagine if God decided to test Abraham by removing Issac from his life…forever. That’s exactly what happened.
God asked Abraham to do the unthinkable, to sacrifice his son as an offering. Keep in mind, this story is BC, Jesus wasn’t born yet. He hadn’t gone to the Cross to be the final blood sacrifice, therefore God still required a sacrifice for sin. This was normally the blood of animals, but that day God asked Abraham to offer up his son.
Obviously Abraham didn’t want to do such a thing. I can picture him pleading his case in agony, “God, you said I would be a father of many nations and then you give me my son in just the nick of time! Now you want to take him away?! Why!?”
Whether or not God gave Abraham a reason, the Bible doesn’t say, but this unthinkable request by God should set the tone in our own lives. This seemingly unfair petition from God to Abraham should remind us that when we are doing our very best to trust God, but yet He still asks us to do something which seems unthinkable, we are not alone. This started a long time ago.
However, when we are doing things which go against our heaven-ready spirits–making tons of poor choices that don’t match up with who we are–it’s hard to decipher such difficult requests as being from heaven or hell. This is why it’s so important to be yourself as a saint! This is why it’s so important to have attitudes and actions of a child of God! First, because that’s who you are, and second, because that’s what keeps your mind clear! (See 1 John 3:1, Philippians 4:8).
Friend, sometimes God wants you to take that one thing or that one person–who or what you’re finding your identity in other than Christ–and He wants you to hand it over to Him. We simply have to trust Him, and do it. Your identity is not in that thing or person anyway. God is trying to get you to focus on who you truly are by trusting Him! He’s trying to get your attention centered on the truth of your identity, and He wants to get your priorities in order!
Sometimes these acts seem unthinkable, but move forward and do it–or, stay still and wait if He’s asking you to. Your heart will reveal what to do, that is, if you’re a Christian. If you’re not a Christian, listening to your heart is the worst thing you can possibly do.
So Abraham made his way up the mountain with his son, built an altar, bound Issac and placed him on it. Shaking, distraught, terrified…he lifted the knife up high above his head…and just as he was about to slay his beloved son an angel said, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
“Don’t kill your son. Now I know you respect God because you didn’t even withhold your son from Him. There’s a ram caught in a bush over there, use it as your sacrifice” (see Genesis 22).
God provided a way in the midst of doing the unthinkable! At the eleventh hour, when all seemed lost, God provided a way! God showed Abraham what real trust in Him is! Because of this event, Abraham named that mountain, The Lord Will Provide.
So today, my friends, know this: The Lord will provide! Trust Him when He asks you to do something unthinkable! It’s only unthinkable to your old thinking anyway! When He reveals to you who you really are, believe Him! When He teaches you your true identity, live it out! This will require you to act on His promptings, promptings which may seem way off base according to your unrenewed mindsets. But trust Him and trust yourself! Be yourself and listen to your heart! Your heart is good and God lives there!
A prayer for you: Dad, today I want to thank you for my new heart. When I first believed Jesus forgave me as a young boy, you took out my old, sinful heart, and you gave me a new, perfect heart. You’ve revealed the truth, that I don’t have a wicked heart–no Christian does. Your Word tells us this in Ezekiel 36:26. Because of this new heart I can trust myself! Because of this new heart I want to trust you as you guide me into unthinkable acts! Acts in which I’d never be able to go forward with if I was not strengthened by your spirit! Acts of unconditional forgiveness for those who hurt me! Acts of giving up addictions! Acts of loving the unlovable! Acts of kindness toward those who blatantly use me! Acts of being able to establish healthy boundaries in order to protect myself! Acts of being confident in who you’ve made me to be! Please do the same for all of these dear readers as you guide them into the same unthinkable things! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 2. Get your copy here!