Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you. Genesis 22:2
The pain Abraham faced when God told him to offer Isaac as a burnt offering must have seemed unbearable. In her book, The Magnificent Obsession, Anne Graham Lotz gives insight into how valuable Isaac was to Abraham when she writes, “Isaac was more than Abraham’s only son; he was the son of promise. The son he had prayed for and longed for and waited a lifetime for and for whom he had left everything twenty-five years earlier in order to claim God’s promise. All of Abraham’s hopes and dreams were wrapped up in Isaac. The fullness of God’s blessings and future purpose for Abraham were so entwined with the life of Abraham’s son that to sacrifice Isaac would be like sacrificing himself.”
Just as Abraham saw Isaac as the son of promise, there are things we see God has put in our lives in order to answer us, to bless us, and to fulfill His promises to us. And the very moment we come to fully love and appreciate and value these things is often also the time God commands us to give them up. This can cause pain, disappointment, and grief, as I imagine it did for Abraham, and the temptation arises to cling to that which God has called us to release.
Despite heartbreaking emotion, “Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.” He was obedient and fully intended to carry out the command of God, having no expectation that God would allow Isaac to live. As Abraham stretched out his hand to kill his son, God provided a ram to take Isaac’s place and swore He would bless Abraham for his obedience.
God demands of us the same thing He demanded of Abraham, that we lay down everything, including and especially that which is most precious to us, and follow Him. He provided Abraham with a ram, and He has also provided for us in the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus says in Matthew 16, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
Think about Abraham’s journey through the peaks of Moriah with his precious son and ask yourself what is most valuable to you. Is it your appearance? Your health? Your money? A relationship? Your plans for the future? A job? Happiness? Success? Independence? Acceptance? Whatever it is, are you willing to give it up for the sake of Christ? Look to Abraham’s humble obedience as an example, and lay everything down in confidence of God’s faithful provision to those who follow Him in complete abandonment of themselves.