Did you know that the first time the word love appears in the Bible is in the twenty-second chapter of the book of Genesis? I would have thought it would have been in the first few chapters' right after God created Eve. I would have guessed it would have been Adam declaring his undying love for her, but I'd be wrong.
The first time it was used is when God told Abraham to take his son; his only son whom "You love" and go offer him as a burnt sacrifice!
If I were Abraham, I would have said something like, "You want me to do what?"
But not Abraham, he did not say a word. No questioning God about why, how, or when. His body language said it all. His response to the God whom he trusted was to rise early the next morning, ready his donkey, summon for a couple of his servants, and take his son, Isaac, on a three-day trip to the altar of sacrifice.
How many times has God said to me to go do something, something a whole lot less costly, and I asked Him why or how come? Too many to count, I fear. Even when I do what He asks of me, my slumped shoulders and pouting lips would give my unwilling heart away.
If I were Abraham, would I have left the next day? Probably not. Knowing me, I would first need to make up a list of things I needed to take, do the laundry, pack all my stuff, stop the mail and the newspaper deliveries, and make sure the plants were watered.
Then I would have to wash the car, fill it with gas, have the brakes checked out, the tires rotated, the spark plugs changed, perhaps even have them order a new transmission that would take weeks to arrive and more than a month to install.
After that, I would call all my friends and complain about the trip and how unfair it was that God should ask me to make such a sacrifice. I would beg for someone to go with me, but they would all be too busy with their own lives and offer me their thoughts and prayers, leaving me to make the dreadful trip alone.
I know I would send my son to my in-laws, who live five states away, for an extended vacation, or to a summer camp, better yet, I would send him to a private boarding school until he was at least twenty-five.
I would do anything to buy some extra time and postpone the trip as long as I could.
When the time came for me to hit the road, I would take the longest way and make the three-day trip into a thirty-year one. I wouldn't take any maps or my GPS device to tell me where or when to turn. By the time I made it to the altar with my son, he probably would be dead from old age!
But not Abraham, his steps of obedience were done swiftly. Without a word he packed up his most precious belonging and by faith, he made his way to do the will of God. When he reached his destination, he gathered with his own hands the wood needed for the burnt-offering and bound up his beloved son. In his own arms he carried his son to the altar and as a willing servant he offered up his sacrifice. It was only when he laid Isaac on the altar that God intervened and Abrahams test of faith and obedience was turned over to a ram caught in a thicket.
When we are tested, we should put on the body language of Abraham. As a willing servant we need to step out in obedience, with faith, knowing and believing God will intervene for us too. In fact when we get to the altar, we will find His most precious Lamb, His beloved Son, has already provided the sacrifice for us.
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