Driving down the road this past week one morning I really felt the Lord whisper, well actually shout, this promise to my heart. I was reminded in that moment of the story of Abraham and Isaac found in Genesis 22.
“Sometime later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
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.”
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. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 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.”
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?”
Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
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. 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!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
“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.”
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
There are so many awesome things about this story. To give you a little background information you must first know that Abraham was a successful livestock owner so when God asked him to take his son Isaac to the top of the mountain and provide a sacrifice he was first tested to make the first of many choices in which His obedience to the Lord would be revealed.
Abraham was a wealthy livestock owner (Abraham could have picked any livestock from His flock and taken it with him to the top of the mountain and it would have been enough, it would have been sufficient but God wanted it to go beyond enough, He wanted Abraham to see that if He would open his hands completely surrendering the journey to Him that He would provide greatness, He would provide more than what was sufficient.We read about the journey that Abraham and Isaac traveled and it wasn't like a 15 minute trip across town where he could catch a cab, it was a 3 day journey and estimated 50-60 miles. Imagine the emotions Abraham must have felt with each step he took knowing that he was going to travel for days and at the end of his journey he would have to sacrifice his son, his one and only son and child whom he loved so much.Imagine the worry and exhaustion his heart and mind must have felt because he knew what was ahead and what he had to do. The beauty of the story came though when Abraham got to the top of the mountain with Isaac and at exactly the right time God revealed a ram stuck in the thorns nearby and Isaac's life was spared.
With so many emotions and thoughts running through my head as we approach a difficult surgery in a few weeks its been so easy to be consumed with the journey ahead and the sacrifice I feel like the Lord is asking me to lay at the feet of His altar and surrender. The list of expectations I have placed on myself to prepare for this surgery is insane and I started to feel like how I imagine Abraham to have felt. Emotionally my heart was exhausted and I felt so much anxiousness. What if I wasn't strong enough, what if the house wasn't organized enough, what if people come to visit and I'm having a bad day? In the scheme of things did it really matter to God what Abraham brought to the altar tangibly? No, it was the concept of Abraham's obedience that God was after and for me this week I felt the Lord was saying that He doesn't expect me to do anything but surrender and walk forward on this journey in obedience and He will provide the perfect sacrifice. When Abraham was consumed with what he was going to lay at the altar God was merely preparing for what He was going to place in Abraham's empty hands. As we read on in the story God rewards Abraham for his faithfulness and obedience and pours out blessings over his life and multiplies Abraham's family so that Gods blessings could continue to have a rippling effect.
Right now I can’t see all the details, I can’t decode every part of the puzzle but what I know for certain is the Lords whispers over my life to not worry about whether my offering is the best but to surrender it fully. He will provide the blessing if only I make myself available to receive it.God doesn't want me to worry about the details of the journey but to instead focus on taking one step at a time and in the meantime He is excitedly preparing for the greatness He is planning to do and pour out over my life and onto others.