Abandonment: Abraham's Challenging Example
The story of Abraham has been on my heart and mind this last week, and was the focus of our Recent Staff Retreat. It’s worth a read: Gen. 12-22 is the core of the story, culminating in the story of Abraham and Isaac in ch.22. Each of us has an “Isaac” that God is calling us to sacrifice; a gift that we’ve been given and held on to for ourselves and our own fulfillment. Abraham, though, unlike us, has walked with the Lord (through chs. 12-21 before) and seen that when he disobeys, things don’t work out so well, but when he is obedient to God, things work out for the good. We can see even more in this, also. It is a matter of living according to the “truth” or “reality”. Abraham has seen God’s hand at work in the world and lives in that Truth, whereas Lot and others had lived according to simply the desires of the material, fleshly (carnal), and were brought to ruin or nearly to ruin. He lived according to a reality that was greater than the sensual world. What a great life of faith that was for Abraham! He came before the fullness of the Spirit and Church! Truly blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe. He had waited for and nurtured and hoped for Isaac. And yet the call for him to sacrifice him did not come out of nothing, but was born out of a life of faith and growing trust in the movements of God. Abraham knew that although it would hurt, it was right to obey. And yet, Abraham never stopped discerning God’s “hand” or “will”, but was always open to that still small voice (“The Lord will provide the sacrifice”) Have we journeyed with the Lord? Have we sought His Way? Do we trust Him? The question that comes to me is, “What are you holding on to (it’s probably not something bad like a vice or sin, but probably even something good – however, when the good gets in the way of the best it loses its goodness) that has been turned into something for our your own sake, and has become something that will cause you to be glorified rather than God? Can you entrust it to He that has worked all things for good for those who love Him, or will you hold onto it, knowing it will only become lifeless in your weak grasp. Will this gift, in the end, bring life or death to you and your family? A temporal death often brings eternal joy and life, whereas the opposite causes eternal sorrow and death. God wants us to be co-operators in His life always pointing at the “other”, and so Abraham was willing to die to himself, to expose his own weakness, so God could be his strength and Provider. The obedience of Abraham is a lesson in True Freedom I could stand to learn by experience “today” (which becomes every day).