“After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him” (Genesis 22:1-3 ESV).
Yesterday we looked at Lot and his hesitation to leave his old life behind. It is easy to understand his reluctance. Sure, Sodom was a wicked place. But it was his home, in the fertile valley he had chosen to settle. But God had not made a covenant with Lot as He had with Abraham. Lot was invested in himself, while Abraham was committed to God.
The angels had to pull Lot and his family out of Sodom to save their lives. Abraham was given a heart-wrenching command from his covenant partner; he was told to offer up his son Isaac, the child of promise, as a burnt offering. And while Lot lingered over the decision to leave everything behind to save his life, and the lives of his family, Abraham didn’t flinch, even though Isaac was everything to him.
Have you ever felt that there was something that you knew God wanted you to do, but you hesitated? You lingered in the hope that God would let you off the hook. You thought that if you put it off a bit longer God would choose someone else. Not so with Abraham.
We have no indication that Abraham ran this plan past Sarah before he packed up. He didn’t consider waiting until after lunch. He rose early. He gave himself no wiggle room. He knew what he had to do, and he set about obedience. Perhaps he knew that his tendency toward avoiding conflict (he more than once let Sarah be taken as wife of a ruler to avoid putting himself in peril!) would kick in and keep him from doing all that God had asked of him. Perhaps his faith saw past this act to the fulfillment of God’s covenant with him. Whatever the case, Abraham got an early start on the day. He didn’t look back.
Are you a Lot or an Abraham? Is your obedience tied to what you possess, or to a comfortable life? Or does your faith look beyond the cost of obedience to the promise?