Most of us are probably familiar with the story of Abraham offering up his son Isaac as a sacrifice in Genesis 22:1-19. Here God tested Abraham’s faith by commanding him to do what seems to be irrational and absurd. Abraham, though, obeyed without hesitation or delay. He trusted God even when he does not know the reason why God commanded him to do that.
When Abraham was about to kill his son, God intervened. It was only a test. And this “test” was not for God’s sake that he may know what is inside Abraham’s heart. It was really for Abraham’s sake that he may know who God is and confirm God’s gracious promises to him.
Since I have already studied this passage and preached from it, I already know how difficult it was for Abraham to bind his son on the altar and thrust the dagger into Isaac’s heart. He was not just Abraham’s son. He was his only son (in view of God’s promise although he already has Ishmael). He loves him dearly. I know that.
But now that I myself am a father to three-week old Daniel, I do not only know but feel how difficult that act of obedience was. While reading that passage yesterday as part of my daily Bible reading and until today, a lot of questions raced through my mind:
What if, like in Abraham’s case, God requires me to do something which seems absurd, crazy, or unreasonable?
Will I also trust God that he knows what he is doing?
Will I obey without hesitation, without delay, and without weighing my options (Option 1: Obey or Option 2: Disobey) ?
Do I treasure God above all things that I would be willing to give up something or someone so precious to me, if he requires it?
Will I try to negotiate with God and convince him to ask of me something with lesser degree of difficulty or something more manageable for me instead?
How well do I know God as the one who provides and strengthens me to do what he commands?
Will I tell God, “Yes, Lord,” instead of “You’ve got to be kidding me, Lord” or “No, Lord” (which is actually a contradiction if we know what calling him “Lord” means)?
May God be honored in my answers to these questions.