I have a bulletin board on my desk. What do you want from me? I have cinderblock walls and poster tabs don’t work well! Anyway…on that bulletin board I have a small piece of paper with a word on it.
God has revealed to me over the past few weeks that this is our word for the year. Over and over, He has been encouraging me to shift my perspective, and then…oh then! Let’s just say I shift my perspective and He blows. my. mind.
Check out Genesis chapter 22. This is a story you may or may not be familiar with. Let me lay some ground work–there was this guy named Abraham. Now, Abraham grew up among a people who worshiped through idols. But one day, the one true God spoke to Abraham and Abraham believed Him…and believed in Him. So, God keeps telling Abraham that Abe’s children are going to be God’s closest children, His chosen people. Great thought…one problem: Abe’s wife Sarah hasn’t had the first child. Oh, and Abraham is almost a hundred and Sarah, well all the Scripture tells us is that “the way of women had ceased to be” with her (Gen. 17:11).
Well, in a surprise twist…God means what He says! Sarah got pregnant and gave Abraham a son and an heir named Isaac. Now we’re to Genesis 22.
“…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’.”
Maggie. You just finished telling me about everything Abe and Sarah went through to get the kid from God and now you’re telling me that God wants the kid back?!? Whaaat?!?
Wait for it.
“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.”
Maggie! You’re telling me Abraham is actually going to do this ridiculous thing?!? And not only that…but he got up early to do it?
Wait for it.
“And Isaac said to his father Abraham, ‘My father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ He said, ‘Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’ Abraham said, ‘God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.’ So they went both of them together.”
Maggie…I don’t like this story. The guy isn’t only going to kill his son, but he lied to him about it? What kind of God is this?
Wait for it.
“…Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.’ And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns…”
Whew. That was close Maggie.
Wait for it.
You may have heard that story before; I know I have. And you may have been told and believed that the test was whether or not Abraham would obey God’s command to sacrifice his only son; I know I have. And maybe you’ve heard about the similarities between Abraham sacrificing his son and God sacrificing His Son on a cross; I know I have. But here’s what I’d never thought of before. This is the point where God stepped in this time…and shifted my perspective.
Abraham didn’t grow up under the God who is King of Kings and Loves His people. Abraham grew up in a different faith. Abraham grew up in a different land. Abraham grew up in Ur of the Chaldeans (in Babylonia) and then eventually moved to Haran. Passing through the lands he passed through and being familiar with the idols he would’ve been familiar with, Abraham had surely heard of human sacrifice. Specifically, the sacrifice of children was at least an understood aspect of the culture of the day.
So, what sounds grotesque to us, that a god would require the sacrifice of a child, was somewhat commonplace at the time. But this God? Our God?
This God asked asked for a culturally acceptable form of worship. This God asked to receive a gift He had given in the first place. This God said, “Abraham, I have a new thing planned. Will you trust it with the same fullness you trusted the old thing?”
Don’t jump past that, because it’s the point. When we come into a relationship with Jesus, we are made into a new thing (2 Cor. 5:17) and become a part of the new thing He is doing (Isa. 43:18-19). But to be a new thing…there has to be an old thing (proven by Paul’s pronouncement that the old thing has died in Col. 3:3).
Fam, we all trust something. We may trust the government (LOL), our friends, our spouses, our children, our parents, or even ourselves; but we all trust something. And when we come into a relationship with Jesus Christ, we are putting our trust in God through Jesus’ sacrifice (Prov. 3:5). However, I know this is true for me, so I dare to believe it will ring true for others: I don’t quite trust Jesus as much as I trusted myself, sometimes…lots of times…most times.
If you are in a period of your life where you feel like Abraham, like God is testing you, could I suggest to you that you search your heart and consider if you are trusting God with the trust you used to trust. When we come into a relationship with Jesus, we are going to receive opportunities to trust Him. That may sound like a glass-half-full kind of way to describe trials and bad days, but we do truly receive endless opportunities to trust Him. Are we going to trust Him in the new thing like we’ve trusted old things? Are we going to trust Him even just in a new season the way we trusted Him in the old season?
God is doing a new thing and He wants you to be a new person who is a new part of it! And (SPOILER ALERT) it is going to be amazing!!! Will you let Him let you be a part of it? Will you trust Him with a new trust?
Will you make the decision to–