“Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. “Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.” “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.” The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. “Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.” So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together, Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” “God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together. When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!” “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” Then the angel of the Lord called again to Abraham from heaven. “This is what the Lord says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies.”
Genesis 22:1-17 NLT
If I were to ask every one of you individually if you love the Lord most of you in my audience would respond that you do, without even a doubt about it. You’d probably even have a reason for why you responded as enthusiastically as you did. But what does loving the Lord look like from His perspective? It may not look or be the same to us. Genuine heartfelt love will be tested, as a matter of fact, to prove its authenticity it MUST be tested. True love, just like faith or trust, will be tested in some way as long as we are in a relationship with someone.
The backstory to what we just read is that factually, Abraham had two sons. One (Ishmael) was born out of a hasty decision by Sarah who demonstrated a lack of utter disregard for the promise God had made Abraham and her, despite their ages, and chose rather to fulfill God’s promise their way. See Genesis chapters 16-18. But scriptures have proven time and again that will never change His Word or break His covenant because we choose to be impatient. He will only obligate Himself and remain faithful to what He has promised. In Psalm 89 we read these words.
“But I will never stop loving him nor fail to keep My promise to him. No, I will not break My covenant; I will not take back a single word I said. I have sworn an oath to David, and in My holiness I cannot lie:”
Psalms 89:33-35 NLT
He was referring to the promise He had made to David. But it stands as proof that every Word He speaks is backed up by His faithfulness. I love the last line: In My holiness I cannot lie. They, like us, have no reason to second guess God. Still in our haste and impatience in waiting, we do. So before we make a declaration of how much we love the Lord let’s consider the cost.
If you’re married or divorced, or have been involved in any relationship with someone, at some point in that relationship one or both of you have had that vow you made, till death do you part, tested many times. Those who pass the test remain together for better or worse, those who don't, left sometimes for what they thought was better (speaking to married couples) or for other reasons. Abraham had a lot riding on his obedience. This test would prove his love, trust, loyalty and his character. If he passed this test then he could be trusted with the enormity of the covenant God was about to fulfill through him. The question for us is….Do you love Him enough to offer up your only?
Here are some more questions to ask yourself since you have declared your love for Him.
Do you love Him enough to change your plans for His?
Do you love Him enough to go where He sends you? Say what He tells you and do exactly what He asks?
Do you love Him enough to wait as long as it takes to receive what He’s promised?
Do you love Him enough to deny yourself take up your cross (take ownership of your commitment) and follow Him completely.
Do you love Him enough to leave the familiarity of your comfort zone, the predictable, to go to your Mount Moriah the place of sacrificing your only?
True loyalty and love must be tested. The unknown is what causes us to believe that we can help God out. We ask ourselves “How is He going to do it? When is He going to do it? Why is it taking so long? Maybe He forgot about me?” Those questions destroy trust in love. That’s the distraction of the enemy to bring about an inferior substitute for the promise. He creates doubt where there should be total trust and abandonment of all impatience and anxiety. The Psalmist wrote;
“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!”
Psalms 42:11 NLT
Whenever God asks for our only, it’s to prove our loyalty and trust in Him. Nothing else hurts the heart of the Father more than unbelief in the lives of His children. We readily say we love Him but how much? He asked Peter this haunting question three times. “Do you love Me more than these?” Then He followed up with this directive “feed My sheep” He asked until Peter was honest in his response. “Lord, you know!” And He does. Peter, not unlike us, was giving a rote response based on emotion. He was being cautious due to his failure in acknowledging that he was a disciple of Jesus. He hadn’t fully come to terms with what it costs to give his only to follow Jesus. And I don’t think we have either, especially here in America. We have no idea what we’re willing to sacrifice until we must. See John 21:15-20
What if your only is your lIfe? Do you love Him that much? What if your only is something or someone you had waited for for a long time? Do you love Him enough to part with it? What is your only? When God told Abraham to take his only son Isaac, as I mentioned earlier he had two, but this sacrifice, this only was 24 years in waiting for the manifestation. And just when he and Sarah had settled in, enjoying the promise, God said offer him to Me. So what’s your only? Are you, because of your professed love for Him ready and willing like Abraham to give it back to Him? Love, if it’s genuine, will always say yes! It will pass the test.
Is your only unforgiveness, unbelief, anxiety, loneliness, fear, skepticism, jealousy, greed, immorality? Whatever your only is, God is calling you to a mountain called Moriah to sacrifice it there to Him. He wants you to descend with a better perspective than when you ascended. He has a replacement for your hang ups. He doesn’t want us to have any other gods before Him. Abraham finally realized what it meant to love the Lord above his only. Every disciple of Christ must come to this place of abandonment. Here’s another test of our love. And I’ll close with it.
What if God asked you to give Him all the money you have in your bank account. I hear some of you saying that’s easy. I have no money in the bank, but what if he asked you for that entire check you’re dependent on every month, would you? Singles, what if God asked you to remain single and just live for Him. Could you? Whatever we cannot part with when He asks us is our god. True love demands sacrifice. So what is your only? Are you ready and willing to offer it? He’s about to ask you for it.
Father in the Name of Jesus Christ , we ask you for the grace to willingly give our only without hesitation. You in your love for us didn’t hesitate to offer up Your only Son Jesus as a sacrifice for our sin. Today in gratitude for all You’ve done we confidently place all we have and are at your feet. Thank you for demonstrating selfless love and for giving us examples in Your Word of men and women who were willing to give their only. In Jesus Name.🙏
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit.
February 3, 2023