Posted by: bellissimanh | April 18, 2009

Just Do It!

My last post found Abraham being told by the Lord to take his one and only son, whom he loved, and sacrifice him on Mt. Moriah. Talk about a sacrifice of praise!

Today’s verse casts a spotlight on Abraham’s obedience… and his faith.

So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.   (Genesis 22:3)

The first four words of this passage challenge and convict me deeply. “So Abraham rose early…”

Can you put yourself in his shoes? Imagine the Lord coming and asking you to surrender your most treasured posession. He tells you the place to which you will bring this immeasurable sacrifice and lays out what is required.

I don’ t know about you, but I hardly think I would be rising early to obey. I would pull my pillow over my head in an attempt to drown out the crowing of the roosters. I would use anything I could find to shield my eyes from the daybreak threatening to impose its harsh realities on me. Even after I was out of bed, I imagine I would find a hundred things around the house that had to be done before we could leave for our trip. I can see myself making a list of staples to take on the journey and going over it a hundred times (just to be sure we had everything, of course).  I would linger over the breakfast table and maybe even volunteer to clean up and do the dishes for once. Anything to postpone the inevitable. I suspect I would find a hundred ways to procrastinate, hoping the Lord might change His mind and tell me it was all a mistake… that I had heard Him wrong. Something. Anything.

But not Abraham. He rose early and set about putting into motion the plans his God had given him… even though it must have been ripping his heart out to do so. Even though it must have been beyond comprehension… even though it must have seemed that what the Lord was requiring was in contradiction to what He had promised Abraham. What a great example he offers to me!

I have learned that delayed obedience is nothing more than disobedience. When the Lord calls me to do something, He is looking for me to respond, not to rationalize. He’s looking for me to perform what He’s asked, not procrastinate. He wants to see me follow through, rather than find another way. My best course of action is to rise early and set about His instructions… to put on my Nike’s and “Just Do It!”

Father, help me to follow Abraham’s example and be faithful to carry out the instructions You’ve given me, rather than to find a way to get around them or put off the hard things. Help me to walk by faith and not by feelings. Help me to walk forward in confidence, knowing that if You have called me to it, You will equip me to carry it out!

(this is an aside – but I’m curious. Do you suppose Abraham kissed Sarah goodbye that morning and struggled with whether or not to tell her about the true purpose of his trek across the valley?)

In the last segment, I promised to share with you how I think the Lord may have prepared Abraham for this moment. If we back up a chapter, we find the following:

9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, scoffing. 10 Therefore she said to Abraham, “Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac.” 11 And the matter was very displeasing in Abraham’s sight because of his son. (Gen. 21:9-11)

This wasn’t the first time Abraham had been faced with losing a son. Although Ishmael was not the son of promise, he was no less Abraham’s flesh and blood. Can you imagine how difficult it must have been for the patriarch, torn between his wife and his son? How it must have broken his heart to cast out his firstborn? Yet it was only a taste of the emotions he would face on that fateful day in Chapter 22, when asked to lay down His precious Isaac. 

My own experience has proven to me that there is a distinct purpose in everything the Lord does. My sister-in-law was involved in a horrendous car accident many years ago. Her life hung in the balance and we were called to the hospital in the middle of the night more than once to say goodbye as they feared her time was short. During that time, our family learned how to bond together during crisis. We learned patience and trust as we waited on the Lord to work in the situation. We spent many hours in hospital waiting rooms, learning that time passed more quickly if we found ways to minister to those around us.  The Lord healed my sweet sister-in-law and while she bears the scars of her ordeal, she is a walking miracle. We praise Jesus for being who He is, and for what He has done in her life… and we saw it all as a tribute to His sovereign care over us.

What we didn’t realize was that He would use those weeks in the hospital with my SIL to prepare us for many more months  spent in a hospital… not with the life of extended family hanging in the balance, but that of our own daughter.  The Lord was merciful and healed Jasmine as well, but those were some difficult days, let me tell you. Yet in looking back, I can clearly see how the Lord used my SIL’s car accident to prepare us for the coming months that would be spent in a Shriner’s Burn Center, surrendering my own child to the Lord and learning with each passing moment what it meant to really trust Him.  I know the Lord must have used the ordeal of having to send Ishmael away to prepare Abraham’s heart for the ultimate surrender of Isaac.

This chapter in Genesis was my favorite long before that tragedy struck my family…. but oh, how closely I identify with it now! Having been to a place where I was completely at His mercy, with nothing left to do but surrender to His will and rest in knowing that regardless of how things seemed to me, I can promise you this — HE IS FAITHFUL.

Someone today needs to hear that word. He may deliver you from your circumstances. He may deliver you through them. He may deliver you out of them… but never forget it.

He. Is. FAITHFUL.

Whatever you’re facing, let that be the anchor for your soul. Wrap yourself around it. Trust it. Rest in it. Cling to it.

Cling to the Mighty One, Cling in thy grief
Cling to the Holy One, He gives relief
Cling to the Gracious One, Cling in thy pain
Cling to the Faithful One, He will sustain.

(Kevin Twit – contemporary hymn writer)

 

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Responses

  1. So profound what a great write up !

  2. Beautiful insight, Heather. I had never thought about the Lord using the Hagar and Ishmael incident to prepare Abraham for the Isaac near-sacrifice.

    Love that our God is always prepared and always preparing us!

    Leah

  3. Heather,
    I needed this today. Although it may be for others, it was definitely for me. I’m going to print this off and meditate on it today. Thank You for allowing the Holy Spirit speak through you, through your blog. You are a gift to those who read it.
    Blessings – Lisa.

  4. a great post..enjoyed reading it….and enjoy your blog…stop by and visit me when you have some time…


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