As I read in my Bibliotheca book tonight before bed, the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac, I saw the passage in a new light tonight even after reading this story in the Bible probably over 50 times in my life. Before tonight, I had never really looked deeper or thought beyond the words in this Bible story — like about the emotions — the DEEP, probably painfully sad and scared and possibly even tearful emotions that Abraham must have felt when God tells him to sacrifice his only son and even more so when he and Isaac were literally on their way up the mountain and Isaac has no idea what’s about to happen. He’s as innocent as ever, but his Father knows what is about to happen. His father knows he is about to sacrifice his only son. How hard and awfully heart-breaking that must have been. And even Isaac when he is finally on the alter or whatever it was with wood on top of him as his father Abraham is about to light it on fire and cut him in two and watch his son die in front of his eyes.
My heart hurt reading this tonight even though I know the ending of the story. I knew even before I finished reading the first sentence what happens in this section in Genesis with Abraham and Isaac. Yet still I was vividly imagining what Abraham must have been feeling and what was going through his mind with all of this as he was seconds away from going through with sacrificing his son as he followed the orders of God who had spoken to him earlier.
First of all, this totally points to Jesus, being God’s only son sacrificed on the cross for the sake of his people -- for all the people who believe him (John 3:16). How painful that must have been for God to sacrifice his only son. Now that's even worse than Abraham's experience because God spoke to him right as he was about to kill Isaac saying to HOLD UP and STOP for Abraham had proven that he fully trusted in God and was fully obedient by almost going through with the hardest sacrifice ever! But God didn’t stop Jesus from going up on that cross to suffer. He let that one happen. What love. What love that he would do that for the sake of having relationships with his own — everlasting relationships. Jesus made this possible.
Second of all, as I read this story, I totally felt like I could relate this story of Abraham and Isaac to my own life. Well... at least Abraham is an example of what I can and should be doing with following God and his word. When God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham was probably confused, furious, heart-broken, sad-beyond-belief. But obviously, reading the whole story through, Abraham obeys God by going through with exactly what God had told him. Abraham was going to have something -- or I should say, someone -- so near and dear and loved taken away from him forever, yet that did not in any way stop him from following God’s words and instructions spoken to him. Abraham trusted in God completely. If he had trusted in God only half-way, (I could be wrong), but I don’t think he would make it up that mountain as far as he did and literally be seconds away from losing his son.
Abraham was all in.
He had genuine faith in God’s word and plan. Following God was worth it to him. Following God was worth losing his only son whom he waited so many years for. I feel like my application sounds so much lesser compared to Abraham almost killing his own son, but I think no matter how small or seemingly petty something may be compared to this story of pure faith and obedience by Abraham, it still fits in and can be inserted into this story to be applied in life. What popped into my mind was the question that I asked on my Christmas break 2016: is it worth it? Is Jesus worth it? Is following Jesus and trusting 100% in God’s plans even if I can’t see it right now worth it? Would I do anything, even for example, giving up a huge dream to run long distance or giving up a passion for fitness and exercise in general, to follow Jesus with all my heart and be willing and ready to come with a trusting heart to follow God’s will for my life? Hypothetically speaking, if I were to wake up unable to walk tomorrow, would I still look to Jesus, praise him even in the darkness, and trust in his God's plan? Would giving up these things in this life - this temporary life - be worth it to me?
Will I be ready at the feet of Jesus with a trusting spirit to do his will even with a possible lifelong thorn / physical pain in my flesh? Abraham is an amazing example. He said yes. He showed that following God was worth it to him by being just seconds away from the sacrifice of Isaac. He was ready to give up everything to follow God, and MAN he sure did prove his obedience to God. Who knows what his attitude was at that time, but he showed he was going to trust in God’s will completely — even if that meant ripping away a precious thing from his life that I’m sure he delighted in and loved with all his heart.
My Prayer: God, I pray for obedience like Abraham’s even when it seems like everything in life is against me, and I experience heart-ache. I pray that I will still follow you and trust you and praise you and love you even if you took something I love away from me or if everything was taken away from me. I pray that I will still follow you and trust you and praise you and love you even if I have unsolvable physical pain forever. Thank you for the story of Abraham and Isaac and the example that Abraham can be to us. He was going to give up everything for you. Wow! I pray for a quiet, bold, trusting spirit that is grounded in the gospel and the love and power and saving grace that it brings. God, your ways are higher and wider and deeper than we can fathom. Praise be to You, my King. I pray that you will mold me into something more and more beautiful each day as you bring me closer and closer to you, as we walk hand and hand together each day, as I go through trial after trial in this life. I pray that my Kanakuk phrase from Summer 2013 will forever stick in my mind and heart and soul: ALL IN. I want to be all in baby! Because Jesus, you are worth it. The gospel is worth it.