The title of this blog comes from a song by 4 Him from the CD "The Ride" (Released 1994) The song was written by Dave Clark, Mark Harris and Don Koch. This song has been in my head since Sunday morning. Pastor spoke from the experience with Abraham offering his son Isaac.
The words to the first verse & chorus are as follows:
God only knows how he must have felt
Out on the mountain where Abraham knelt
Though deep in his heart I'm sure it hurt to obey
Still he offered his son as if to say, I'm ...
Willing to live
Willing to die
Willing to make any sacrifice
I'm willing to go
Willing to stay
Lord, there's no price too high for me to pay
Any struggle that might come my way
I'm willing to go through
Jus tas long as my heart
As long as my heart knows it's you...
Pastor's message was entitled "The Making of Isaac"
If Isaac were going to be here telling us this experience, he would probably say this was the experience where he knew this was why he was here on earth. Many people in history can pick an experience that really pointed to "their making." God uses experience in our lives to help us see who we are in Him.
There are seven things that we can learn just as Isaac learned in this "making of him."
1. We learn that God tests (tempts) people. (vv1 & 2)
God asked Abraham to "take now thy son, thine only son Isaac...and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." (side note...this reminds me of another time God spoke to Abraham..."telling him to pick up his family and leave for a place that I will tell you"...how many times has God called us to do something, but not given us the exact instructions or directions on what to do next? Have we willingly obeyed him?...end of side note).
God asks of Abraham to take this son of promise to a mountain and sacrifice him as a burnt offering. Abraham packs up Isaac, and a few servants and heads towards the mountain.
2. We learn how God loves. (v. 2)
Something pastor brought out...this is the first time the word love is mentioned. "Take now thy son, thine only son, Isaac, whom thou lovest..." The first time love is mentioned in not between a man and wife, between God and us, but between a father and a son. (He also pointed out the first time we read "love" in the New Testament is in the gospels...Matt. 3:17, Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22 all speak of the baptism of Jesus, when the heavens open and the voice of God is heard "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (KJV) The message paraphrases this verse as follows: "This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life." In John's gospel the first time the word "love" is seen is John 3:16 "For God so loved the world"...who is the world? we are. God, the Father loves us. God loved us so much that He gave His only Son for us as a sacrifice (a payment) for our sin.
3. We learned what worship is (v.5)
"I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you." Abraham was asked to lay down his desires and bow down to God. Abraham knew that God had promised a nation to come from him...and that nation would be coming from Isaac. So he knew that Isaac and he would return together. He didn't know that God would provide a ram, nor did he take a lamb for sacrifice. Many scholars believe that Abraham believed God would raise his son back to life. (side note: Talking after church with Pastor and his son-in-law, a comment was made stating that Abraham possibly believe that God would raise his son again...this would mean that Abraham would be believing in the resurrection...which is why we are saved...because we believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ (our sacrifice for our sins). He's alive.)
The word worship means to bow down. To bow down to His will (recognize that His will is the best). Something pastor mentioned...how many times have we used this word worship in the wrong context. "Wow! we had a great worship service...we sang so many great songs, and was jumping around praising the Lord." If we truly worship God, we have become a broken person. We are laying our desires to Him...bowing down to Him and accepting his will for our lives.
4. We learn of fellowship (vv. 6-8)
Abraham and his son, were together in true fellowship. Preparing the alter for the sacrifice. Imagine you are Isaac for a minute. Your father is a very old man. You are carrying the wood for the sacrifice, your father carrying the fire and knife. (yet there is no animal for the sacrifice.) Isaac speaks "Father?" Abraham answers "Yes, my son." Isaac continues, "We have flint and wood, but where's the sheep for the burnt offering." Abraham simply replies, "Son, God will see to it that there's a sheep for the burnt offering." And they kept walking together (The Message).
5. We learn of obedience (vv. 7-10).
They arrive to the place where God has told Abraham. And Abraham begins to prepare the alter. Think about this for a second...Abraham picks up Isaac and lays him across the wood. Isaac doesn't run away...The Bible doesn't record of any conversation coming from Isaac, but I wonder if Isaac was beginning to wonder what was happening. He trusts his father. He's probably heard the story of when God told his father Abraham that He would make a great nation from his seed. I'm sure he knew that he would be a special man in God's plan, but yet, he doesn't run away. He obeys and lays on the alter. Yes Abraham did tie him, but I don't think it was to keep him there, but more for safety possibly.
6. We learn how God provides (vv. 11-14).
This is my favorite part of the account of this experience for Isaac and Abraham. Isaac laying on the alter, being offered to The True God, and Abraham preparing his stance over his son (the one whom God promised would come to Sarah and him). He takes the knife and raises his arm to slay this promised son...but the voice of the angel of the Lord calls to Abraham. Abraham replies, "Here am I." The voice continues, "Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me." (KJV) After this statement, Abraham looks over to a ram caught in the thicket by his horns. God provided the sacrifice to be offered to Him. Abraham named the place "Jehovah-jireh...because God provides (God sees).
7 (my favorite) We near God has a plan (vv. 15-24)
When they return from their worship experience, news comes from the home land. It's interesting how in the Bible few times is it mentioned in a family lineage of women. But in this passage, we see that it's told Milcah has given birth to children and those children have had some children...one of them a girl named Rebecca.
I would have loved to have seen Isaac face to see if he may have been interested in that name "Rebecca". The plan was that Isaac would be the seed that would begin the "Great Nation" for Abraham...and in later chapters we see that this Rebecca is the wife of Isaac who bears Esau and Jacob.
I know this is a long blog, but it's something that has been in my mind for the past few days. Am I willing to live, willing to die, willing to make any sacrifice, willing to go, willing to stay, is there any price to high to pay? I pray I'm able to say...I'm willing to do anything...that Jesus asks of me.
Until next time...