Following Abraham’s lead

What would your response be if God asked you to do something that was way out of your comfort zone?

Sometimes God tests us and our faith that we have in him. And sometimes he does that by asking us to step out in faith and show how far we are willing to go for him and his will.

It’s hard to imagine much more of a challenging test than the one God gave Abraham in the Old Testament. God had made a covenant with Abraham that he would be the father of many nations and that he would be very fruitful.

God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis 17:9-14 proclaimed:

Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner — those who are not your offspring. Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

The Lord was faithful to Abraham and his wife, Sarah, and bore a son to them at a very old age named Isaac. Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. Isaac was to be used by God to fulfill the promise he had made with Abraham.

And then God tested Abraham in an incredible way in Genesis 22:2:

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love — Isaac — and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

Imagine how difficult this must have been for Abraham. God had delivered on his promise to provide him with Isaac, his only son. And now God was instructing Abraham to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice to him.

In Genesis 22:9-18, Abraham remained faithful:

When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” 

“Here I am,” he replied.

“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

The angel of the lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

God asked Abraham to go way out of his comfort zone and do the most difficult thing any parent could do: Sacrifice their child’s life. Abraham was willing to do this because God had told him to do so.

If Abraham can do that, what is stopping us from stepping out of our comfort zones and doing what God is calling us to do? Most of the time what God is asking us to do is not going to be as extreme as offering up your child as a human sacrifice. So there’s really not an excuse for us not to follow him and listen to what he’s commanding us to do.

Spend time with God in prayer and ask him what he wants you to do with your life. Listen to how he speaks to you, and don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone like Abraham did.

 

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