Monday, February 1, 2010

Obedience Like Abraham & Isaac

I was recently reading Genesis 22 where God tested Abraham. As a child I remember being taught this story in Sunday School. The teacher always had a flannel board with the little pictures of Abraham (who looked very old) and Isaac (who looked like he might be 8 or 10) and there is a stone alter with a ram stuck in a thorny bush. I never really got anything deep out of it but that Abraham loved God so much he was willing to sacrifice his son. Well, I guess that is deep but I knew there was much more. So, while I was reading the story this time, I asked God to show me more. God revealed so much to me I wanted to share a bit.
Abraham was old, very old at this time. Isaac was not a young boy but probably in his 20’s and I would imagine well built, not scrawny or puny, as it was a lot of work to live back then.
Abraham went to Mt Moirah the very next morning. I wonder what he thought that night laying in bed. It doesn’t say that he told Sarah what God had told him to do. How did he hide that, was he troubled at all? As a mom, I know that I would not be sleeping that night. The trip took three days. This took continual obedience and trust. I wonder what the conversation was like on that journey.
When the time came for Isaac to be bound, he had to be willing to let his father tie him up. Isaac, I am sure, was capable of fighting his father off and running away. He didn’t run, he let his father tie him up and lay him on the alter to be slain. That is absolute obedience of a son to his father! That is the obedience and trust that gets overlooked. You see God had promised Abraham that his descendants would come from Isaac's offspring in chapter 21. Abraham knew that God was going to keep his promise somehow. Isaac may have known that promise or may not have, I don’t know. What I do know is that Isaac was absolutely obedient to his father to let him be bound up and to just lay there waiting for Abraham to do what needed to be done. I am sure that Isaac was beyond relieved when the ram appeared to take his place.
As I was thinking about and pondering this, I realized that this is the kind of obedience I am trying to teach my children. I expect absolute unquestioning obedience the first time something is told them. I know that they are not perfect and won’t be able to obey me all the time just like I am sure to not obey God all the time. However, for them to have a heart of obedience like Abraham and Isaac is something I strive for. I have the kids come to me randomly for no reason and I have them put there shoes on without them going anywhere, just to teach them to obey without question. My main reason has been for safety issues. If I tell them to stop or duck or run to keep them from harm I don’t want them to ask why, I just want them to do it. Now, I have an even more important reason. If they have an obedient heart, then when God tells them to do something that seems crazy, they won’t question it, they will just do it.

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