When Obedience Hurts

Text: Hebrews 11

Key text: “It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac.”

Have you ever had the opportunity to give a child a snack and later when you asked for a piece of that snack the child turned you down? How did you respond? That was the position Abraham found himself when God asked him to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice. Isaac was the promised son from whom many generations would spring forth as numberless as the stars in the sky and as countless as the grains of sand in the seashore.

“I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies.”

even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” verse 18

It remains a wonder to me, how Abraham found the courage to offer up Isaac without fear and not so many tears if any as a sacrifice to God. This remains to be the greatest example of when Giving Hurts. Remember how many years he had to wait for Isaac, remember the pain of error that came with having a son, Ishmael with Hagar, and having to let him go far away to avoid continued conflict. It had been difficult for him to understand the value of financial and material prosperity without an heir and God had assured him that it was not the plan for his servant to inherit it all, now he was faced with the decision to give it all away.

“And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?” Genesis 15:2

It didn’t make any mental sense then neither does it make natural sense to anyone when we have to give to God. Whether it is the tithe, a vow, or any kind of sacrifice given to God it never makes sense, but to him who gives in faith to an all-sufficient God, it makes every sense. Look at the revelation of the mind and reasoning of Abraham as documented in scriptures:

“Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.” verse 18

Have you ever seen anyone so selfless? Have you ever seen anyone who can reason like this? It is natural for humans to hold onto whatever they have; the saying ” A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” captures it well. But Abraham let go of the bird in hand because he chose to stand on his faith, faith in the ability of God to do anything to fulfil his promise.

Faith is never about receiving and giving alone, it is actually about trusting God that he’s able to do whatever he says he will do. No wonder the scriptures say… “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” verse 6

When living by faith rests on you, what you will lose or receive, then your Will is influenced by your emotions. But we can choose to rest our faith in the power of God and the immutability of God’s word. Abraham models for us that living by faith is the divine way, the only way for humans to relate with an all-powerful God, it is living according to God’s terms.

We struggle with this faith life because it will take dying to ourselves for us to live by faith; this lifestyle hurts the flesh, but that is the only way to truly live eternally. Abraham released what he had in his hands so he could receive what his hands couldn’t hold. What is that tough choice you have to make today? What is God calling you to give up? What did you wait for so long to get and now God wants it back?

Let your decision be guided by who God is and what he can do. Be driven by the truth of his words which are eternal and cannot fail, not a dot of it will pass away without being fulfilled. Be led by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us in this generation as our counsellor, teacher, helper, and comforter, you will never go wrong with his guidance.

We always win when we live by faith and not our emotions!


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