What would you do if God asked you to give it all up?
When God tested Abraham in Genesis 22, He gave us the clearest prophetic picture of what Jesus would have to endure on the cross.
At this point in his life, Abraham was a seasoned man of faith. He had accomplished much and given much to the Lord. In Genesis 12, he obeyed God and left his fathers household to move to an unknown land, going in faith and giving his all to God.
God blessed Abraham and made a special covenant with him in Genesis 15, but Abraham didn’t have any children?
Where it was impossible in the natural, God blessed Abraham and Sarah with Isaac, the son of the promise.
All seemed to be going well, God has blessed, Abraham has been faithful and now surely, he would rest in his old age. But God has one more test for Abraham as we read in Genesis 22:1-19.
This account is traditionally viewed in light of Abraham’s tremendous faith in response to the unthinkable request from God to sacrifice his only beloved son, the child of the promise.
At first glance, we gloss over those words, probably because we may have heard them many times. But this is a horrifying story. God asks Abraham to slaughter his own son, this is counter to everything we know about God. This is offensive and challenges our sense of decency and our understanding of God. But this is recorded as Abraham’s finest hour, his most glorious victory in a life filled with challenges.
We have the advantage of knowing how the story will unfold, but for Abraham it must have been the most difficult few days of his life. Maybe he suspected this was a test, but we cannot know for sure.
In Genesis 22:4 we read, “On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar.” It appears that he had been walking for three days with his eyes on the ground before him, deep in thought and anguish. Abraham’s quick response and silence seems to indicate resigned numbness to God’s will, steeling himself against the emotions tearing through his heart.
God stopped the sacrifice of Isaac right at the point where there was no doubt that Abraham was going to go through with the act of killing his son. God showed that He never intended to allow Abraham to kill Isaac and went on to explain the test to him.
This picture of God is not the soft and benevolent Heavenly Father that our modern-day Christianity likes to portray. On the contrary, the picture of Abraham lowering the knife was, in God’s eyes, the passing grade of the test. We must come to grips with the fact that the God of the Old Testament is still the same today, He has not changed. But what has changed is our relationship with Him through Jesus Christ (see Isaiah 55:8).
Isaac was not a young child at this point, and he was fully aware of what took place. It must have been incredibly traumatic for him; his own father betrayed him and was about to kill him.
But according to a few ancient Jewish rabbinical documents, it is said that Isaac was so convinced that he needed to be sacrificed, that he asked to be bound tightly. Which is why the Hebrew speakers refer to this account as the “Akedah” or “binding”.
This gives us a totally different picture of Isaac, one of a willing sacrifice. Isaac is a “type” or foreshadow of Jesus.
Leading up to Mt Moriah, Abraham is silent. So too, God the Father is silent in Gethsemane at the leading up to the crucifixion of His beloved Son.
The fact that the wood for the offering was laid on the back of Isaac is a symbol of the cross that Jesus would one day carry on his shoulders.
Leading up to his crucifixion, Jesus was unwavering in his path to the cross and he was silent during his trial. In the same way, Isaac walked alongside his father and scripture seems to suggest that they were not engaged in much conversation.
This account in essence is the salvation of Israel. Jesus was sacrificed to save people from all nations.
The crucifixion was a test. A test that Jesus passed to save all who would put their faith in him.
So many parallels, however, on every level, Jesus is the greater one who accomplished much more by his own personal sacrifice.
What makes this account so horrifying, is that Abraham stood poised with a knife to slaughter his own son, the son of the promise. As we think about the crucifixion of Jesus, we should be even more offended. Because of our sins, God the Father required a perfect sacrifice. The only way we could be saved was by the perfect sacrifice of the spotless lamb of God, Jesus (See Isaiah 53:6 and 2 Corinthians 5:21).
We must never miss the horror of the cross, where God the Father inflicted His perfect wrath upon God the son. That is the offense of the cross that is impossible for us to fully comprehend.
This picture on Mount Moriah became reality on Mount Calvary.
As we begin to focus on Calvary in this season, let us never forget the unimaginable price that was paid for our salvation.
What would you do if God asked you to give it all up? Do I trust God enough to be obedient when he invites me to put something on the altar. Do I worship Him above all else, putting His will and plans above my own. As you walk with God, there are going to be times when God asks you to give it all to Him (Matthew 16:24-25).
There will be things, even good things, plans and dreams, that we need to be willing to sacrifice before God is able to use us as He intends.
Are you willing to give it all to him today?