Today’s Bible Reading: Genesis 22:1–14
What is your most precious possession? Perhaps it’s your home. Or maybe a car you scrimped and saved for. Or a tool your father gave you. Conventional wisdom tells us to hang on to what we value most, whether that be a classic ’65 Mustang, a home or even a friendship. Whatever it is, we don’t typically part with our stuff too easily, much less our precious relationships.
Now think about the story of Abraham and Isaac. Imagine being put in Abraham’s position, being asked to sacrifice your only son, for whom you had waited 100 years, wondering why God would ask for such a devastating act of obedience. What would you do?
Of course, we know the end of the story. Isaac was never in danger. But Abraham was. He could have clung to his son like a jeweled crown, a symbol of strength in his old age, a prized possession. God tested Abraham’s heart to clarify who came first. The answer came back clearly: “You do, God.”
The truth is that Isaac wasn’t Abraham’s to sacrifice. The doting father didn’t own the son. And God refused to allow the final knife thrust in order to show that even a sacrifice of this magnitude couldn’t bring true purification, any more than a ram’s death could. This story points directly toward Jesus, the ultimate sacrificial Lamb, who willingly offered himself as the once-for-all sacrifice to pay the price for our sins. Not forced by a father’s actions, Jesus placed himself voluntarily upon the altar.
We don’t truly possess what we have in this life: our jobs, our homes, our toys. Similarly, our children, families and friends are entrusted to us for a time, and it is up to us to influence them toward following God while we have the opportunity. We need to follow Abraham’s example and hold our possessions and relationships loosely, to be regarded and “used” as God intends.
A simple enough idea, right? But, as Abraham proved, what seems simple isn’t necessarily easy. In what ways is God asking you to give up what you might be tempted to think belongs to you?
To Take Away
- How would you answer the question “Who comes first in my life?” How do you demonstrate that answer?
- What changes might you make in your life to ensure that the people you influence see that with you, God comes first?
- If you have children, what is the hardest part of “letting go” of them? How can you offer them up to God and entrust them into his care?