Points to Ponder: Because You Obeyed, You Worship
Points to Ponder
Because You Obeyed, You Worship
When you are in a time of testing, do you still worship God?
Abram was 75 years old and his wife Sarai was about 65. They were getting the senior discount at McDonald's and entering into that time when, as many suppose, you kick back and take it easy. But with God there is only one retirement plan and He lets you know when that begins. In fact you can't apply until you die.
In Genesis 12, Abram and Sarai move, starting all over again, trusting in God's provision and guidance on a day to day basis. That trust led to a name change (Genesis 17). When Abram was 99 years old, God named him Abraham, meaning father of many nations. Sarai became Sarah. Though she was still barren and well past the child-bearing years, what God promised was a done deal. He was named father of many even though he had only Ishmael (by Sarah's maid Hagar), and God was not referring to him.
At age 100, and Sarah at 90, Isaac was born. God calls Abraham to trust Him even more by going against what makes sense given the lack of foreseeable alternatives. God tells him to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering (22:2). God had to test Abraham.
One of my mentors and my personal pastor the Reverend Dr. Vandy Kennedy, founder of Walker Mill Baptist Church, told me to read Genesis 22 and consider Abraham's testing. When God tests us, he said, God tells us to "do weird stuff" sometimes.
Abraham went to Mt. Moriah with knife in hand and wood for the sacrificial fire to Mt. Moriah. He told his servants that he and Isaac were going up there to "worship and then we will come back to you" (22:5). How did he know what God would do? He didn't, nor did he need to. Isaac asked about what they were doing. Abraham could only say that God will provide. He couldn't explain it; he just believed it.
Often the hardest part of serving the Lord is when you press on according to His word without answers or even a rational reason as to why He said to do thus and so.
The term worship means to give or ascribe worth to something or someone. The first step in Abraham's worship was simply to trust God. Worship in its simplest sense is putting God first and planning everything else you do around that. Therefore worship in a believer's life should be a central and daily thing, even in the little stuff. Every test in life will check you in that area first. Obedience in attitude and action is worship.
Though Abraham was fully committed to offer his son to God as a burnt offering, God stopped him as he raised the knife into the air. A ram was provided to be offered in place of Isaac. We know the story. But do you realize when Abraham actually DID sacrifice Isaac? In packing the wood, and the knife, and heading for the mountain, he was already releasing Isaac into God's hand. When the moment of truth came and he was ready to kill his son, he had to have already dedicated Isaac to the Lord.
Notice all of the steps Abraham had to take in the process of dedicating his "only son" (the son of the promise) to the Lord. The calling upon you and me works in a similar way; a lot of smaller decisions leading up to the moment when finally we really know whether we have released our grip on the earthen handle of the heavenly call. How could Abraham be Father of many descendants without Isaac? He didn't ask. God said He would do it. Enough said. Does God owe us an explanation?
"Let us hold fast the confessions of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful & rduo; (Hebrews 10:23)
Being omniscient, God knew Abraham's faith, but did Abraham? Tests often come so that we can know and prove to ourselves what we really believe. As Jesus said, God seeks those who will worship Him "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23-24). That's the real thing. Are we there yet?
Following that act of spiritual sacrifice by Abraham, God reaffirmed His promise to multiply Abraham's descendants. In other words, now Abraham because you have let Me have your son, I will be able to use him and bless the world through him. He told Abraham: "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you obeyed My voice" (Genesis 22:18)
Because you obeyed. Sometimes that means "GO;" sometimes it means "WAIT." Often times it means both.
I have been reflecting and praying over Genesis 21 and 22. Most of my Points to Ponder come from this time in the word. As I ponder the testing of Abraham and Sarah, I found insight coming to me from various sources: during a radio preacher's message while I was exercising; in the Our Daily Bread devotional right after I'd finished writing the above article; in discussions with other believers, conversation drifted to the example of Abraham; and in other studies to which I've turned, the test and the faith of Abraham came up or my thoughts were led to these things.
Point: God spoke to me through multiple sources because I availed myself of them and was listening for a word from Him. I sought Him and He was found by me (II Chronicles 15:4). Are you saying you want His guidance but you're not doing all you could to avail yourself of His word to You? Can you obey a word you don't know? Can you know the word if you aren't seeking to hear it? (No devotional time, no Sunday School or Bible Study, no accountability to other believers.)
Do you still wonder why you don't know God's will in a matter? Can you worship God in spirit and truth if knowing Him is not your highest priority?
This column can be found on the web at: www.fumcl.org. Pastor Whitmore is not affiliated with Picket News, nor does he submit material directly to our publication. We regularly reprint interesting articles found at his public web site and encourage all readers to visit for similar material.