Christianity 201

June 8, 2015

On the Brink of Surrender

Genesis 22:

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

If you don’t know the story, read it in full at Genesis 22: 1-19

James 2:21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?

The story of Abraham and Isaac is certainly unique in scripture, if not in all of human history. Isaac was a child of promise, was he not? And now God is wanting Abraham to kill him? What’s up with that?

Think of the years of father and son bonding over the years. Think of Sarah finally having a child after years of barrenness and all the joy that brought. And now God asks this?

(Is Sarah in on this latest development? The text doesn’t say.)

Of course, we have the advantage that Abraham and Sarah didn’t; we know how the story ends. They did not, and yet Abraham is willing to do whatever it takes to obey God.

So the question today is fairly obvious: What does God want you to surrender? What are you holding on to that God wants to see if you’re willing to give it up?

By contrast of course we have this story in Acts 4 & 5:

4:33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need…

5:1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”

When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died…

One man wants to do whatever it takes to please God, and the story ends in life. Another decides to hold back and not fully surrender everything to God, and the story ends in death.

Today, God doesn’t ask people to kill their children; in fact some feel the story is necessary to the Bible so that people are clear that the God of Israel doesn’t ask for child sacrifice. Similarly, despite what an evangelist on television might say, no one is compelling you to sell your house and give all the proceeds to the Church. Rather the questions for us are:

  • Are you willing to do whatever God asks, even if it doesn’t make any sense?
  • Do you really trust God?
  • What are you holding back from God that, once surrendered, would bring life?

C201 New LinkMission Statement: Christianity 201 is a melting-pot of devotional and Bible study content from across the widest range of Christian blogs and websites. Sometimes two posts may follow on consecutive days by authors with very different doctrinal perspectives. The Kingdom of God is so much bigger than the small portion of it we can see from our personal vantage point, and one of the purposes of C201 is to allow readers a ‘macro’ view of the many ministries and individual voices available for reading.

Scripture portions from various translations quoted at Christianity 201 are always in green to remind us that the Scriptures have LIFE!

 

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