What we Love Most
Bro. Eddie C. Villanueva
Genesis 22:1 says, “After all this, God tested Abraham.”
What is it that God has to test about Abraham? Or should we ask, “What took place first before this test came?”
Abraham was a man who fears God and lives uprightly in the midst of an ungodly world. Because of that, he caught God’s eyes. He looked on him with favor and gave him a promise. God told Abraham he will have a son despite his old age and through his son He will make a great nation.
But the thing would not come by and by. In another occasion, after more than two decades, God visited Abraham and reminded him of the promise He’s going to fulfill very soon. Sarah heard of this. Secretly she laughed in unbelief. Genesis 18:11 tells, “So she laughed within herself and said, ‘An old woman like me? Get pregnant? With this old man of a husband?’” But God is true to His word. Sarah conceived the following year. And at last, Isaac was born. Abraham and Sarah held in their arms their son, after 25 years of waiting for God’s promise to come true.
Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 when little Isaac came into their lives. How happy they were indeed! That day, they would have been laughing all the way because of the joy Isaac had brought them. And how they loved him!
Then after several years, when the baby was already in his teens, God called to Abraham to test him.
“God said, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Yes?’ answered Abraham. ‘I'm listening.’ He said, ‘Take your dear son Isaac whom you love and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I'll point out to you.’
“Abraham got up early in the morning and saddled his donkey. He took two of his young servants and his son Isaac. He had split wood for the burnt offering. He set out for the place God had directed him. On the third day he looked up and saw the place in the distance. Abraham told his two young servants, ‘Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I are going over there to worship; then we'll come back to you.’
“Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and gave it to Isaac his son to carry. He carried the flint and the knife. The two of them went off together.
“Isaac said to Abraham his father, ‘Father?’ ‘Yes, my son.’ ‘We have flint and wood, but where's the sheep for the burnt offering?’
“Abraham said, ‘Son, God will provide for himself the lamb for the burnt offering.’ And they kept on walking together. They arrived at the place to which God had directed him.
Abraham built an altar. He laid out the wood. Then he tied up Isaac and laid him on the wood. “Abraham reached out and took the knife to kill his son. Just then an angel of God called to him out of Heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham!’ ‘Yes, here I am.
‘Don't lay a hand on that boy! Don't touch him! Now I know how fearlessly you fear God; you didn't hesitate to place your son, your dear son, on the altar for me.’
“Abraham looked up. He saw a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. Abraham took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. Abraham named that place The Lord – Will – Provide.
“The angel of God spoke from Heaven a second time to Abraham: ‘I swear—God's sure word!—because you have gone through with this, and have not refused to give me your son, your dear, dear son, I'll bless you—oh, how I'll bless you! And I'll make sure that your children flourish—like stars in the sky! Like sand on the beaches! And your descendants will defeat their enemies. All nations on Earth will find themselves blessed through your descendants because you obeyed me.’” (Genesis 22:1-18, The Message)
That’s how Abraham passed such test of love and obedience to God. For him, His God was supreme and above all that He had given him, including his son whom he loves. But our rational minds are asking how God could put Abraham to test that way. Isn’t that heartless and brutal? Does God violate His own command about murder? For God didn’t just ask Abraham to give up his son for him but also to take his life away as an offering through his own hands. He seemed to be breaking His promise to Abraham to make his descendants as many as the sand through Isaac.
Let us note that God is above His commands and is sovereign. We must also know that when God is up to something, or to prove something, He may possibly appear to be working against His will. And this is beyond our questioning.
In this test, God proved this man He promised to become the father of many nations to be a man who is fully surrendered to Him. Surprisingly, the boy is equally surrendered to the God of his father. Isaac did not hesitate when his father was about to slay him as an offering to God. Both might be breaking inside but their love for God prevailed.
Both worshipped Him in the midst of the test and believed that what happens is within His will and not beyond His control. Abraham may have thought, either God will provide a lamb to be offered or raise Isaac from the dead. He knew whichever of these, God is able to do.
And we know what happened.
What about us? Up to what extent is our love for God? What shall we do when God would ask from us what we love most?
But do we know that once, God Himself gave up what He loved most? On the same mountain where Abraham was to offer his son, God let His Son Jesus Christ die on a cross. The difference however is that, God proved His love to sinful men, and not the other way around.
Let’s ponder then His love.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him, will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)