- If you haven’t already listened to Episode 30, go do that now! We learned about Abram and Sarai, God’s promise to them, and the way they decided to take matters into their own hands.
- This choice resulted in Ishmael, an offspring of Abram that was not the promised son and father of nations God had originally intended.
- God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, and Sarai’s name to Sarah.
- Abraham and Sarah did eventually have their own son, Isaac. Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born.
- Isaac means “laughter.”
- God’s faithfulness to fulfill his promises even in the face of the impossible was something Abraham got to witness at the very beginning of Isaac’s life.
- There are plenty of examples in ancient texts of how important children were to these people. They valued them, prioritized them, celebrated them, and protected them.
- God commanded Abraham to take his son and offer him as a burnt sacrifice.
- The Hebrew noun olah (עֹלָה) means "that which goes up [in smoke]." It is formed from the active participle of the verb alah (עָלָה), "to cause to ascend." There was already a picture in the ancient world of burning things as a religious practice—the idea being that we can’t ascend to God but our offerings can. So the idea of burning an offering being a worship principle is essential here.The burnt offering was also sometimes called a Kaliyl, which means “entirety” or “whole”—as in give the WHOLE offering to God. The heart behind this practice being that our whole lives, everything about us, and that which is most important to us should be offered to God.
- The test here was for Abraham to prove that he loved God more than his son. Isaac was about 14 years old at this time. This seemed like God interrupting his promise—that Isaac would be the father of nations—with a test.
- Question: Have you ever had that moment when God tried to take back the thing He gave? How weird is it that this child of promise and provision was suddenly something God could have rightfully removed.
- I think some of us, any of us, who are incited that God would deal with his called-out servant this way don’t quite understand His place in our lives and His power over life.
- “On the 3rd day of the journey, [Abraham] saw the place.” Imagine you’re Abraham, traveling for three days, agonizing over the thought of what God has asked you to do.
- Abraham was willing to go all the way because he trusted God. Chapters before, God had already labeled Abraham’s faith as righteousness. Abraham was labeled righteous long before he was called to be obedient. His acceptance came long before this test.
- There’s a symbolic connection between Isaac & Jesus—on the 3rd day Isaac was taken as a sacrifice. Jesus was in the grave for 3 days. Abraham was confident that God himself would provide the lamb—and in the gospels, that’s exactly what happened.
- It’s easy to be outraged reading the passage where Abraham binds his son and lays him on the altar. But don’t apply our modern sensibilities to this ancient meaning, don’t read what isn’t there...do trust what is.
- As parents, if we aren’t careful, kids can become the thing we don’t lay down before the Lord. Where we start to “worship” our kids. Worshipping the provision, not the provider.
- Worshipping a seed over the Savior
- What are the ways parents worship their kids?
- There is a lot of temptation to make our kids the primary focus of our lives—orienting our lives, schedules, and finances around them. It’s God-ordained to want the best for your kids and to want to invest in your kids.
- It’s a high calling to be provider and protector for your kids. But consider for a moment—what does “protection” really mean? Does it mean we spare our children all possible pain in life?
Would you say God is a good father? He’s the best father, but He didn’t spare His son. And yet, we won’t sacrifice ours for God’s will in our lives.
- In Hebrew language, the word for obedience (shama) also means “to hear.” So if you HEAR God, you obey him.
- We want to shield our kids, and by choosing to do so we inadvertently are using them as an excuse to not step out in faith. How often are we shielding our kids from a blessing because we’re not willing to make them pay a price. Kids need to feel the sacrifice of time & effort, and experience the cost and financial trade-off of WHOLE LIFE worship.
- David said “ I will not give to God that which costs me nothing.” 1 Samuel 24:24
We vacate the idea of us being able to worship God because we’re afraid that it’s going to cost our children something… when they can actually be a part of the worship themselves. We shouldn’t insulate our kids from feeling or experiencing worship - in the same manner that we should never let them feel as if they are the object of it.
- God does test us, and it’s ok. It is His absolute right to test us, and when He does, it’s an opportunity to express our faith in Him. There should be nothing we withhold from God. What does that mean for a whole family?
- We can model giving everything to God for our kids. And this may require us re-orienting some priorities in our lives. We’re laying a lot down at the altar of our kids.