“Hey! Patrick, come over here” I heard my friend Mark exclaim. “Let’s look in here.”
It was a tiny tunnel in the midst of a bunch of branches of many overgrown bushes of some sort. I wondered if I should follow him. I decided after a moment of internal debate that, since he is my best friend, I could trust him. So I crawled through the tiny opening. There wasn’t a lot of the bushes but my they were thick. The little tunnel seemed to take forever to crawl through. But the crawl was well worth it! When I caught up to Mark he had led me to an opening in the bushes. It was like a secret fort. And since I was in grade school and maybe 10 years old at the time, secret forts were way too cool. But that wasn’t all. Mark said “look at this” and pulled from behind his back not one but two bottles of Coke! He gave me one bottle and he kept the second. He even had a bottle opener with him. We sat in that little secret fort of ours for probably thirty minutes drinking the Coke and talking about what we were going to do when we grew up. It was a wonderful experience that I would have missed if I had not heard Mark call out to me and if I had not trusted him.
It is the same with our walk on the path of holiness. The first thing we need to do is realize that this walk is not one that we do alone. No, we do it with someone else. And this walk is based on our relationship with that other person.
Who is that person? Well read on, dear friend, and discover what God has in store for us.
The Call to Trust
Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”
Abraham had become the father of Isaac in chapter 21. Th ending of chapter 21, the Bible states
And Abraham sojourned in the land of the Philistines for many days.
This sets the context for chapter 22. Abraham had been living in the land of the Philistines for many days. Since there are indicators in chapter 22 that Isaac is around 17 years old, I figure that Abraham had been in the land of the Philistines for at least that amount of time. Now this is just a guess by me but I think it is defensible. So why is this important?
I think this is important because believe this shows that Abraham was comfortable with where he was and where he was living. He had settled into the life God had given him. He probably felt safe and secure. Life was probably pretty good for Abraham, Sarah and Isaac. A happy little family living in the land of promise.
Isn’t that like us today?
We live comfortably in our homes with our wives or husbands and our children. We have our work to go to, usually good food to eat. We have our 401k, savings account. We usually drive the car of our choice and for the most part have very few needs. We have a lot of wants, that’s for sure. But there is Visa or MasterCard for that. Our society – at least here in the USA – tolerates us for the most part. Oh they think Christians are weird, but there aren’t any of us going to prison because we are Christians. We have it pretty good. Life is pretty easy for us. Hmmm, maybe we should listen a little more intently for God calling us to walk to an unknown place while trusting Him. Maybe…
God Knows Abraham
Take a look at the first verse in chapter 22. God calls Abraham by name – the name that was given to him by God Himself. Think about this for a moment. God calls to a specific person. He knows Abraham. Knowing Abraham, God knew where Abraham was in his life. He knew about Abraham’s lifestyle. He knew Abraham had his family and probably a comfortable life. God is the One who gave Abraham not only his family but also his name. Abraham was no stranger to God.
This is true of us as well. God knows us by name. He knows our life, our family, our comfort level. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He is the One who has given us all we have or hope to have. He is our source for life.
Abraham Knew God
Look at Abraham’s response to God calling him, Abraham said Here I am. Notice Abraham didn’t say Who are you? Why are you calling my name? Abraham responds as one who is responding to a friend when a friend calls. Abraham knew God. It seems that instead of confusion at God calling Him, Abraham was entirely comfortable with God calling his name. What if that happened today? To me? To you? God knows both me and you. He knows us by name, by sight, by everything. He know us better than we know ourselves. He knows us perfectly.
If God called out to me Patrick! would I recognize His voice? Would I be comfortable hearing Him call me by name. Hmmm. How about you? Would you be comfortable?Would you recognize His voice?
The Path of Holiness is a Walk of Trust
God tells Abraham to take his son Isaac – the son of promise – somewhere in the land of Moriah and sacrifice him on a mountain not yet revealed. How is THAT for a call! Notice God didn’t call Abraham to a land of blessing. He called Abraham to a place of sacrifice. And not just any old sacrifice.
Isaac was the son – THE son – promised to Abraham by God Himself. Isaac was the son through whom a great nation would come. Isaac was THE son through whom all nations would be blessed. And now God wants Abraham to offer this son – THE son – as a burnt offering to God.
So what will Abraham do? Will he trust God? You can find the answer by reading through chapter 22. I encourage you to do that.
What about us? If God calls us to a place of sacrifice, are we willing to go? Are we willing to leave our place of comfort to go on a journey of sacrifice?
Now don’t answer too quickly. Talk is cheap, actions are expensive. I know plenty of professing Christians who fiercely proclaim that they would willingly die for Christ. But it seems these same folks are the last to open their homes to the homeless, feed the needy, or help those who most need help. Their common refrain is “I’m not called to that.” Be careful Christian with your proclamations of being willing to do anything for Christ. God may one day call you away from your comfortable life with your family, home and full plate of food.