Genesis 22 tells the astonishing story of impossible obedience. It is the story of Abraham and the (almost) sacrificing of his son Isaac. This one is mind blowing to me. Abraham is faithful and faith-filled. And it is terrifying.
“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.'” And he does it. He packs up Isaac and Abraham sets out to fulfill God’s outlandish command. I get leaning into obedience, but this seems to be a bridge too far. A bridge WAY too far. Regardless, Abraham is faithful and obedient. And, this act of faith goes back to Genesis 15:4-6.
“But the word of the Lord came to Abraham, ‘This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.’ He brought Abraham outside and said, ‘Look towards heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.”
Abraham believe what the Lord said. He believed and trusted that the Lord’s promise was true–that his descendents would reflect the stars in the night sky. This promise from God, Abraham knows, was still echoing ture as he placed Isaac on the altar of sacrifice. Abraham’s act of obedience as he raised the knife over his head was an act of incredible faith and trust. It was a declaration that the promise of God for star-numbered descendents was more powerful and more real than the deathly serious son-sacrifice that was about to unfold. Abraham was definitively declaring–God, I trust in your promise even as I make it impossible to be fulfilled because I know that you are the God of the impossible.
While this story foreshadows the Son sacrifice of Jesus, Abraham, many argue, was obedient and trusting that, in the aftermath of Isaac’s sacrifice, the resurrecting God of the New Testament would raise his slain son in this moment too. That, if slain, Isaac would be raised in order to continue to live out the promised covenant of Genesis 15. Abraham trusted in a God who keeps His promises even in the face of overwhelming and gut wrenching odds.
The point is this: Abraham trusted the Lord–even when how God would fulfill His promise led through some of the most difficult circumstances.
How about you? What are your circumstances?
Obedience is a dance of trust. Like all good dancing, their is a reliance upon your partner to lead you, guide you, and a trust the steps you take will be met with strength, support, and grace. As you pray, listen for the Lord as he invites you into this dance.
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