We are almost at the end of the month and we have been discovering what love is all about. Love is our first Fruit of the Spirit. This month we are trying to get the love right. Next month we will add another fruit to our study. I hope you have enjoyed the journey.
I wanted to take today and study some key figures in the Bible and see what they did to show love or how they loved. Before this study began God showed me one of the key figures in the Bible and how he got the love right. It was a tough decision; one I am not sure I could make but he did and God came through for him.
We are talking about today about Abraham. Genesis 22 tells the story of Abraham and his son.
“After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his[d] enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”
On my computer and in the many sermons I have heard on this the message it’s been about trust. They talk about how much Abraham trusted God. But, for me I see it as unconditional love. Yes, Abraham had to trust God, but he had to love God so much he was willing to give up his son. Sounds like someone else doesn’t it?
I love God. I love God more than life itself. But, do I love God enough to be willing to give up any one of my
daughters or grandchildren? I can’t say with a positive answer. If God came and asked me to do what he asked Abraham to do I am not sure I could do it. But, Abraham’s love for God was deeper than the love he had for his son. He was willing to sacrifice his son for God’s love. God does not call us to sacrifice anything especially our children for his love. His love is unconditional. I think (remember I am not a minister nor have ever studied in seminary, these are my thoughts) God needed to know the extent of Abraham’s love because he knew the kind of life he was calling Abraham to. He knew the plans he had for Abraham and he needed to make sure his love was genuine and his priorities were in line with God’s. Isn’t that amazing? When Abraham was willing to do what God called him to do God’s unconditional love stepped in and he didn’t have to sacrifice his son and at the same time God learned Abraham’s love was genuine.
I have never shared this with anyone, but on my Emmaus Walk several years ago I asked God what I needed to change. I thought I was a pretty good person and I wasn’t sure why I needed to be there. Soon after arriving and getting settled in God gave me a clear answer. I had my priorities messed up. You see God was on the list; he was way up there on my list, but he was not number one. My family was number one. Whenever anyone asked me to do something I always had to ask myself, “How does this interfere with my family?” I would only do things five days a week and it had to be during the day. Evenings and weekends were strictly for my family. I would go to church on Sunday mornings, but that was pretty much it. God was number two and family number one. All weekend God had to deal with me on this hard issue. I was not about to trade off on this, until one night I knew what God was calling me to do. God and I were at a crossroads and I had to make a decision. One of the hardest decisions of my life was changing my priorities; putting God first and family second.
I had no idea just like Abraham what plans God had for me down the road. I just had to love God enough to know it would be okay. From 1999-2005 we were blessed to be near family. God did not take them from me, but he blessed the time we had together. I found when I gave my time to God he would always give it back to me with time spent with family. God never took anything from me. He just needed to know who I would love more.
God does not call us to give up anything or to stop loving people or things. What he does want from us is to be number one in our lives. When we make him number one in our lives he blesses us with so much more. We all know Abraham’s story and how God blessed him. Abraham went on to be a Godly man and one of God’s best. God had to make sure Abraham’s love was in line with what God wanted Abraham to do.
God knew my future. He knew the plans he had for me. Although, I do not have family here in Texas God has blessed me with so many friends that I call family. He has given me so much more than I could ever ask for.
I did not have to do what God called Abraham to do, but I did have to make a choice. God knew what he was asking was not easy, but it had to be that way. God wants us to put him before anyone else or anything else. He will never ask us to sacrifice anyone or anything, but he will put us to the test to see who we love more. It’s all about getting the love right. I am sure Abraham got the love right. Now if I can just follow in His footsteps and get the love right then I might be on the right path.
This month I have looked at love from a different perspective. This week God reminded me of the challenge and the decision I had to make. He allowed me to see the love Abraham had for God and what he was willing to do. I am sure I will never be an Abraham, but God needed me to put him first in my life. I have and he has poured his blessings out on my more than I could ever have imagined.
Is God number one in your life? If God put you to the test how would you do? It’s not about giving up anything or sacrificing anything; it’s just about getting the love right and making him first in our lives. When we do that he blesses us beyond anything we could ever imagine. Make God number 1 in your life. You may not be an Abraham, but I promise you God will bless you more than you can imagine. It’s worth it. I know.
Dear God, thank you for the Abraham story. Thank you for loving us unconditionally. You never call us to give up anything or sacrifice anything, but you do call us to get the love right and that is putting you first. When we put you first you bless us in so many ways. Be with me as I move forward learning to love you as much as Abraham did and willing to do what you are calling me to do knowing in the end you will bless me. Amen
God bless each of you!