"Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, 'Abraham!' And he said, 'Here I am.'
When someone only casually reads the Bible, the great truths of scripture will often remain hidden. In this passage, which many of you might be familiar with, God put Abraham through an incredible test of faith. He was instructed to sacrifice his son, who of course was the son of promise. The son by which all of the world would be blessed, and the son by whom Abraham would father a great nation. How could all of these incredible promises of God be fulfilled if Isaac was put to death? Well, to put it quite simply, if Abraham did sacrifice Isaac, then God would have to perform the miracle of resurrection in order to fulfill all of the divine promises that He had given to Abraham. Amen? Yes, amen. And by the way, resurrecting Isaac from the dead would be no problem for our omnipotent God.
Abraham undoubtedly believed this, as he told his servants that he and his son were going to worship, and that "we will come back to you." When everything was prepared, Isaac willingly positioned himself as the sacrifice, Abraham drew the knife to slay his son, and the angel of the Lord called out to him and prevented him from harming his son. At that precise moment, Abraham turned and saw a ram caught in a thicket by its horns, and this ram became the substitute sacrifice for Isaac. What an incredible picture Abraham gives to us of absolute surrender to the word and will of God! And what an incredible encounter that Abraham and Isaac had that day of the grace of God on that divinely chosen mountaintop!
Now, what can we easily overlook in reading this passage if we are not careful? In the instructions that Abraham received from the Lord, he was told to go and offer Isaac on "one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." The narrative goes on to say that Abraham gathered everything necessary and went to "the place of which God had told him." And finally, after three days of traveling, Abraham "saw the place afar off." Three times in these four verses, we are told that Abraham was instructed to go to a PARTICULAR mountain, not just any mountain, and that he precisely followed God's instructions to THE place, not just any place. Think with me for a moment: If Abraham went to any mountain of his own casual choosing, would he have encountered the ram caught in a thicket for a substitute sacrifice? Or was it utterly necessary for Abraham in be in the exact location of God's divine choosing in order to experience all that God desired to do for both he and Isaac?
I believe that one of the great problems today among believers is that very few of us truly know what it is to walk by faith. Individuals, families, and churches are guilty of incorporating human reasoning and circumstantial logic into their decision making. What's the result? We find ourselves on any old mountain, rather than the one uniquely, divinely, and specifically chosen by our loving Father. As Tammy and I were growing in Christ several years ago. we discovered that He had a plan for us that is tailor made. Finding the will of God is not like going to Belk or JC Penney in hopes of finding something that will be sufficient from the clearance section. He has a pathway chosen for our lives, and we must invest the necessary time to find and follow that path.
Please allow me to illustrate this important principle: In 2001, God made it very clear to us that we were to trust Him for the home in which we now live. For a year or so, we felt that our nest was being stirred concerning a possible relocation for our family and ministry. As His will was being clarified to us, we finally began the necessary steps to build our faith house. During this process, however, we began to be contacted by numerous churches that were confident that I should move to their communities and serve on their staff. Opportunities for me to become pastor were being extended that would have us move to several locations in Mississippi, including Clarksdale and Baldwyn. Churches in Alabama, Jasper and Mobile, contacted us. And even as our home was nearing completion, as well as after we moved in, invitations were coming for us to serve in Osceola, Arkansas; Cleveland, Tennessee, and even an invite to Honolulu, Hawaii.
Now, beloved, we could not go to all of these different places. And God was not asking us to sit down as a family and decide which place might be the most personally fulfilling or financially rewarding. We believed that He clearly revealed to us THE mountain upon which were to climb, build and plant our lives, so we came here rather than Honolulu! In your journey of life, make sure that you and your family are not foolishly implementing the decision making processes of the world. When we walk by faith, we should be yielding ourselves to the direction of our Lord. And remember, whenever we are obedient to Him, He will insure that we encounter the ram caught in the thicket!
Has agreed to allow Job2ten to pass along some of his words of wisdom. Be sure to go visit his blog to get to see all his content.