After these things God tested Abraham. He 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 that I shall show you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. – Genesis 22:1-3 (NRSV)
We have all had reality checks. These critical intersections between our perception and the truth help us change direction or motivate us to move with more purpose in the direction we were headed. Sometimes we have been the mouthpiece for God to speak truth into someone’s delusion. Other times we needed to hear good sense from anywhere God could get through to us. But I know of only two people who God asked to sacrifice their sons – Abraham and Mary.
However, Abraham’s story calls us to an attitude as fathers; to a posture toward God regarding our children. It is a simple, but difficult truth – our children do not belong to us. Everything is His and we are entrusted with what He chooses to give us, including our children. Some may say this is a cop out on being responsible – making our children God’s responsibility – but this is a kneejerk perspective and a misunderstaning. More often than not, we take better care of what is entrusted to us than we do the things we own. It is a matter of accountability. I only have to account to myself for what I own, but I must account to someone else for what has been entrusted to me.
Abraham, by his actions, proved that he was totally in tune with this concept. He moved forward on God’s command without hesitation or complaint, understanding that it was fully in God’s rights to ask whatever He wanted of Abraham. So how do we get to that same place of immediate and unquestioning obedience in our lives? The answer is practice.
Abraham had a long track record of going where God told him to go, and had learned that the promise was only going to come on God’s terms. He had plenty of opportunities to practice his righteous response to God. The reality is that God has a plan for our children’s lives that may involve risk and we need to be prepared to support them in following God’s plan. If we want to have the response that Abraham had, we need to start practicing on the easier things now.
Today is an opportunity to offer your children to God as a sacrifice. Certainly not to the extreme that Abraham was asked to go, but we must be willing to let them grow and go beyond our comfort zone. Pray for the strength and courage to let your children go where God wills to do what He wills. Pray for insight into the gifts and abilities that God has given to you children. Ask for the wisdom and patience to lead them forward in prayer into a life of obedience, sacrifice and love. Amen.