Some time later God tested Abraham. He said, to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. 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.” Early the next morning, Abraham got up and loaded his donkey.
Genesis 22: 1-3a
If you are over 50 years old, you will remember an old hymn that goes like this:
(When he calls me, I will answer x3); I’ll be somewhere working for my Lord;
I'll be somewhere, (working, working somewhere X2); Working for my Lord……x2
As a young girl in elementary (Kenya-primary) school, I sang this song with gusto, mostly off-key I’m sure, but nevertheless I lent my enthusiastic voice to the deafening chorus of sopranos and tenor’s around me, with barely a thought for what this song really meant. Maybe you can remember singing the same song, declaring confidently for all to hear, “When he calls me, I will answer.” If you are anything like me, this is easier to say, than do.
In Genesis, chapter 22, one begins to get a glimpse of what this really means. God called Abraham by name and told him to go to the region of Moriah and sacrifice his son, Isaac on a mountain that God would show him. God called Abraham to surrender the one thing he valued the most in the world, his precious son; a son that he had waited for his whole lifetime. A miracle baby, born to Abraham when he was 100 years old. God Almighty, asked him to lay his most beloved son on the altar.
Without question, Abraham got up, loaded his donkey and went to the mountain to do God’s bidding. What? Did you hear that? Can you even begin to imagine what that must have felt like? Can you imagine what must have gone on in Abraham’s heart as he took that journey to Mount Moriah, with his beloved son chatting incessantly beside him, peppering him with questions like, “Dad, we have the knife and the wood, but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?” Where did Abraham, even find the strength to follow through? And was God really interested in child sacrifice? Is this what it was all about, or was there something else going on here?
Three little words give us clarity, “…God tested Abraham.” God tested Abraham to see what was in his heart. And Abraham passed the test. Abraham believed that “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering (Genesis 22:8).” Could it be that God has been testing you? Has the Spirit of God been calling out your name, nudging you to lay some prized possession on God’s altar? Have you been struggling with the idea of surrendering something precious to you, perhaps because you waited so long for it, or worked so hard for it? Does your mountain loom so high and large, that you don’t know how to get to it, or go over it?
As the LORD said to Zerubbabel: “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, (Zechariah 4:6)” Having obeyed God, Abraham discovered something more precious than land, flocks of sheep or any other earthly benefit. Abraham discovered a deeper intimacy with God after his test, and you can too, if you say, “Here I am,” when he calls your name.
God Almighty, you are a faithful God. Take my life today Lord, and let it be consecrated to thee. Give me the will to say, “Here I am,” when you call my name, because you have already given all for me. You have already provided the lamb; your One and only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Speak now Lord, your servant is listening, ready and willing to do your bidding. Amen.