Last week, we looked at how God promised a Savior at the moment that man fell into sin. God had every right to just pronounce judgment on mankind, but He chose, out of the graciousness of His heart, to make a way of hope and redemption.
As time would move on, we see that God begins putting His plan of redemption in place. We come now to the promise of blessing. In Genesis 12, God calls a man named Abram to follow Him. God promises blessing to mankind through this man who would come to be known as Abraham. It is this promise of blessing that we want to look at today.
The Promised Child
And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”
As Abraham would journey with God by faith, we see in Genesis 17 where God promised one of the greatest gifts to Abraham. God said that Abraham and Sarah would have a son. This seemed impossible as Abraham was close to 100 years old and Sarah was 90 years old – both well past childbearing ages.
About one year from the Genesis 17 meeting between God and Abraham, Sarah would give birth to Isaac. It is easy to look at our situations and circumstances and think that they are just too much… that we’ve missed our opportunity… but God uses this situation to show that NOTHING is impossible for Him.
The Strange Request
While the scene that has been played out so far is one of warmth and encouragement, we see that things take a strange turn in Genesis 22.
The same God that had called Abraham out to follow Him and gave him a child when it was impossible and promised that blessings would come to the world through his line is now saying to sacrifice the promised child.
It is a tragic thing when a parent loses a child. For a parent to be called to willing let go of their child is unthinkable. But that is exactly what we see here. What in the world is God up to? How is the world going to be blessed through the line of Abraham if it does not exist?
We see in Genesis 22:1 that the Bible says God “tested” Abraham. There are times when God will put us to the test. Many times when these tests come they are a test to show where our true loyalty lies. Are we committed to God or to our way?
To be committed to God means that He is who we claim Him to be in our lives – Lord… the one in complete control… the one who gets to say what goes and doesn’t in every single area of our lives. Do we demonstrate this with our actions? Is every word that we say and every action that we take what God desires? Or do we let God have control of only certain areas of our lives? The blessings that our hearts desire come only when we follow the Blesser’s commands.
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.
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.
We see that Abraham wastes no time in obeying what God had commanded him. Did he understand what God was going to do? I don’t think so fully. That is the essence of faith though. We like to have all the details laid out before us, but that removes the element of faith.
The Bible tells us that without faith, we cannot please God.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Abraham takes Isaac to the mountain that God determines. The boy and his father go up the mountain, and there the unthinkable happens: Abraham prepares to sacrifice his son.
How willing are you to let go and sacrifice your dreams… your plans… your ways? We are trained by our culture to do and have things “your way.” We are told that you are to be your own person. The truth is that we will never experience the blessings that God has for us until we get to the point where we let go of our ways, plans, and dreams. It is at that point that we experience God’s dreams, plans, and ways which are always perfect and for our best.
The Blessing Confirmed
We see that the Lord intervenes in the situation. The angel of the Lord said that it was evident that God truly had Abraham’s heart. Abraham had not held anything back from the Lord. Now there would be nothing to stand in the way from Abraham experiencing the work that God wanted to do in him and through him.
Are there things that you are holding back from the Lord? Are there areas of your life that you have been unwilling to hand over to God? If so, these things are keeping you from experiencing the fullness of what God wants to do in and through you. Why don’t you make a decision today to give God those areas of your life and experience the fullness of Him?
If you choose to do that, you too can experience the blessing of God.
In Genesis 22:15–18, we see that because of Abraham’s willingness to surrender his entire self to God, the promise of blessing was confirmed over him. The truth is that this promise was much greater than Issac. It was only at this point that Abraham fully understood that God had much bigger plans in mind.
In the New Testament, Matthew’s gospel starts out with a human genealogy of Jesus Christ. It traced its way from Jesus all the way back to Abraham. This line went from Abraham through Isaac and brought us Jesus.
God has always been a God of blessing. He has wanted to see His people live in the midst of His blessing. Some years ago, God promised to an older man that through Him the peoples of the earth would experience the greatest of blessings. We see from Matthew’s gospel that the promise of blessing has been kept. The blessing of God comes through His Son, Jesus Christ, and it is available to all who will receive Him.
As we go about this wonderful Christmas season, are we experiencing the blessing that God promised so long ago? Or are we missing the greatest gift that was ever given?