“What’s Your Isaac?” January 11

 

What's your Isaac? Is there something you've been holding too closely, something God is asking you to put on the altar? A grudge, a relationship, a career, a lifestyle, even a child that you haven't fully given to God?What’s your Isaac? Is there something you’ve been holding too closely, something God is asking you to put on the altar? A grudge, a relationship, a career, a lifestyle, even a child that you haven’t fully given to God? What blessings are you missing, as a result?

Also, read “From Tears to Trust” and “Lean Not on Your Own Understanding.” And in “Exposed Hearts” from Matthew 8, Jesus delivered two demon-possessed men from the power of Satan. But the people of the region were more concerned about their herd of pigs than what Jesus was doing.

Are there any “pigs” in your life that occupy more of your concern and attention than the work of God? 

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 21 & 22
Psalm 6.6-10
Proverbs 3.5-6
Matthew 8.18-34

 

What’s Your Isaac?

 

Genesis 21 & 22:

His Trustworthiness When Life Doesn’t Make Sense

 

As I read and meditate on these two chapters, they can be challenging to fully understand. While the truths of God are, on the one hand, so simple a child can understand, parts are so profound that we can spend a lifetime trying to fully understand.

15 And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him— 16 speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction (2 Pet. 3.15-16 NLT).

As mothers and fathers and sons and daughters it’s difficult to understand the sending away of one child (Gen. 21.8-14) and the offering up of another (Gen. 22.1-14). But I couldn’t help but rejoice as I thought about our Proverbs reading today:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path” (3.5-6).

When we don’t fully understand all the “whys and wherefores” of Scripture, we can always rely on His trustworthiness (You can read more on this subject in “What Will Steady Us in Tough Times”). That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek to glean all that we can from God’s Word.

First, Ishmael—Ishmael was fourteen years older than Isaac and Isaac was probably about three years old when he was weaned (no sippy cups back then). Imagine this seventeen-year-old mocking a three-year-old.

Proverbs 20.11 says, “Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right.”

But, God’s mercy was still at work here. God had not forgotten His promise to Hagar to protect Ishmael and to make a great nation of him. But it’s often in the “sending out,” the consequences of our sin, that we are brought to the end of ourselves and begin to look to God. Abraham and Hagar had to trust God’s work in Ishmael’s life. Later we’ll see that God kept His promise to them.

This is true in the lives of our children, too. Yet, we are so prone to try to protect them from the natural consequences of their actions. When we do, we often get in God’s way and slow His work in them.

 

Take Now Your Son …

 

¹ Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”

And he said, “Here I am.”

Then He said, “Take now 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” (Gen. 22).

Abraham IsaacThe temptation for me with this passage is to take a few lessons from it and not think about it too deeply. The idea of sacrificing your son is just so difficult to comprehend.

But there is so much here for us to learn. First of all, there is Abraham’s quick obedience (“So Abraham rose early in the morning …” Gen. 22.3) and his complete trust in God (“The lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you” Gen. 22.5). Also, that God sent him to a place three days journey away so he’d have time to contemplate. This was to be no rash decision. Imagine Abraham’s heart as Isaac asked “Where is the sacrifice?” and his response “God will provide …” (Gen. 22.8).

Abraham was so convinced of the promise of God and the goodness of God that Hebrews 11 tells us:

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called,’ concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead …” (Heb. 11.17-19).

Don’t miss the trust and obedience that Isaac displayed, as well. John MacArthur says that Isaac was probably over twenty years old by now. Here’s his elderly father telling him that he’s the sacrifice. He had to allow himself to be tied up and laid on the altar. Just as Jesus willingly laid down His life, Isaac as a type of Christ must have willingly submitted to his father.

And finally, as Abraham raised the knife, God said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad … for now I know …” (Gen. 22.12). Of course, God knew the end from the beginning, so this was really to reveal and strengthen Abraham’s heart.

What is your Isaac?We, often, think following God is about “giving up” things that are dear to us. But it’s more about realizing that what God offers us is so superior to anything that we might try to hold on to, that we willingly offer those things to Him.

What is your Isaac? Is there something you’ve been holding too closely, something God is asking you to put on the altar? A grudge, a relationship, a career, a lifestyle, even a child that you haven’t fully given to God? What blessings are you missing, as a result?

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Psalm 6.6-10:

From Tears to Trust

 

PrayerThis passage contains a progression that we often see in the Psalms. The psalmist pours out his heart. “I am weary …,” “I drench my couch with my tears,” “my eye wastes away because of grief …” But then refocuses on God and His truth. “For the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping,” “the Lord has heard my supplication,” “the Lord will receive my prayer …”

This is one reason the Psalms are such great passages to pray back to God.

 

Proverbs 3.5-6:

Lean Not on Your Own Understanding

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”

We are so prone to want to “understand” everything, and though we should study and seek godly wisdom and understanding, ultimately we must put our faith and trust in Him.

 

Matthew 8.18-34:

Exposed Hearts

 

Verses 28-34 about Jesus’ interaction with the Gergesenes (Gadarenes, NASB) reveals a sad truth about many people.

Jesus had delivered two demon-possessed men from the control of Satan, yet when He allowed the demons to go into a herd of pigs, instead of rejoicing, the people were more concerned about “their swine” than a visitation from their Savior.

Even Satan and his minions are subject to God and He sometimes uses them for His just and holy purposes. In this case, He used these demons to expose the hearts of the people.

It brings to mind a passage from a couple of days ago:

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matt. 6.19-21).

 

Closing Thoughts:

Are you protecting any “pigs” in your life?
Is there an Isaac you need to place on the altar?
What is God asking you to willingly offer up, so He can give you His best?

 

Praying the Bible:

From Genesis 22:

¹ Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”

And he said, “Here I am.”

Then He said, “Take now 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 and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”

Lord, help me to see if there are any Isaacs in my life, something you want me to lay on the altar, perhaps something I love too much? If so, help me to be quick to obey like Abraham and to grow in my ability to trust You in the process. In Jesus name. Amen.

 

Coming Up:

In the coming days, we’ll talk about the consequences of favoritism, how we often hide who we really are, the kind of reality and full disclosure that God offers us in the Bible, and ask the question “If we act badly because of hormonal issues, is it biology or sin?”

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Blessings,
Donna

 

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4 thoughts on ““What’s Your Isaac?” January 11

  1. One of the things God has been calling me to lay on the alter is big dreams . He has been calling me to lay those down and simply trust Him for the strength to be faithful with what He has already given .
    Blessings💜 thank you for sharing

  2. Sacrificing your son would be horrible, that’s why Jesus sacrifice was so great and deep and He did it willingly. I pray that ” Isaac “s whatever they may be will be consumed or even nailed to the cross. I don’t understand why people won’t give up sin for love/

    • It should be easy, shouldn’t it, but we can be good at justifying our own or calling them something else. So glad you were here today, Rebecca.

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