Sacrificing Issac

Gen 22:1-19

God commands Abraham to sacrifice Issac.

This is what “TESTING” looks like.  God asks us to do the inconceivable or the improbable or the impossible and we obey, one step at a time – TRUSTING that He knows what He has asked and that it will be taken care of by His hand.  Abraham attitude is this: ” I  know WHAT God has asked me to do.  I don’t know WHERE or HOW He’s asked me to do it, but I will be ready, immediately.”

Abraham didn’t hesitate in obeying. v3 says he rose early in the morning.  Contrast that to Lot leaving Sodom (Gen 19:15-17) to save his own life!  “Save your own skin and your family” vs. “Kill your only son” – which would make more sense in hesitating?

1. God reveals what we need to know, WHEN we need to know it.  “He is seldom early, but never late.”  I have heard many times.  I know this was certainly the case when we adopted our kids from Russia.  There were so many delays and frustrations both during the adoption process and certainly after the adoptions.  Had God revealed everything to us at the beginning, I’m not sure we would have obeyed as we did.  It’s been HARD.  It’s taken its toll on my biological kids and our family in general with 2 of the 3 kids we adopted having RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder).  But, looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing because where I am spiritually with the Lord, where Dawn is with the Lord and where we are as a married couple is far more than I could have ever hoped or imagined.  Would I do it again?  Tough call.

2. God provides what we need to have, WHEN we need to have it (the ram).  This is the second time this theme has come up recently.  The recent post I did on Hagar had the the theme of God’s provision – at the right time – when Hagar found the well (or God created the well – however you want to read it).  This is important – especially in potentially crazy economic times – to remember that He will provide what we need, when we need it.  My problem is that one word… “WHEN”, usually my definition and his definition are not the same – in fact – they rarely are.

It’s all about His timing, His will, His call on my life.  I only have to have the same attitude as Abraham.

“I don’t know WHERE or HOW He’s asked me to do it, but I will be ready, immediately.”

Wait for Him

Genesis 15

After Abram’s meeting and interaction with Melchizedek, Abram has a vision and meeting with God, through a vision.  In this vision and interaction with the Lord, Abram is promised that “… one who will come from  your own body will be your heir.” (Gen 15:4)  In fact, the Lord then tells Abram to go outside and count the stars – if he’s able – because that’s how many descendents Abram will have.

I mention this to set the time of day of this vision.  It is clearly nighttime, otherwise Abram would not have seen any stars.  Keep that in mind.

Abram, in a sense, asks for some “proof” – “… how shall I know…?” (v8) and the Lord gives him some instructions to gather some animals and bring them to him.  So Abram does.  He cuts them in two and placed them opposite of each other.  Then he waits on the Lord.  Verse 11 says that Abram waited so long, he had chase away vultures who were trying to come eat the dead carcasses.  Verse 12 begins to discuss what happens as the sun begins to set.

Gen 15:17: And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces.

OK.  Abram has been up all night (remember, he counted the stars), thru the morning, the afternoon, the evening and into the night again before the Lord showed up and passed through the sacrifice and made covenant with Abram.

I, for one, am very impatient with the Lord.  In my “everything gets wrapped up in a 30 minute episode” world, I expect that I will pray it, and God will do it, and then I’ll move on to the next thing.

Sometimes God’s timing isn’t my timing.  Sometimes following His directions can be a little confusing.  I can imagine while Abram is chasing off the vultures, he’s thinking “Uh… Hello… Lord…. remember me?  Down here!  It’s me Abram…. I got the animals you asked for.  What do you want me to do next?”  ….. (silence) …. (crickets chriping) … (more silence) ….

I know I feel that way sometimes.  “OK God.  I’ve done X-Y-Z as you asked me to.  Now what?”… “Hello!”… “Are you there?”….” Did I do something wrong?”…  This is where the enemy likes to start throwing in the seeds of doubt.  This is where he says I didn’t hear God right, or I missed God, or I’m out of God’s will.  Sound familiar?

The pictures of the vultures is a GREAT visual here!  I don’t believe for a minute that it is coincidence that it’s in the bible.  Moses didn’t need any “filler” when he penned it.  There is a spiritual truth to that physical episode.  Isn’t the enemy just like those pesky vultures?  How often does the enemy come and try to steal, destroy and eat away at that which God has told us, or promised us, or instructed us to do!  Just like Abram, we have  to drive them off! (v11)

But, in His timing, God DOES come and he DOES deliver and he DOES promise and he DOES bless.  Thank you God!

Teach me Dad to wait for you in quiet confidence and in complete belief and faith.

The God Express Button

We have a very complex microwave.  There are tons of different settings to cook almost anything you can imagine.  It has the ability to brown and bake using light while cooking the inside with microwaves. It can cook a batch of chocolate chip cookies in 7 minutes.  That 3-5 whole minutes faster than the oven!  It can cook biscuit in 6 minute.  Whatever you want to cook, it can cook and it can do it faster than the convection oven (which is faster than a conventional oven).

However, our microwave has two buttons that are used the most… far beyond any other buttons.  THE single most used button on the microwave is the “Microwave Express” button.  This button turns the microwave on for 30 seconds.  If you touch it while the microwave is on, it adds another 30 seconds.  So, if I want to cook something for 1 and 1/2 minutes, it’s 3 touches of the button.

The second most used button is the one just above it that turns the light on in the microwave, so I can see my food being nuclearized, because I just HAVE to see my coffee get reheated!

I’ve noticed that I’m just that same way with Father.  I want to push the “God Express” button in various areas of my life:


How many times have I sent up A SINGLE prayer… a.k.a. the “flare prayer” to God?  “OK Lord, I’ve pushed my God Express button, answer this prayer please…

Ezra 10:1 Now while Ezra was praying, and while he was confessing, weeping, and bowing down before the house of God, a very large assembly of men, women, and children gathered to him from Israel; for the people wept very bitterly.
Neh 1:4 So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

When Jesus went to Gethsemane to pray… (Matt 26:36-46) Jesus prayed for an hour the first time…

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

He went on to pray for two more sessions.

Col 1:3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
1 Thess 5:18 Pray without ceasing

I’m not advocating that there are not appropriate times for quick prayers to the Lord for wisdom, for an immediate situation, whatever… but if that’s the ONLY kind of prayer I’m offering and I’m expecting immediate results, then I’m treating God more like a Genie in a Bottle than I am the Creator of the Universe.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, immediately after pushing my God Express button, I push the ‘light’ button, because I want to “see” what He’s going to do about it and how He’s going to handle it.


To often I find myself with this same attitude in my own personal growth and tranformation.  “Gee, that was a great lesson Dad!  I’m so glad I journaled that,”  never to look at it again or continue working on, studying, or chewing on it.

Phil 2:12-13 (NKJV)
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure

“Work out” my salvation?  “Work out?”  That would imply that when I stop, I get weaker and less “in shape.”  Wow.  Great picture and application.  My spiritual walk needs to be exercised and strengthened daily.  There is no express button for instant muscles or instant fitness.  It is a daily, continual, diligent exercise and regiment.  So is my transformation.  Again, I’m not advocating a religious formula or legalistic “do & don’t” list.  It’s an attitude of the heart.  It’s  a process of discipleship based in a real, living, vibrant relationship with Jesus.

Guess what? The God Express Button and the Light button aren’t connected… in fact, they don’t even exist.  They are stickers that I have put on and a deception that I have believed.

Yes, Father lets us “see” our own progress sometimes.  He is a good dad.  He encourages us along the way.   But He wants me to grow.  He wants me to learn patience.

Prov 19:11 A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.
Prov 25:15 Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.
Eccles 7:8 The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.
Isa 7:13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also?
Rom 2:4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?
Rom 9:22 What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction?
2 Cor 6:6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Col 1:11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully
Col 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
1 Tim 1:16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.
2 Tim 3:10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance,
2 Tim 4:2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
Heb 6:12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
James 5:10 Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
2 Pet 3:15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.

Papa, I repent of believing the lie that there is a “God Express” button that I can push to make you respond in the time frame of MY choosing.  How selfish and prideful I was.  I ask your forgiveness and know that according to 1 John 1:9 You are faithful to forgive me because I have confessed.  Help me to be patient.  I ask for that fruit of your Spirit to manifest and find good soil to grow in my life.  Continue your work in my heart and in my life.  I want to be extinct so that You are all others see, hear and feel.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.