It is said that Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire, once had captured a prince and his family. When they came before him, the monarch asked the prisoner, “What will you give me if I release you?” “The half of my wealth,” was his reply. “And if I release your children?” “Everything I possess.” “And if I release your wife?” “Your Majesty, I will give myself.” Cyrus was so moved by his devotion that he freed them all. As they returned home, the prince said to his wife, “Wasn’t Cyrus a handsome man!” With a look of deep love for her husband, she said to him, “I didn’t notice. I could only keep my eyes on you- -the one who was willing to give himself for me.”
In Genesis 22 we see the testing of Abraham by God. His test was this; verse 2 “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.” If that had been me, I would have replied ok, ok, and then when I heard the sacrifice son part, I would have had to ask. Are you sure? What did Abraham do? The very next verse says, “Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey.” STOP!!! That’s it? He got up first thing the next morning and went about his business of getting ready to go to a mountain and kill his son? Yes! Two blogs ago I spoke to the righteousness that Abraham had and how it was given to him because of his faith. Here is a glowing example of what kind of faith he had and how that faith was more than belief. It was a lifestyle! In verse 6 it’s worthy to note that Isaac was carrying the wood for himself to be sacrificed. Not only did Abraham trust God, but Isaac trusted Abraham, his father. Just a side note: We need more fathers to show Godliness and more of their sons to follow that example of Godliness by honoring their father. So, they are going up to the altar built for the sacrifice and Isaac looks at his father and says in verse 7, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offerings?” Without hesitation in verse 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” Little did Isaac know, but it was him who was going to be the sacrifice. Abraham’s faith was being tested and his testing showed a love for God that was incomparable. It was this kind of faith that prompted God to say that Abraham would be blessed, as well as, all his descendants from that time on. Of course, an angel stopped Abraham short of killing Isaac and God provided a lamb for the sacrifice. Wow, the willingness by one man to sacrifice his son as God had so ordained. Does this sound familiar? Of course it does!! God needed a lamb to sacrifice for the sins of the world, once and for all. God chose to give His Son, Jesus, to make the ultimate sacrifice. In this one act of love He made it possible for all of those who receive Christ to be blessed forever and ever. Just like Abraham and Isaac went up the mountain God had picked for their sacrifice, Jesus carried the cross up Golgotha, the place of the skull, to complete His sacrifice for you and for me. Abraham’s faith in that sacrifice was counted for him as righteousness. Jesus sacrifice on the cross was what made it possible for you and me to be counted as righteous. What a parallel these stories are in life. There is another sacrifice though. It is the one we make when we give our life to Jesus in full obedience. We don’t have to die physically, but each of us is called to take up our cross and follow Jesus. Many times this is the part that believers forget and their effectiveness in sharing the message of Christ is compromised. But, those who do follow God’s Word and live that kind of life make a huge impact on everyone they meet. In so many ways, we are living and breathing the Gospel because it lives on in each of us.
It is imperative that we focus on what Christ’ sacrifice meant for each of us and how we should honor it with our lives. I want you to pause and picture the hill Jesus died on and picture if it was you who had to die for someone when you had done nothing. That sacrifice should make us pause and lift our eyes to the hills and say, “thank you Jesus.” That way when we go about our everyday life it will reflect that we only have eyes for Jesus. No split obedience, with some for the world, and some for God. All out faith and focus on Him and His will. What will make that happen? When we fully realize the sacrifice He made for us, we will only be able to keep our eyes on Him. All other “stuff” is just earth living….That’s all…
The Pilgrimage continues…..