January 10, 2011
“1 Sometime later, God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
2 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.”
3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.” (Genesis 22:1-3) NIV
I worked for a Christian drug and alcohol rehabilitation program and I remember, some time ago, having a student in front of me. It was his third time around and he just expressed to me and the rest of the students that this time he was very serious. Twice before this student walked out the program as he was not willing to give certain things up. This particular student insisted in receiving unemployment benefits while in our program; a direct violation of our policy. While in the beginning stages of our program, students are not allowed to receive unemployment benefits as they are not allowed to work. We focus on addressing their addiction issues until they get into the transitional aspect of our program; then they are allowed to seek employment. For a student to receive unemployment benefits in the beginning stages means that they would have to lie every two weeks as they must state that they are seeking employment. It was a very clear line! For my surprise, this student started receiving these unemployment checks again. He found himself in the familiar position of having to choose between the program and the unemployment check. For the third time, this student voted on the side of money over God; less than twenty four hours later he was drinking again.
Abraham found himself in a position where he was being tested with an amazing and painful test. Abraham needed to choose between obeying God and killing his own son. The moment of Abraham’s ultimate test is describe in the Bible as follow in Genesis 22:9-12
“9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
How many of us can hear the Lord saying: “Now I know that you fear me, because you have not taken that unemployment check; because you did not lie, because you finally gave that relationship up, because you chose Me over this or that?” How easy we give up on God! For Abraham, it was, indeed, a dramatic experience, but for many of us it’s something as simple as a job, a girl friend, a place or an unemployment check. Where do we draw the line with God?