Worship, Love, and Obedience

During our last lesson on Abraham, we learned how the same Gospel that we believe and preach today is the same Gospel that was preached to Abraham about 4,000 years ago. This week, we are going to focus on Abraham’s obedience in Genesis 22. Abraham has a test in Genesis 16 that he failed miserably because of his sin nature. He needed God to intervene so that he would be able to obey. God did intervene in Genesis 17 and changed Abraham from the inside out. In Genesis 22, God tests Abraham and in the midst of this test, we discover what Genuine Worship and True Love are. In fact, in this chapter, this is the fist time that the word “love” is used in the Bible. It is also the first time that “worship” is used in the Bible.

I. Abraham’s Trial

The trial comes after Abraham’s long awaited son, Isaac had been born and was probably around 10 years old. God puts Abraham to the test. God tests Abraham with the opportunity to obey His Word or not. Previously, in Genesis 16, Abraham failed the test. Now Abraham is different. He now has God’s character in him. Abraham answers the call right away. He does not hesitate to obey God this time. Abraham is to offer his son whom he loved as a sacrifice to the Lord. Isaac is the gift that God had promised to Abraham. Now, Abraham has to make a choice between the gift given to him or the Giver of that gift. We have to make this same choice today. Jesus teaches His followers that we are to choose Him over everything else. This is found in Matthew 10:

34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35 “For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW;
36 and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.
37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
39 “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.

We have to choose God over all things, even noble things, like our own families. We have to choose God over our own lives, which is also a gift from the Lord.

II. Abraham’s Obedience

Abraham arose early in the morning, the next day, and took his son Isaac to go and worship the Lord. Abraham related worship with obedience. Abraham does exactly what God tells him to do, step by step. They traveled 3 days to get to where they were going. Abraham built an altar and laid Isaac out to sacrifice him. He raises the knife to finish the task and then God stops him. We see that Abraham loves his son, but, he loves God more. He demonstrates his worship, his love for God by his obedience. This is what God desires for us. Jesus teaches the same thing in John 14:15

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

God makes it possible for us to love Him by giving us the ability to obey Him. God did it for Abraham and Jesus does it for us today. Obedience is important because it confirms our relationship with God. When our relationship is genuine, God indwells us and enables us to obey Him. Obedience is a sign for us that our faith is genuine. Also, obedience is important because it brings about blessings. God tells Abraham that he will greatly blessed because of his obedience. God promises to greatly multiply Abraham’s descendants. God is going to use Abraham to bless all of the nations of the earth. This is all because of God. God is the One who gives Abraham the ability to obey. Obedience is a blessing. Apart from God’s help, we cannot obey God because of our sin nature.

III. Abraham and Isaac’s Trust

Isaac learned to trust God by watching his father, Abraham trust God. Isaac trusted his father’s faith and the Object of Abraham’s faith. Isaac did not object. He carried the wood. He allowed himself to be bound. He laid down on the altar. He knew that God would provide just like his father had told him He would provide. Abraham also trusted God. He knew that God would either provide a sacrifice for Himself or, that if Isaac were to be sacrificed, God would have to raise him from the dead, because of His Covenant promise. As a parent, are you teaching your children to trust the Lord with every part of their lives, in every circumstance and situation? As believing parents, this is what God has called us to do:

4 Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!
5 “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
7 ” You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
8 “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead *.
9 “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
10 “Then it shall come about when the LORD your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build,
11 and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied,
12 then watch yourself, that you do not forget the LORD who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (Deuteronomy 6)

Are you teaching God’s Word to your children and modeling trust and obedience to them?

IV. God’s Provision

In this chapter, God reveals Himself as Jehovah-jireh, the Lord will provide. God requires His worshipers to bring a sacrifice and then provides the sacrifice for Himself. In Abraham’s case, God provides a lamb in Isaac’s place. The name of the place of sacrifice is Mount Moriah. This  is the place where the Temple was built. For about 1,600 years, the Hebrews offered daily sacrifices at the place called “God will provide”. When Jesus stepped on the scene, He is called “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world“. God provided the sacrifice in the person of Jesus Christ. Because of Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection, we are able to believe like Abraham and be born again, giving us the ability to obey God the same way that Abraham did.

Have you accepted the Lord’s sacrifice? Have you been born again? Do you worship God? Do you love God? Are you demonstrating your love and worship through your daily obedience? Do you trust the Lord? Are you teaching others to trust the Lord the way that Abraham did? May the Lord help us learn to worship and love Him through our genuine obedience!

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