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Today is the day that the Rock Church will come together to pledge our time, talents, and treasures back to God. Think and pray about how God is asking you to be generous and make an ALL IN commitment for the next 2 years.
Abram is called at the age of seventy-fve to leave his homeland and go to an unknown place. God promises to lead him and to make him a great nation by giving him a son. Twenty-five years later, Abraham still has no son by his wife, yet God’s promise still stands and He finally provides Abraham and Sarah a son when they are nearly one-hundred years old.
Then God asks Abraham to give the child back to Him – the very vehicle by which God would make Abraham a great nation, bless the earth, and fulfill His promises. In asking for this great sacrifice, God is testing Abraham to see how strong His faith is and how quickly he will obey even without understanding how God can make His promises come to fruition.
A test proves something to be true.
Test #1 - Has your perceived ‘vehicle’ to God’s Promise become an idol?
Abraham has finally received the son he has long awaited – the son who he believes will be the beginning of the legacy God has promised him. But now God is asking him to sacrifice this very son! Abraham is faced with a dilemma: must he save his son or is he willing to give up the one, long-awaited son he loves and trust God, even when it seems to destroy the promise God has made for his family?
God tests us as He did Abraham, not only to find out whether or not we truly love Him, but whether or not we are willing to surrender the things most precious to us.
God tests us as He did Abraham, not only to find out whether or not we truly love Him, but whether or not we are willing to surrender the things most precious to us – whatever we believe is to be the vehicle to fulfill His promises for our lives and our futures.
Over the course of time and with repetitive action, we can begin to believe that we must live a certain way or do or have certain things in order to be happy. But God is asking whether or not He can be enough for us. In doing so, He may ask us to surrender certain reactions, thought processes, or behaviors that may be hindering our trust in Him. As you consider your pledge today as an ALL IN commitment, are you willing to surrender what you love the most: your time, your relationships, or even the patterns of behavior or attitudes that you may have developed as idols in your life?
Clearly, Abraham trusts the Lord. He does not hesitate in his obedience to sacrifice Isaac, yet his words reveal an overarching faith that God will deliver his son and still fulfill His promises:
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.” So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand,
and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his
father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.”
Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together. Genesis 22:4-8
Abraham acts obediently and places his son on the altar, but all along he believes that God will provide a way for Isaac to be spared.
Your own love and fear of God are tested by your actions as well. The only way God knows you fear Him is by what you do not by what you feel. Love is an action done even when you don’t feel like doing it. Are you coming to church? Reading your Bible? Serving in ministry? Giving in generosity? Sacrificing the things that are important to you if He asks you to surrender them? What changes are happening in your attitudes, in your life, in your perceptions of yourself or of others? Are you willing to let these go so that you can trust in God and in His promises to you?
Test #2 - Is God faithful?
When God tests you, you need to test Him; do what He asks and watch Him fulfill His promises to you.
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. Malachi 3:10
God cannot lie, so if He makes a promise to you, step out in obedience and watch him be faithful to His word – you will be satisfied!
But the Angel of the Lord called
to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.”
And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” Genesis 22: 11-14
Have you ever seen a ram caught in the bushes? It doesn’t naturally happen! God indeed provided for the sacrifice and spared Isaac, just as Abraham believed He would.
Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” Genesis 22:15-18
God has made promises to you that you will be able to walk with Him, have an intimate relationship with Him, experience His peace, joy, and the fruits of the Spirit in your life. He may challenge you over an over again to have open, surrendering hands, that there will be no idols between you and Him.
Today we made our 2-year pledges to give financially in tithes and offerings. How is God prompting you to obedience by committing to a faith pledge?