God wants our whole heart, as Abraham learned in Genesis 22. Here we see the foretelling of Calvary with one major difference. There was a rescue for Isaac, but not one for Jesus. Jesus went the whole way, laying down His life for sinners like you and me. Let’s consider this profound truth together in the last episode in our series on the life of Abraham.
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Transcript: Once again welcome to “5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer.” I’m so glad that you joined us today for this last episode in the life of Abraham, “Strength for the Journey.” If you were with us last time, you will remember that Abraham and his son go to the top of the mountain alone. The young men who were with them were asked to stay at the bottom of the mountain and the reason for that is to prefigure the fact that when Jesus died on the cross, it was really between Him and His Father. All of the earth was shrouded in darkness and so we can only imagine what happens when they are there. And eventually Isaac is laid on the altar, Abraham takes his knife and the angel of the Lord appears and says, “Abraham don’t do it. Now, I know that you fear God.” And you can imagine what a happy reunion he and his son had at that point.
But the story isn’t over because over in the thicket, there was a ram caught that was brought and sacrificed in the place of Isaac, completing the picture of Jesus Christ dying for us and a reminder of the fact that He died where we should have died. He died, that is, the ram did, in the place of Isaac and Jesus died for us.
But I can’t leave this remarkable story without making some applications. First of all, it is very important to realize that when we worship, it involves sacrifice. Abraham said to the young men, “the lad and I are going to go worship.” How much does worship cost you? How much does worship cost me? That’s the question. Worship involves sacrifice, it involves dealing with idols in our life. As a matter of fact, that’s another lesson that comes to mind and that is that God should mean more to us than anything else, including our children. When God really wants to test us, he does it through our children. Just ask Job. “The dearest idols I have known, what ‘er those idols be, help me to tear them from the throne and worship only thee.” And then we’re reminded of the fact that we, as creatures, need to be obedient because we are always being tested and the test for us is like the test for Abraham: Number one, “how much do you love Me”, number two, “how much do you trust Me”, and “how much do you believe in Me that you can obey Me?” Now, I find this remarkable even as we are ending our study of the life of Abraham, 1800 years before Christ—nearly 4000 years ago, and we’re still talking about it. Because we like to talk about legacy; we like to talk about impact. And here is a man who is willing to finally prove that God was first. So, actually we end this series by asking ourselves a very poignant question: Are we true worshipers? What is there in your life—what is there in my life that separates us from our love for God? God tested Abraham and God tests us. Hopefully not in the same way, certainly. As I emphasized at the beginning, the fact is that if you ever hear a voice that tells you to sacrifice your children, we know that it is the voice of the devil. But Abraham is the father of faith because he went on believing—trusting that if necessary, God would raise his son from the dead. So, thank you Abraham. We look forward to meeting you sometime and by the way because heaven is eternal, if you want to spend five years with Abraham, you go ahead and do it and I’ll line up right after you because someday I want to ask him some questions about this experience.
Thanks so much for joining us today, hope that you join us again next time and as for today you just go with God.