Following In The Footsteps Of Faith Sermon #15
ON THE MOUNTAIN OF ABSOLUTE SURRENDER
Abraham’s Faith Confirmed
1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 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.”
6 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. 7 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?”
8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.
9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”
So he said, “Here I am.”
12 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.”
13 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.
14 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.”
This is one of the great mountain top passages of the Bible. In it, we find one of the clearest pictures of the coming sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary. It seems as though God used the life of Abraham as a canvas to paint a portrait of His Own heart as He willingly gave His Own darling Son JESUS CHRIST to die for the sin of man. This is usually how we approach this passage. However, there is another dimension to this text.
I would like to look at this passage from Abraham’s perspective. As I read the Bible, I am confronted with the truth that no other man was called upon to give so much. Yet, as Abraham’s sacrifice to the Lord is offered on Mt Moriah, we do not see the heart of a devastated broken man and a father. Instead, we see the heart of a worshiper! I believe there are lessons that we can learn from father Abraham today.
As you and I pass through this life on earth, there will be demands made on our lives by God. Often, these demands will call for personal and profound sacrifices on our part. From a human perspective, we may not want to participate in what God calls us to do.
However, God’s demand from your life and mine is total, absolute and unquestioning obedience (OBEDIENCE) to His Perfect Will, 1 Sam. 15:22; Rom. 12:1-2.
Even though we know this, there is still a part of us that wants to rebel against the command of God for our lives.
Today, I would like for us to join Abraham as he climbs the lonely Mountain Of Absolute Surrender. There are steps we must take if we will climb that mountain.
Let’s join this great man of God on this mountain and see what it would take for us to be On The Mountain Of Absolute Surrender as well.
I. V. 1-2 INVOLVES PERCEPTION
(Ill. We must be in a position to hear (HEAR) God.)
A. This Demands A Relationship – Abraham came to know the Lord back in Genesis chapter 12. The reality of his conversion is revealed in Gen. 15:6. Their relationship had often been rocky.
(Ill. Lot – 12:4; Egypt – 12:10-20; Hagar – 16:1-4; Gerar – 20:1-18 – He wasn’t perfect, but he knew the Lord.)
(Note: How about you? Have you been saved? If so, then no doubt your relationship has been rocky too. Be that as it may, there is still a relationship with the Lord. If you have not been saved, you need to bow to His Sovereign Will and be saved in Christ Jesus!)
B. This Demands A Readiness – As soon as God speaks, Abraham responds! This implies that he had been listening for the voice of His Lord, and he was not disappointed. (Note: God is on the lookout for people who want to be in a deep, close relationship with Himself – John 4:23. If you ever get hungry for the Lord, you will not be disappointed!)
C. This Demands A Revelation – God revealed His plan for Abraham’s life. This was a necessary part of the process, for no man can know the mind of God until it is revealed to man by God Himself.
1. Notice How God Defines His Commands – “thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest.” Abraham’s son Ishmael had already been sent away. Now, the command comes that would take Isaac away as well. God was asking for everything Abraham had! All his hopes, his dreams and his plans were bound up in Isaac. God says “give it all to me!” (Note: God wants nothing less than everything – Rom. 12:1; Luke 14:26-27.)
2. Notice How God Details His Commands – God was very precise about what Abraham was to do. (Note: When God speaks, He may not reveal every detail of His plan, but your next step will always be made clear.)
3. Notice How God Darkens His Commands – God does not explain the “why?” to men! (Note: Does the “why?” even matter? It shouldn’t! Faith knows that the path of God always leads to good for us and to bring glory to Him – Rom. 8:28.)
II. V. 3-5 INVOLVES PREPARATIONS
(Note: As we observe Abraham doing what the Lord commanded, we see a man who is thoroughly prepared. There are three areas in which Abraham made his preparations.)
A. V. 3 His Hands Were Prepared – Abraham wasted no time, but got himself up and gathered everything he would need to do what God had commanded. He left nothing out, but he took nothing extra!
(Note: There is an urgency to the commands of God. The moment He calls is the moment you should act – John 9:4.)
(Note: Procrastination has caused the death on many profound spiritual experiences. We miss them because we hesitated.)
(Note: Just a thought: If anything is worth doing for the Lord, it is worth doing right! May we always refuse to build with cheap materials! 1 Cor. 3:12)
B. V. 4-5a His Head Was Prepared – Abraham had three days and three nights to think about what was about to happen. To him, it must have made no sense at all, yet he did it without question!
All Abraham knew was:
1.) Isaac was the future – Gen. 17; and
2.) God wanted Isaac back! Even though he couldn’t make it add up mentally, by FAITH he was willing to obey God.
(Note: This is the key to consistent spiritual victory! We are called to walk by faith, Rom. 1:17; 2 Cor. 5:7. God help us to come to the place where, even when God’s commands make absolutely no sense, we will still obey Him without question or reservation! Hallelujah! Amen!)
C. V. 5b His Heart Was Prepared – Abraham knew why he was there. He was there to offer his beloved son Isaac to God. He was there to give everything that was present in that day and all that was promised for tomorrow. Yet, he looked at it as a service of worship to the Lord!
(Note: Define worship – It is ascribing worth to someone! Worship is taking a place of absolute humility before God, thereby leaving HIM, alone, in the place of exaltation!)
Abraham viewed God as being worthy of receiving all he had without question or without reservation. How could he do this? Because Abraham knew that God ALWAYS honors His Word – Heb. 11:17-19.
(Note His great statement of faith in Gen. 22:8 – “will come again!”)
(Note: This is the place God would have us all to come to! He wants you and me in a place in life where no one or no thing in our lives is more precious to us than HE is! Hallelujah! )
(Note: Can you honestly say that God is more important to you than anything else in life? Be careful before you answer! (Ill. Matt. 10:35-37)
Have you honestly come to the place of total and absolute surrender to God?
If you ever do, you will learn that you have no rights, no possessions, no positions, nothing but Him and His Will for your life, 1 Cor. 6:19-20. Where are you in regard to this matter of total surrender? Have you come to the place where nothing else is more precious than the Lord!
III. V. 6-14 INVOLVES PARTICIPATION
A. V. 6 This Participation Is Personal – Abraham personally placed the wood on Isaac. He personally took the fire and the knife and he personally lead the way to Mt Moriah. For Abraham, this was an event of personal commitment and sacrifice.
(Note: God has determined that you and I are to be personally and intimately involved in His service and worship – Rom. 12:1.)
(Note: This kind of life was modeled by Caleb – Josh. 14)
(Note: Jesus Christ Himself is the supreme example – Phil. 2:5-8; Luke 22:42.)
(Note: Are you personally, intimately involved with God and His work? God has a perfect, precious plan for your life. Only your involvement will result in its being accomplished.)
B. V. 7-10 This Participation Is Profound – Abraham willingly and completely obeyed the command of God. He held nothing back! He gave up everything he had longed for, lived for and loved at the simple command of God! What an act of love and worship to the True and Living God!
(Note: Have you come to that place in your life? Do you even want to?)
(Note: How could Abraham do this? Easy! Isaac was already dead! He died in verse 2 when of God asked for him. That was the level of this man’s commitment to the Lord! And, that is the secret to arriving at the summit of the mountain of absolute surrender. It’s not about the altitude of the body, but it’s all about the altitude of the heart! Isaac had already been offered in Abraham’s heart, the rest was mere window dressing!)
C. V. 11-14 This Participation Is Powerful – Abraham’s participation was powerful because it gave God an opportunity to flex His muscles, and it gave Abraham the opportunity to receive some special blessings that he would have otherwise missed out on.)
1. V. 11-14 He Received God’s Provision – Ill. The context. Abraham gave up Isaac and got him back again because he minded God. Simply put, Abraham’s faith honored the Lord and God in turn honored Abraham’s faith. Think about it, while Abraham and Isaac climbed one side of the mountain, a ram (RAM) was coming up the other side of the mountain! God had already gone ahead and made a way!
(Note: That will still work today! Our God is still Jehovah-Jireh. When we do what He tells us, no matter what the cost, we will see Him bless in a profound and supernatural way!)
2. V. 12 He Received God’s Praise – Abraham got to hear the Lord say, “I am pleased with you!” (Note: This verse points out the whole purpose behind this episode. This was never about Isaac, it had always been about Abraham! God wanted Abraham in that place of total surrender and love for Him.)
(Note: That’s what it’s about in our lives as well! When God’s commands calls for sacrifice, it has nothing to do with what we are told to give up. It has everything to do with our very being willing to give it up at the command of God. God doesn’t want you Isaac’s, He wants you and you alone! Amen!)
(Note: Is there anything in your life that you have not been willing to give to the Lord?)
3. V. 15-19 He Received God’s Promise – God renewed His covenant with Abraham. This is merely a reminder that the condition of their relationship was still intact.
(Note: God know what Abraham would do! He put him to the test so that Abraham might see what was in his own heart. He was brought to a blessed place of peace, provision and promise, because he put God ahead of everything else in life.)
(Note: If you really want God’s best, then put God first, Matt. 6:33)
So, is everything you have and are totally, absolutely and completely surrendered to God?
God isn’t really interested in your Isaac’s, it’s you He wants!
Does He have all of you there is to have?
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!