From the arid land of modern Iraq came a man whose significance can scarcely be rivaled. Abraham has been one of the most influential people in all of history. Arabs, Jews, and Christians all look to him as the father of their faith.
At a very key moment in his walk with God, Abraham heard a very clear word that changed him forever and paved the way for the entire human race to become free from the sin that had separated mankind from God. Abraham believed God’s promises to him and ordered his life by the things God said to him.
It all began with a simple response from Abraham: “Here I am.” God wanted to talk, and Abraham was ready to listen.
This is the most basic issue facing every Christian. Are we truly listening to the Holy Spirit? We must be ready to hear Him when He speaks. While listening is simple, it can be easy to overlook in our spiritual walk.
Abraham had a very clear assignment. Hebrews 11:17-19 details Abraham’s thinking as he prepared to obey God’s instructions.
“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called,’ concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense” (NKJV).
Abraham believed God would raise Isaac up from the ashes and that he would leave the mountain with his son Isaac alive and well.
But God was orchestrating something that was even bigger than Abraham. God told Abraham that through him, all nations of the earth would be blessed. This prophetic promise would one day be fulfilled when Jesus brought salvation to all mankind.
God’s instruction to Abraham was to offer his son, his only son, as a sacrifice to God. Abraham’s willingness to obey meant that God would have the covenant obligation to offer the same sacrifice for mankind. The very thing that Abraham did for God, God would in turn do for mankind.
This was God’s plan. He would enter into covenant with a man who would trust Him and act on His words by faith. That act of faith would then put God in a position to send Jesus and offer Him as our sacrifice.
The principle in operation on the day Abraham chose to obey God still governs our walk with God as well. Prayer and obedience become tools in God’s hands that enable Him to do His will in us and through us.
Christians want to please God. They want to experience His blessings and to grow in their personal relationship with Him. The challenge they often have trouble with is in doing the things that will actually bring the results they want.
Many times people want God’s blessings but won’t follow through by doing what it takes to obtain His blessings. They want His involvement in their lives when it’s convenient to them, but they don’t want His interference when it isn’t. They want the blessings of obedience, but they don’t want to obey. But Abraham’s example demonstrates how our decision to obey God will bring bigger results than we might even imagine at the time.