The Rewards of Sacrifice

What are you willing to do for God? Many of us would be quick to say we would do anything. We would serve the hungry, help build homes for the homeless and perhaps even travel to the ends of the earth. But how much are we truly willing to give up?

Abraham was a man who loved God with all his heart and was given the promise that he would father many nations. Abraham was faithful throughout his life, but still had to wait 100 years for the promise of a son to be fulfilled. We can only guess at Abraham’s elation and joy at the birth of his son. The love and pride he felt must have made him want to burst, and I imagine he immediately began making plans for who he hoped his son would become. As Isaac grew Abraham soon learned that his time of trusting was not over.

Then God said, `Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.

When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. The he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.                                                                Genesis 22:2,9-10 NIV

God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son – to give up the fulfillment of his promise in order to prove his love for the Lord. I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked myself why God would ask something so unthinkable of a man who was so faithful to Him.  It is often difficult to understand why the Lord requires from us things that we don’t understand, even things that seem downright cruel.

But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”  “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.                                       Genesis 22:11-12 NIV

Abraham and Isaac’s story has a happy ending. God provided a ram for the sacrifice, and Isaac lived to tell of God’s provision.

As I read the story of Abraham and Isaac I am compelled to ask myself, “What is the Lord requiring me to sacrifice?”

Is it my independence?

My pride?

Is it the desire for my dream job?

To grow old with a Godly man who loves me almost as much as he loves the Lord?

What is He asking you to lay down for Him?

No matter what God calls us to sacrifice, we must be willing to give it up; to lay it down on the altar in front of my Lord and slay it…proclaiming that even our most precious possessions on earth or our strongest desire is not stronger than our love for God and the choice to obey Him regardless of the cost.

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.                                                                              Psalm 37:4 NIV

This promise came generations after Abraham’s faithfulness, but I believe is still true for us today. When we delight ourselves in Him our desires will align with God’s and we will be blessed by them. We may find our desires remain the same as they have been for years or they may change. But we can cling to God’s promises and know that our faithfulness and sacrifice will be rewarded. No matter what the outcome we must focus on God and our faithfulness to Him, not on the reward waiting for us some day.

This promise gives me peace in the puzzle of life. I hope you find that peace today as well.

blessings and peace to you…

Paula

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