“I and the Lord will go yonder to worship … And said, By Myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for BECAUSE THOU HAST DONE THIS THING, and not withhold thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee …” (Genesis 22:5, 16-17).
As we mentioned in our last post, the story of Abraham, Isaac, and Mount Moriah (as found in Genesis 22) is a sobering reminder for all of us who claim to be people of faith, followers of the Lord Jesus, and a people who want to worship the one and true living God.
This story reminds us that true worship of God is actually a matter of faith, obedience, surrender, and sacrifice. And, when we are willing to SURRENDER and SACRIFICE that which is nearest and dearest to our heart -even that which God has given to us- it is an act of spiritual worship that is both pleasing to God and eventually results in the blessing of God.
For Abraham, Isaac might have been his promised child, his only son from his beloved wife Rachel, and the apple of his eye, but it would have been very easy for Isaac to also become an idol in Abraham’s life. And, God always has to deal with the idolatry in our lives, even if the idol isn’t a statue or a shrine. And, He often deals with it in a painful way. Concerning idols and idolatry, I like what one author wrote:
We think that idols are bad things, but that is almost never the case. The greater the good, the more likely we are to expect that it can satisfy our deepest needs and hopes. Anything can serve as a counterfeit god, especially the very best things in life. What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.
For some of us, our idols are found in family or friends. For others of us, it’s in our financial security or our future ambitions. And, still for others, its the familiarity of a good church, home, job, etc…
Someone has said, “The human heart is an idol making factory.”
Understanding this helps us to understand why so many of us, in fact, all of us, struggle with making the “hard decisions” when it comes to following Jesus. Oh, there are many decisions and choices that are “easy” to make, but its those difficult ones that get the best of us.
When it comes to bringing your only son, the one your heart adores, to Mount Moriah, now that’s another story. And, when it comes to doing what Jesus wants us to do. And, in many cases, when it comes to going where Jesus wants us to go, that too, is another story. And, I think we can all attest to this!
Why is this? Because it isn’t really Jesus that’s ruling our hearts and lives, but the idols that we really serving. They have control!
Again, I like what another author wrote:
Old gods die hard. They hold on, they creep in, they quietly clutch at us. Perhaps when we meet Christ, the old gods fall silent for a while. But they regroup. They wait for their time, and they aim as high as ever. They want to rule our hearts again.
A few more questions worth pondering at the beginning of 2018:
(1) When God begins to speak to my heart, and there’s a “hard decision” to make, do I first ponder all that Christ has done for me with a heart of gratitude, or does my mind wander to someone or something that makes it difficult to make the decision?
(2) Are there any reoccurring words that God has spoken to me over the years that, because of someone or something, I keep ignoring or neglecting?
(3) When will I stop wrestling with God and simply SURRENDER and SACRIFICE whatever or whoever it might be on the Mount Moriah God has for me?
“If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.” — C. T. Studd