Abraham: Doing Crazy Faith

Bavaria landscape

The LORD had said to Abram, “God from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” Genesis 12:1

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, who you love–Isaac–and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Genesis 22:2

As we continue to look at what faith is, we must look at Abraham. He is considered the father of faith.

When he comes on to the scene, it shows God coming to him and telling him to leave his land, father and inheritance to go somewhere God would lead him to. Abraham (at this point Abram), listened and obeyed God. He stepped out in faith to follow God’s leading.

Abraham had been raised up in the land of the Chaldeans in Ur. His father was probably and worshipper of a false god or some idol, not a follower of God. He had lived there most of his life. At the age of seventy-five years old, God appears to him and tells him to move away to an unknown area.

Elderly man

Think about this for a moment. There was no internet in those days. Abraham was not able to look up information on where to get housing. He was not able to call ahead and find a new job to transfer to. The new area was probably an area that speaks a different language.

Along with this move, he is leaving his father behind. He was no longer carrying on his father’s occupation or caring for his land. He was, in a sense, turning his back on his family, walking away from them.

Not only was this a new location to move to, but Abraham was not young anymore. He was seventy-five years old. Keep in mind this was after the flood and God had said that man’s days would be limited to about 120 years on this earth. Abraham was well over that half way point.

This was like a mid-life crisis. He had to change homes, countries, jobs, and family after being settled for many years. Yet, he stepped out in faith, trusting God’s word to him. God promised him land and families, though Abraham did not know how this would happen yet, nor the problems that would come about before it was fulfilled.

Boy stepping out

 

First point–Step out in faith.

God has a different path for each and every believer. Some things may be somewhat similar, but they are still different roads. One thing that God wants from everybody is for them to trust Him. That is what faith is.

Although radically changes are not an every day thing, they do occur within the life of a believer, or anyone else. As you walk with God, there will be times God will have you pack up and move out to something new, something you cannot see or really dream of.

Sometimes this can be a physical move from one place to another. Other times it can be a change in lifestyle, giving up something or changing your friends. It could also be a change of careers or work. Whatever the change is, it can be difficult, but it is what God wants you to do.

Usually these types of changes do not always make sense to the normal mind. It appears to be an insane change or a step towards suicide. Yet, God always makes a path towards a greater life.

Since Abraham had obeyed God, he was blessed with a nation from his family line. He was given land. Ultimately, Jesus brought salvation to the world through his lineage. All because of a step of radical faith.

When God calls you to do something, it is for a purpose. It is to make you better, make you His witness and to build His kingdom. So step out in faith to do what He is calling you to do. Trust that He knows what is best for you in this fallen world.

The other thing that Abraham had to face was when God asked him to sacrifice his son. This was the long promised desired son and only son that Abraham was called to sacrifice on an altar. It sounded like an insane thing to do. Why would God call him to sacrifice his promised son? What good could ever come from that? Isn’t God a God of life? Didn’t He command that no one is to kill anyone? Isn’t this going against what He had commanded?

God was not looking for the sacrifice at all. He really does not care about sacrifices. God is looking for obedience. To obey is better than sacrifice, yet God called for a sacrifice.

When God asked him to sacrifice his son, Abraham immediately obeyed. The bible does not say he questioned God or had to pray about it for days/weeks to make a decision to whether he heard God or not. He knew that he had heard God and so he immediately obeyed Him.

Since Abraham had obeyed without any question, God provided an alternative to sacrificing his son. He provided a ram to be sacrificed instead of his son. God knew then that Abraham would obey no matter what God asked of him.

Abraham and Isaac

 

Point two–Obey immediately in faith. 

There are times that God still asks people to do something extremely radical and crazy. Some of those things will even appear to go against what God has previously said to do or not to do. You must know that it is God who is speaking and guiding you.

In order to know it is God speaking, you must be in constant communication with Him. You must know His voice and what He has to say. You must know His character. In order to know these things, you have to stay immersed in the Bible and in prayer.

Every time you open and read some of the Bible, you are finding out something about God. You are learning who He is, how He is and what He does. As you spend time in prayer, communicating with Him, you are learning to hear His voice. Once you know His voice, you will know when He speaks or when it is something false.

As soon as God speaks something, you must step out an act upon it. This is obedience. Obeying God immediately every time. It is not questioning God or doubting self, it is trusting God–faith. It is knowing God and knowing you can trust him.

I doubt that God will call you to physically sacrifice your son, since Jesus became the sacrifice for all. However, He will call you to sacrifice other things in your life that it is not needed. He will also put a test in front of you to see if you will fully obey Him or not. This can be found in sacrificing something that is not bad, but is dear to your heart–your treasured possession.

It is at this point that faith steps in. It is trusting God and having faith in Him that what He is asking you to do is in the best interests of you, others and His kingdom for His glory and honor.

Faith will obey immediately without questioning. It will not to try and find an excuse not to do something, but will find a way to do it.

No Fear

As I close out this talk on faith, using Abraham as an example, learn from Abraham. Learn what it means to step out in faith immediately. Learn what it means to obey immediately in faith. God will not let you down, but will carry you through whatever is ahead of you in this life and the life to come.

Do not fear, but live and act in His love for you. God is there for you and will not forsake you or steer you wrong. Be full of faith as you step out and obey God in every area of your life.

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2 Samuel 24:24 Sacrifice What Costs

Ram on a hill

But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” 2 Samuel 24:24 

Around the world there are millions of people who give money or other types of donations to people who are in need. Many of these people often give out of their excess or things no longer wanted. As they give, they often make it look like they are sacrificing something for someone else.

While there is nothing wrong with giving out of excess, it cannot be portrayed as a sacrifice. There really is no cost to giving it.

David had sinned against God and realized it. He had to make a burnt offering sacrifice to God. Araunah was going to provide the oxen and the wood for the sacrifice at no cost to David. David refused it, because he did not want to offering a burnt offering that did not cost him. He knew that he had done God wrong and had to pay for it.

Sacrificing is more than just giving something up or away. It is giving up or giving something away that will cost to be given up. It may hurt some to give it up.

There are believers who give up things for God, but only those things that they really do not want. There is no real cost in giving it up.

The purpose of a sacrifice is to give up self to let God have control. It is to humble oneself before God. It is to show God that one is not worthy of anything.

God sees the heart of people when they give. He knows when they are giving a sacrifice for show, or when they are giving it from the heart.

Jesus gave the greatest sacrifice of all–His life. It cost Him everything, so that you and I may have eternal life and forgiveness of our sins. He demonstrated what it means to sacrifice something.

Although the sacrificial system is no longer used or needed, you can still sacrifice to God and for God. As with Jesus, the greatest sacrifice you can give is your life. Allow God to have complete control over your life.

Lay your life and sins on the altar for Jesus to remove them and replace everything with His life. It will be worth it all in the end.

I pray today that you will know what Jesus did for you; that you will know the value of what God has given you; that you will give God your whole life; and that you will allow God to live in you.

1 Samuel 15:22 Obedience And Sacrifice

Obedience

But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22 

Obedience is something that most people find difficult to do. Wanting to do their own thing, the majority of people choose not to be obedient. They want to twist or bend the rules to their own favor. People want to do their own thing, their own way, in their own time. It is about self, not about God or others.

Saul had been told to completely destroy all of the people and animals of the Amalekites as he and his army went to battle against them. Instead of destroying everyone and everything, the men kept some of the animals for a sacrifice. Saul thought it would be good to keep those animals to be able to offer a great sacrifice to God. However, that was not what God had commanded him to do.

Although most people do not like to sacrifice anything, they will quickly sacrifice something rather than obey. In churches there are people who will donate a lot of money to the church or organizations or they will offer help in some ministry on a regular basis. Yet, at home or work, they do not live for God or obey His commands on purpose. They feel that their large offerings cover up their sins and puts them in right standing with God.

God does not want sacrifice if there is no obedience. In this case, sacrifice is trying to earn one’s way into heaven, rather than trusting Jesus for salvation. Believers are to obey everything God says and trust what He says first. Once the obedience occurs, then sacrifices can be done to worship and honor God.

Take a look at your own life and see how well you are doing at obeying what God has told you to do. God is interested in you obeying His every word, His word in little things as well as in the great things.

If there is no obedience, there is no love. Jesus said that if you love Him, you would obey Him. Love is greater than any sacrifice.

Once you love and obey God, then you may do the sacrifices as God leads you. Not the other way around.

Are you obeying God today?

I pray today that you will know God’s commands for your life; that you will obey what God tells you to do; that you will trust everything God tells you; and that your heart and life will obey God first before any sacrifice. 

Deuteronomy 17:1 Don’t Offer God Junk

Geese by a lake

Do not sacrifice to the LORD your God an ox or a sheep that has any defect or flaw in it, for that would be detestable to him. Deuteronomy 17:1

Giving to others is something that some people do on a regular basis. It often appears good and that they are being very generous, that is until what they are really giving is looked at.

There are many people who bring things to Goodwill or to Salvation Army that are not worth giving. They often give wore out or have broken things to those in need. It is rare, to never, that the best things are given to any one in need. Only the leftovers or rejects are given.

This can often happen in the church in the same way. There are many people who give tithes and offerings to God, but they are only giving the leftovers or the rejects to God. They do not give  the best.

These offerings are not only the physical cash offerings, but their time and efforts. Time and thought is not put into working in a ministry. Focused effort is rarely done with studying God’s word or being a witness. The focus of many people is self or this world, rather than on God and His kingdom. The busyness of this world often leads people to give what is left, and not the best.

God had told the Israelites not to offer any sacrifice that had a defect in it. During that time, they offered physical sacrifices of animals. What people would do would be to offer a defective sheep or ox to God as their offering to Him for one of the festivals. God would find this detestable, because they were giving to get rid of, not to honor and bless God.

Every believer needs to give God his best and trust God for the rest. Give the best of time, money, and effort.

Take time today to focus on what you are giving God. Allow God to have the first and best of everything you have, your time, energy, abilities, and money. Do not give Him only the leftovers or what you really don’t want anyways.

Take time to give God the best of you. Allow God to change the worst in you, but give Him the best, while in the process of change.

How is your giving to God today?

I pray today that you will give to God with a willing heart; that you will give God all of yourself; that you will give God the best; and that you will honor God in all of  your giving. 

Leviticus 20:2 Sacrificing Children

Children together

Say to the Israelites: Any Israelite or any foreigner residing in Israel who sacrifices any of his children to Molek is to be put to death. The members of the community are to stone him. Leviticus 20:2

One of the commands that God gives the Israelites is to not sacrifice any children to Molek. It was a common practice to burn the child to get the favor of the false god, Molek. Neither the Israelite, nor the foreigner living in the land was allowed to do this detestable practice.

Since that time, the majority of the world is willing to accept that physically sacrificing children is not an acceptable practice, at least in word. Many nations have rules against sacrificing a child. Yet, the majority of the world does sacrifice children on a daily basis.

The first thing most believers think of when talking about sacrificing children is with abortion. In America, this had become an acceptable thing to the point, that today abortion is accepted for any reason at all, right up to the point of actual birth. This practice has even crept into the church as acceptable.

However, there is another also another method of sacrificing children that occurs daily in many homes, even Christian homes. It is the sacrifice of time spent with a child. For the same reasons that many children are aborted, many are left alone in the search for money, position, fame, or more. Children are left to be raised by the school, nannies, day cares baby sitters, or older siblings, rather than by the parent.

This is a type of sacrifice people make in order to make money or survive in life. Abortions are done out of fear and to survive in life, to make money, have fun. Not spending time with children is also sacrificing their lives for the same reasons.

God is a God of relationships of love. Love is spending time with others. If one is aborted or ignored, then there is no love and there is a sacrifice.

If you have children, NOW is the time to tell them that you love them. NOW is the time to take the time to spend time with them. Prove that you do love them, by spending time with them. Prove that you love by allowing your child to have life.

God is a God of life, not death. Are you allowing your child to have life?

I pray today that you will know the love God has for all people of all ages; that you will not sacrifice children or others for selfish reasons; that you will trust God to help you make the time for others; and that you will trust God to provide for your needs.