Genesis 22: Obedience Leads to Blessings

Before writing about today’s thought, I have to make one somewhat humorous observation!  Chapter 22 must be the first recorded time when Birth Announcements were sent out!  I’m not entirely sure what the big deal was necessarily for this particular birth announcement, but the very quick genealogy given as an addendum to the birth announcement will become clear in a couple of chapters.  It just made me chuckle that even back then, news of baby births travelled around.

But this chapter is actually about something far more serious than travelling birth announcements.  This chapter speaks of obedience that, at first seems like a complete death-blow to the promise that was given!  You may have heard the term “death of a vision”?  This phrase refers to laying down the vision God has given you, allowing it to die because all indications are that God has either put it on the shelf for now, or there are just too many obstacles to make it viable at this particular stage in life, and leaving it in its grave.  Many who have suffered “death of a vision” have found themselves incredibly surprised when down the road, that vision came to life and came to fruition in ways they had never dreamed possible!  In most cases, “death of a vision” was required to get their own ideas, plans and interference out of the way so that God could work behind the scenes to bring it to pass.

Songdove Books - stone altarHere in this chapter, we see Abraham being challenged by God to lay down the promise God had given him in Isaac, and sacrifice Isaac back to God.  This is probably the most excruciating example of “death of a vision” given anywhere in Scripture!  A father being asked to kill the only biological son of himself and his wife, and with it, all the promises God had ever spoken over him!  You talk about tests and trials!  There is no recording here of the thoughts and feelings going through Abraham’s heart and mind, but one thing stands out strong!  No matter how Abraham was feeling about this directive, no matter how conflicted his thoughts may have been, he obeyed anyway!  God is God after all, and Abraham would be the first person recorded in Scripture to live out what Job would say later, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord”.  God had given Abraham the son of promise, and was now apparently taking him away.  Abraham would not question God, and would choose to go against his fatherly instincts, go against the puzzles and questions, and choose to trust God so implicitly that his answer to Isaac about the nature of the sacrifice would become yet another prophetic reference to God’s own Son one day becoming the sacrifice for all mankind.

The play on words there is not to be missed.  “God will provide Himself a lamb . . “.  Later in Exodus, the Passover would be celebrated for the first time, and that prophetic image would be fulfilled by Jesus Christ Himself on the even of Passover, splitting historical references in two (BC and AD, or BCE and CE).

Abraham’s unquestioning obedience in the face of such an incredible “death of a vision”, cemented for God and for posterity the promises God had given to Abraham years earlier.  God had tested Abraham, and he came through that test with flying colours.  How many times do we have to question things?  How many times do we have to know all the angles and have it all figured out before we will obey God’s voice?  When it seems that we will lose all that God has promised if we obey, how many times do we choose to disobey because we can’t handle that much loss?  God is testing some who will read this today.  Where do you stand in your trust of God’s ways?  Will you obey even if it means losing everything you thought God had promised to you?  What blessings could you be missing out on if you say, “Sorry, that’s too much, I can’t do it”?  One of the laws of the Kingdom of God, is that obedience leads to blessing.  Sometimes, “death of a vision” is required before those blessings will come to pass.