GENESIS 22:1-2 (NIV)
Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
Pinnacle moments in salvation history, like this moment in Abraham’s life, remind us that the Holy Spirit is at work helping us to say “Yes” to the next act of obedience that will be required of us.
On any given day, our lives are progressing as normal. We are brushing our teeth, fixing our lunch, doing our work, paying our bills, navigating our relationships, making our decisions, answering our emails, and then, BOOM. A test appears in front of us.
And that test is not like a math test in 6th grade, hard as that is. The test we’re talking about is a circumstance that occurs that requires a difficult, weighed decision from us. Often, that moment of decision can feel ultimate, defining, pivotal, and, according to what we choose, disrupting to our best laid plans.
Abraham is going through life, tending his flocks, navigating marital challenges, experiencing the shock and joy of Isaac’s birth, making treaties, swearing oaths, and then, BOOM. A test appears in front of him.
He must make a decision as to whether or not he will obey the Lord’s request for him to sacrifice his son. Isaac is not only his beloved boy; for the purposes of this test, Isaac is also the seed of God’s promise to build a great nation through Abraham. This altar is one of supreme sacrifice, and Abraham has no way of knowing that there is a startling New Testament reason the Spirit is orchestrating this circumstance, recording this unique story of father-son sacrifice for all posterity, and welcoming Abraham to take a faith-leap that will be regarded by you and I as exemplary.
Did Abraham have any imagination for the idea that if he sacrificed his precious son, the only son shared between he and Sarah in their old age, that God would provide another child to them? Can we guess that Abraham, now sporting his new, “father of many nations” expanded moniker, would have been hosting a tremendous internal battle within, a deep and sleep-stealing spiritual confusion, as he quietly prepared to scale rocks and fields with his son that next morning? What did he say to Sarah at sunrise when she turned to him and asked, perhaps for the third time, “Where are you and Isaac going today?”
The Holy Spirit is at work in our lives, inviting us to acts of obedience that aren’t heralded with the sound of trumpets and angelic fanfare. Obedience means that God asks something of us—to care for the person in front of us, share a word of encouragement with a difficult person, pray for a neighbor for healing, or to give a sacrificial gift of money to someone in need—and we make a quiet choice to say yes.
And we must do what Abraham did. We must show up. And if we’re struggling, we must ask the Spirit to help us in our confusion and in our weakness (Rom. 8:24-26). Abraham’s words of “Here I am” when God first speaks to him are converted from the “here I am” of “present and accounted for” to the “here I am” to do your will (Ps. 40:6-8; Heb.10:9).
The Holy Spirit helps us say “Here I am” when God invites us to take a risk of faith.
Jesus, I receive Your Holy Spirit. I know you may invite me to do something with you today that takes me out of my comfort zone. Come, Holy Spirit, and give me the strength and trust in that moment, to say “Here I am” to do your will.
When is the last time you felt the Holy Spirit invited you to do something out of obedience, and you had little understanding of what the results might be? How did the situation turn out?
For the Awakening,