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Knowing God

But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son,
and you shall call his name Isaac;
and I will establish My covenant with him for
an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.”
Genesis 17: 19

God! No! I cannot do this! I don’t understand. You told me Yourself that Isaac would have many descendants, that You were going to establish an everlasting covenant with him. You gave Isaac to me after years and years of longing for a son of my own and now You are telling me to sacrifice him? To give him back to You? To kill him with my own hand? Oh, no, no, no!

It would have been so helpful if Abraham could have read Genesis 22:1: Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham . . .. If only he could have known that a test of such unbelievable magnitude was in his future. His sensitivity level would have escalated exponentially. “On guard” would have been his watchword and he would have had all his armor in place. But no, he went through the valley of death with Isaac.

Can you place yourself in Abraham’s steps? How difficult would it have been to just get out of bed that morning? What would have been your parting words to Sarah? Would the young men traveling with them have talked among themselves? “Something weird is going on. Abraham is never this quiet when he and Isaac are together. Where are we going?” Could you have helped cut the wood for the fire? What would you have talked about with Isaac as you walked together up the mountain? The closer he got to the mountain the slower he walked, the less he talked, the more his memories plagued him, and the tears rolled unbidden down his wrinkled cheeks.

God gave Abraham a direct command: Take your son, your only son, and offer him as a burnt offering (v.2). Isaac questioned, Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering (22:2)? Abraham had only a feeble platitude for Isaac: God will provide the lamb, Son.

You see, God had marvelous leadership plans in His program for Abraham. He was going to be the “father of a multitude of nations” (Gen. 17:5) and he was undergoing difficult, determined training for that exalted position. Not only was Abraham’s obedience being tested, his knowledge of God was being tested. It was never in God’s program for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, this was not in keeping with God’s character, with who God was, but God needed to teach Abraham that invaluable lesson about Himself.

Abraham learned to listen carefully for God’s leading. He also learned that we don’t always know what God has in mind. Abraham could have been unrelenting: That can’t be God telling me to drop the knife. He told me to sacrifice Isaac. Those words are coming from someone else! and plunged his knife into Isaac’s heart. But he hesitated and heard the ram bleating–God’s provision. “I could not understand this command. I remembered what God had said to me about Isaac and his descendants. I knew God did not delight in human sacrifice and I could not believe that this was His plan. I knew, deep in my heart, that God would surely provide. I kept saying over and over and over, ‘God will provide.'”

How well I remember the man who came in for counseling telling us that God had directed him to divorce his wife and marry her friend, who was married and had small children. “This isn’t something that God would direct you to do, Friend,” Bill told him. “Oh, but I heard His voice. I was standing out in the rain looking up into the heavens and God spoke to me and told me exactly what to do!” Bill knew God; his counselee did not.

God has told us about Himself: “The Lord says: Let not the wise man bask in his wisdom, nor the mighty man in his might, nor the rich man in his riches. Let them boast in this alone: That they truly know Me, and understand that I am the Lord of justice and of righteousness whose love is steadfast; and that I love to be this way” (Jeremiah 9:23-24 TLB). “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness and truth” (Exodus 34:6).

Yes, He wants us to come to know Him. Be open. Listen. Be familiar with His voice. Our loving God, our Heavenly Father, will not lead us to do something against His spotless character. He will never contradict His written word or the Holy Spirit and the whisperings He gives to us. He exhorts us: Be still and know . . ..

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.