This is Part 3 of the IOU series in ID Student Ministries. The first two weeks we talked about Holiness (inward) and witnessing (outward). Week 3 covers Upward (worship).
STOP! Before reading the rest of this pick up your Bible and read Genesis 22:1-14.
I have read this passage countless times. The story of Abraham and Isaac is taught from an early age in sunday schools all over America. But often we don’t get the whole picture. We are taught mostly that God will always provide for us. Which is true. But do we ever stop and think about how Abraham got this point where he was willing to do whatever God asked?
What we see in this passage is a story of a worship service and we get to that point based on how Abraham lived his life to that point. Abraham was a true worshipper of God. By looking at this testing of his faith, we can gain some insight on how our lives can be living worship to God.
God’s tests always have a purpose, we see often in the Bible how God tests His people (Deuteronomy 8:2). Abraham had been tested from the beginning of his walk with God. He was tested with his family, a famine, fatherhood, and even a fight. Each us will face a test in our daily lives. God may test you using your family, your friends, even your faith. These tests are unique to the individual and its impossible to list them all. Each test is tailor made to bring out the best in your lives and bring glory to God. Job 23:10 says:
“But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
God tests us so that we may be refined and that we may grow. And don’t forget what James said about trials in our lives. Count them as joy!
Abraham’s worship was going to cost him. A burnt offering to God signified a total and complete sacrifice to God. And although the command was to sacrifice Isaac as an offering, the real cost was Abraham’s sacrifice of himself. He had waited 25 years for the fulfillment of God’s promise of Isaac. Now he had to sacrifice that promise. A true worshipper of God is willing to pay the price with joy because they know it’s God who provides all the good things in our lives. Check out Psalm 84:7,
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
God always provides for those who are true worshippers. But the last four words of that verse are essential to that statement, “those who walk uprightly.”. That means living a holy life which brings glory to God.
Living a life of worship requires us to live radically according to God’s words. Abraham took God at His word. God asked Abraham to do something far more difficult than anything He has ever asked me to do. But Abraham would not let go of the promises that God spoke to him that were yet to be fulfilled. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God. My definition of faith is this:
faith = belief + action
Abraham believed God! He was able to take that belief and add his actions and have faith that God would never deny the promises He made to him. God told Abraham that his descendants would come from Isaac. Abraham believed that promise from God so much, that he was willing to sacrifice that future, knowing that God’s power was sufficient to fulfill the promise He made to Abraham, even with the death of his son. Hebrews 11:17-19 reads;
“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; it was he to whom it was said, “In Isaac your descendants shall be called.” He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.”
This whole series of blogs and messages ties together at this point. Living a holy life, letting that life be a witness with our deeds and words, and worshipping God with our daily lives. IOU. Its not just a them for this year, its the theme of our lives. Its what we owe to God. Jesus sacrifice on the cross for our sins demands this. We cannot earn our salvation and we no longer owe a debt for our sins. But we do owe it to God to spread the good news, live a holy life and to worship Him in our everyday actions. IOU is what we owe Him.