Faithful Obedience and Total Commitment

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This is the house of Mary the Mother of Jesus in Ephesus.  John the Disciple took her there to live on top of a hill after Jesus’ commended her to his care from the cross, and at some time after Pentecost, there Mary and John lived out the remainder of their days in Ephesus.  I was skeptical but then I entered the house, and it made me cry.  Mary, of all people, would have best understood what Abraham was thinking when on his way to sacrifice Isaac. 

Read Genesis 22, Hebrews 11:17-19, Genesis 12:1, Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:20-21, Hebrews 7:27, Mark 8:34, Matthew 22:37-39, 1John 4:20, Matthew 12:50, Isaiah 43:18-19, Leviticus 18:21, Deuteronomy 12:31, Matthew 19:26-26

Matthew 19: 16-26 (KJV) And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?  And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and they mother, and Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.  And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Genesis 22 (Abraham/Isaac Sacrifice) 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, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah.  Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”  Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey.  He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac.  When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.  On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.  He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the goy go over there.  We will worship and then we will come back to you.”  Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife.  As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”  “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.  “The fire and wood are here, “ Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”  Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.  When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it.  He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.  Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.  But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”  “Here I am,” he replied.  “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said.  “Do not do anything to him.  Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”  Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns.  He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.  So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide.  And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.  Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed because you have obeyed me.”  Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba.  And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.  Some time later Abraham was told, “Milcah is also a mother; she has borne sons to your brother Nahor:  Uz the firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel (the father of Aram), Kessel, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph and Bethuel.”  Bethuel became the father of Rebekah.  Milcah bore these eight sons to Abraham’s brother Nahor.  His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also had sons:  Tebah, Gaham, Tahash and Maacah.

**God wants us to focus on him, so we must be willing to give away/ or set aside all we have and be obedient to God.  Let nothing or anyone come between you and God.

Just as a parent removes toys of children in order to discipline and teach them to pay attention and be obedient – God works likewise as our Father.

Here are some questions for you to think about: (I will publish the answers I have found through research and prayer the next day and you may compare to yours.  Please remember, these are questions to think about, my answers are not always the only way to look at it, you may disagree now and then and if you do, please feel free to do so.  You will learn just by wrestling with the questions.

1.) What is the first thing that God asks Abraham to do to demonstrate his faith to God?

2.) How does Abraham respond to God in this situation?

3.) We find that after many years Abraham and Sarah have the long awaited son of promise, Isaac.  They had to wait about 25 years from the time of the promise that they would have a son who would be the father of a great nation.  Now God is asking something else of Abraham.  God tells Abraham to go and sacrifice his son Isaac on an altar on Mt. Moriah (which later becomes Jerusalem).  What is Isaacs response to this?

4.) Why do you think God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac?

5.) What do you think went through Abraham’s mind when God asked him to do this?

6.) How do we know that Abraham knew that everything would be all right even when he was heading toward Mt. Moriah?

7.) What is so unique about Abraham’s faith in this situation?

8.) For what reason did God give Abraham credit for righteousness?

9.) What does the Bible say about child sacrifice?

10.) What parallels do you see between Abraham’s offering Isaac, and God’s offering of Jesus?  How are they similar and how are they different?

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