Journal Entry // January 21, 2022
When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.Genesis 22:9 ESV
Faith like Abraham. This is the model of faith that is presented throughout the Bible meant for me to emulate. This picture from the life of Abraham is written and preserved in God’s holy word to teach me about faith and trust in the Lord above all else. There is so much to learn about the nature of faith and the character of God in this chapter of Genesis. It is far too rich to look at it all in this short morning time. There are the actions of God, the faith and response of Abraham, as well as the faith and response of Isaac. Groundbreaking thoughts that would all penetrate and and be beneficial to my heart.
This morning I want to focus on Isaac. Typically I would want to dig into God’s calling to Abraham or even Abraham’s response to God, but in my reading I was caught up in the obedience of Isaac. When he asked where the lamb for sacrifice was, Abraham told him that God would provide it himself. The long walk from their home to the place of worship must have been quite a challenge. Easy enough in the beginning as he patiently waited for God to provide. Harder and harder to believe the closer he got.
Finally in the culmination of faith, Isaac allowed himself to be bound up and placed on the altar. Look at this trust and faith in God to provide. Even to the point of death as he watched Abraham, his loving father, lift the knife to slaughter him. The faith of Isaac was patient and humble and obedient.
This seems mostly impossible to me. It all seems so foreign to my modern life. My faith is so incredibly weak. I can’t fathom how I could ever be obedient as Isaac was in this moment. Even as the blade was lifted above him by his own father, he was obedient. I lose heart when even the slightest trial is brought before me. I falter in my steps when even the basic temptation crosses my path. I choose disobedience far more often than faith and trust in God.
Humbleness… Humility… Brought low… Cast down… Contrition… These are the lessons that the Lord is steeping me in at the moment. It is a difficult time to be sure, but nowhere near the level of Isaac. Yet, I feel it within my heart. I feel that same level of trial working on me. There’s no fear of physical death, but there is this continued struggle with the death of my former life. A struggle with what has been lost and taken away. The fear that this may be all there ever is going forward.
It’s just me and Jesus. Am I willing to be bound and placed on the altar as a sacrifice to the Lord? Am I ready to give everything to him? Not just the physical things of this life, but my mental, spiritual, emotional aspects as well. I want this to be true. I want to start fresh. I want that clean solid rock foundation of Christ. Even if that means everything must be cleared out of my life. If he removes everything I have ever valued and begins anew with him as the foundation, it is enough.
I still long for those former gifts he had given. They were good and precious achievements for his kingdom, but they were not Jesus himself. I want to count them all a loss knowing that I am more in love with Jesus now. My faith in Christ is so much more rich and deep because of the loss. I know my savior intimately. I am continuing to deepen that intimacy. I want to stay bound on this altar of worship until the Lord provides and I am fully prepared. I need patience, and faith, and trust, and worship. I need Jesus alone.