Title: A MOUNTAINTOP EXPEIENCE WITH YOUR SON
Text: Genesis 22:1-19
Some of the best memories I have of my father are the times he took me to the mountains where we had some heart-to-heart talks. A lot of bonding went on during those times. We were fishing, hunting, or rock hunting. I have taken my own sons on several back packs and fishing trips. It is on the mountain where our hearts are knit together.
Abraham had a mountain top experience with his son, Isaac. While Isaac’s heart was bonding to his father’s on that trip…Abraham’s was being torn like never before! I would like to walk in the shoes of most of the great men of faith…but not Abraham’s on this trip! But I would like for us to try to identify with him on this trip to the mountains for a special time of worship. Your son or daughter is excited about going, but your heart is rending because God has asked you to make them the sacrifice. Gen. 22:1-10
It was on the top of a mountain that Abraham and Isaac learned something they didn’t expect. If all fathers could learn this lesson, our families would experience blessings like never before. It’s a lesson every father needs to share with his family.
Here’s the lesson (and if you grasp it…it will shake you at the very roots of your trust in God!): The Lord who gives promises…is FAITHFUL…even though He hides the evidence that He will fulfill them!
I. THIS IS A TEST…AND I MEAN A TEST!
A. God Asked Abraham to do something that I don’t know if I could do! I wonder, could I still cling to God though my dearest treasure is taken from me?
B. This is the test of all tests. Gen. 22:1 If you didn’t know the rest of the story, it makes you wonder if God wanted to wound His most devoted worshiper. Actually, God was testing Abraham’s ultimate spiritual loyalty by asking for the life of his only son, whom he loved. Gen. 22:2
C. There are some things about this command that you just can’t explain rationally. For instance:
- Why was God asking for the sacrifice of a human when previously it was animal sacrifices?
- Why would God take the life of a boy, whose birth was a miracle in the first place?
- Why did God change His mind about blessing the nations of the earth through this boy?
- What purpose was God fulfilling by taking the life of a little boy?
- It seems to contradict everything God had promised!!!
D. Can you imagine the conversation between Abraham & Sarah? “Honey, Isaac and I are going for a trip to the mountains.” “Can’t I come along?” “No.” “Where are you going?” “To the mountains in the land of Moriah.” “Which mountain?” “I don’t know, but I’ll know when we get there.” “What are you going to do when you get there?” “Nothing! Nothing! We’re just going to worship God there!” “OK, just be careful and both of you come back safely.”
- Abraham couldn’t tell her the whole story because she would have stopped him! It would have sent her into an emotional breakdown! She wouldn’t have cooperated!
E. Can you identify with Abraham’s agony when he had to bear the secret of this trip alone?! He leaves Sarah at home without telling her the fate of her son. Can you imagine the tears that flowed when he cut the wood for the burnt offering?! As they walked mile after long mile, the pain increases as he gets closer to the mountain. Finally he turns and says to his servants, “I and the boy will go alone from here.”
F. But as father and son begin to climb the slope, the excitement of the backpack takes an abrupt changed when Isaac notices they don’t have a lamb to sacrifice. The question that Abraham was hoping to avoid, surfaces: “Father, where is the lamb?” What pain-filled words of faith it must have took to say, “Son, God will provide the lamb!”
G. There is an eternity of silence. The pleasant exchange of words on the trip was now replaced with silence! * There’s agony in the words at the end of verse 8: “So the two of them walked on together.” What do you suppose was going through Abraham’s mind at that point?
H. Every step of preparing for the sacrifice was deliberate. It was though every stone laid on the altar was mortared with the blood of a breaking heart! And every stick for the burnt offering must have been stained with tears!
I. Abraham’s eyes can no longer look into the eyes of his son as he took the cords and tied his wrists and feet. And as he picks his son up to place him on the altar…there’s one last, eternally long hug! He embraces him to his chest as sobs begin to shake both of them! (Pause)
J. And then he swallows the grief, puts on a brazen face, and lays him on the altar. What were the startled thoughts of young Isaac at this point?!
K. And now the final act…Abraham takes the knife. Isaac wonders… “Dad, what are you doing?!! Where is the lamb?!!”
L. One haunting question fills my mind at this point…HOW could Abraham do this?!!
- There’s only one way he could do it…
II. YOU CAN’T GIVE YOUR CHILDREN TO GOD UNLESS YOU LOVE HIM MORE!
A. Perhaps we don’t understand how Abraham could do this is because we don’t love God as much as Abraham did! I have now doubt that it was hard for Abraham to do what he did…but he did it because he loved God more!
B. Fathers, listen to me carefully. Do you want to know how to be the best father to your children? Then love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength!! And a 2nd word of wisdom: Love your wife as you love yourself!
C. Now…once you love God that way…give your children to God!
D. When Abraham gave Isaac to God, God was convinced that Abraham loved him. A convincing demonstration of your love for God is to give your children to God!
E. Listen Dads…don’t be afraid to give your children to God…He can do more with them than you can!!
Turn back to the text and let’s look at…
III. THE REWARD OF UNQUESTIONING OBEDIENCE.
A. As Abraham raised the knife, a voice cried out and all his heart-rending dissolved as he heard the angel say, “I now know that you fear God and have not withheld your son.” So God provided a sacrifice in place of the boy. Gen. 22:11-19
B. Abraham’s love for God was threatened by a deep-rooted love for his son. His son was the evidence that God fulfills His promises. But Dad’s…it was by faith that Abraham believed that if he killed his son, God would resurrect him back to life! Heb. 11:17-19
C. Abraham’s love for God was tested. No doubt he loved his son…and that’s good in God’s eyes. But we must have a greater love for God than for our wife or our children!!
D. His reward for providing his love for God was that God returned his son and provided a lamb in his place!
E. The hidden promise of fulfillment was now revealed miraculously! Faith is convincing the heart what the eyes cannot see!!
Mt. Moriah now meant something new to Abraham. In honor of the grace God showed him, Abraham gave it a new name: Johovah-Jireh…the Lord will provide! Don’t you think the trip home was far different than the journey to the mountain?!! Heavy steps / light steps. Agonizing silence / dancing and singing. Doubts in the mind / convinced God keeps His promises.
Listen Dads…this is the lesson from Abraham: Abraham passed the test of who he loved more because he completely relied upon the integrity of God…God is a God who keeps His promises!! So fathers, here’s my challenge to you: Climb up your own Mt. Moriah to the place of sacrifice. Lay down your life and the lives of your family. And let God do with them as He chooses…and your mountain will be renamed Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord will provide!! Dedicate your family to Him who is able to supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus!! (Prayer) – to give children to God & raise them for Him.