WITHHOLD NOT . . . 30.12.19
Abraham and Sarah wanted children so badly . . ….. When the Angel of the Lord came by to inform Abraham that “I will most surely return to you in about a year’s time, surprisingly, Sarah your wife will have a son” (Gen.18:10), Sarah did not believe what she heard, “So Sarah laughed to herself . . . ” (Gen.18:12). God does not take kindly to being mocked: “Then Adonai said to Abraham, “Why is it that Sarah laughed, saying, ‘Can I really give birth when I am so old?’ Is anything too difficult for Adonai? At the appointed time I will return to you—in about a year—and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah denied it saying, “I didn’t laugh!” For she was afraid. But He said, “No—for you did laugh” (Gen.18:13-15).
Sarah had long since given up on having her own son; that is why she decided to have a surrogate child by her maid Hagar. However, even in the face of their unbelief, Adonai had promised Abraham, “the word of Adonai came to him saying, “This one will not be your heir, but in fact, one who will come from your own body will be your heir” (Gen.15:4); “Sarah your wife will bear you a son and you must name him Isaac” (Gen.17:19). It was shortly after this that the Angel of the Lord paid a visit to Abraham, making the declaration that Sarah would have a son within the year.
“Then Adonai visited Sarah just as He had said, and Adonai did for Sarah just as He had spoken. So Sarah became pregnant and gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time that God had told him. Abraham named his son who was born to him—whom Sarah bore for him—Isaac” (Gen.21:1-3). God keeps His Word/Promises; He is faithful. Even though Sarah had not believed . . . . When God has decreed that something will be, He will not reverse it. There are times/occasions when blessings can be lost through disobedience; however, when God has a specific destiny plan, and has decreed that something will be, it will be so no matter what anyone does/does not do.
But there can be a test of obedience, such as Adonai dispensed upon Abraham. “Take your son, your only son whom you love—Isaac—and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains about which I will tell you” (Gen.22:2). Now, this was the son of Promise – the one most loved, most treasured by both Abraham and Sarah. Ishmael was not the son of promise – he had been attained by default, out of carnal impatience on Sarah’s part. Isaac was idolized, treasured, adored. How could Abraham possibly obey such an order?
It would be an act of ultimate trust, obedience, and surrender. Would he be able to do this?
“Then Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and put it on Isaac his son. In his hand he took the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Then Isaac said to Abraham his father, “My father?” Then he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Look. Here’s the fire and the wood. But where’s the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself a lamb for a burnt offering, my son” (Gen.22:6-8). I can’t help but believe Abraham was in tears, all the while pleading, hoping, and trusting that somehow Adonai would show up with an alternate arrangement. Nevertheless, he was willing to so completely surrender what was dearest to him and give his son up if that was what Yahweh called him to do, that he proceeded accordingly: “Abraham built the altar there, laid out the wood, bound up Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son” (Gen.22:9,10). His heart must have stopped beating; his blood must have run cold; yet he was about to perform the unbelievable . . . . Then . . .
Yahweh intervened – just as he was ready to commit that ultimate dreadful act: “But the angel of Adonai called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham! Abraham! . . . Do not reach out your hand against the young man—do nothing to him at all” (Gen.22:11,12). Whew! That was a close call. Just in the knick of time, Yeshua intervened (I’m sure that voice was the voice of Yeshua). God is never late; He’s always on time . . . . . even if it’s a close shave . . . .
What made Yahweh change His mind? Or did He have this planned all along? What do you suppose made the difference? What was it that altered the required sacrifice of his son?
“For now I know that you are one who fears God—you did not withhold your son, your only son, from Me” (Gen.22:12). Aaah . . … now we know the secret – to be willing and able to give it all over; to not withhold anything from Him; to put HIM FIRST, especially before that which is most precious to us, whether it be a person, an activity, a dream, an item, a career – whatever our idol is.
And when we are able to DO that (not merely saying it; but doing it), then Yahweh will dispense special blessings: “because you have done this thing, and you did not withhold your son, your only son, I will richly bless you . . . . . — because you obeyed My voice” (Gen.22:16-18).
That is the degree to which God’s people are called to trust, walk in faith, obey, and surrender. We must so die to self daily in order to answer such a call, or pass such a test. This is no ordinary walk; this is a walk of surrender, walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh; a walk which cannot be undertaken unless one is willing to forsake all else for Him. Yeshua verifies in: “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life [in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God]—he cannot be My disciple” (Lk.14:26, Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved).
Didn’t Paul teach us that “if the Ruach of the One who raised Yeshua from the dead dwells in you, the One who raised Messiah Yeshua from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Ruach who dwells in you. So then, brothers and sisters, we do not owe anything to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Ruach you put to death the deeds of the body, you shall live. For all who are led by the Ruach Elohim, these are sons of God” (Rom.8:11-14). And that is why we “can do all things through Messiah, who strengthens” us (Phil.4:13).
When we are obedient to such a call; when we pass such a test, God Almighty in His sovereignty may even choose to release to us the very thing we had just been called to give up, just as He returned Isaac to Abraham. Whether He determines to release that which was called forth to be given up or not, in whatever way He chooses, blessings will be dispensed. A willing/surrendered heart opens the door to God’s blessings every time.
© 2017, revised 2018, 2019 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.
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