Why this test?
So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together, Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?” Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” “God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together. When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!” “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” (Genesis 22:6-12)
The long-awaited heir - a sacrifice to the Lord? How could this be required of Abraham? Yet, when God asked him to 'go and sacrifice him as an offering', Abraham did not hesitate. No, he didn't want to kill his son. No, he didn't want to lose what he had waited so long to realize in his life. But...he loved God above all this world offered and would do as he was asked - not because he 'had' to, but because he 'desired' to do all God asked. I wonder how deep our faith would be if we were asked to do something similar - offer up to God something we held so dear? Would we hold back? Would we hesitate a bit, but then go and do as we were asked? Or would we respond with immediate obedience? I have to be honest - I have done a whole lot of the hesitating, but whenever my heart gets to the point where I desire obedience over my own pleasure or desires, the faithfulness of God has always been there!
Imagine the faith it took for Abraham to take what he held so dear and prepare to do as he was asked. He had to find the wood, go out until he found the mountain God showed him to ascend for the offering, and then take his dearest thing to that place. All the while, what would his emotions have been going through? They were probably pulling at his heartstrings! This was his son, but his heart was God's, so he probably prayed that God would have his way in his life - even if it required the greatest sacrifice of all. Is our heart God's first? Are we willing to set our gaze on him and then not look back? Are we willing to prepare for what may be the hardest thing God asks us to do, knowing we might just struggle with the 'emotion' of it all? When we have a surrendered heart, the journey may not be easy, but it is one where trust is inherent in each step we take along the way.
What do you think happened to Abraham when he heard God's voice through that angel? Might it have been extreme relief? As a father, it probably was, but as a child of God, it might have been something like, "Ah, I knew you'd provide what I would have gladly given, God!" At the very moment where compromise could have ended it all, God knew the matter of obedience was settled in Abraham's heart. Maybe we are being asked to take that step of obedience, but will we hesitate? Will we hold back? Will we be willing to 'go all the way', even if it costs us what we hold the dearest? When our heart is so set on obedience, God will ALWAYS be there as we take each step to prepare for the journey, as well as when we reach that 'final destination' of our faith. We take each struggle of emotion and lay it at his feet, then put one foot in front of the other, believing without wavering. When we might not see him the clearest, we can feel him the closest! God might test our faith from time to time, but it may be so we can see just how faithful he is and always will be in our lives. Just sayin!