Abraham's Radical Obedience

Anthony van Dyck - Abraham and Isaac, circa 1617 (Image Source: WikiMedia Commons)
Anthony van Dyck - Abraham and Isaac, circa 1617 (Image Source: WikiMedia Commons)

For now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. Gen. 22:12

Abraham's radical obedience is defined by the fact that he obeyed God even when it looked like God was going back on his promise and when it meant losing that which was most precious to him. Abraham had already in some sense lost Ishmael (Gen. 21:9-12) and now God telling him to let Isaac go. How in the world could Abraham do that?

The author of Hebrews tells us. "By faith, Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure" (Heb. 11:17-19). It was his unshakable faith and trust in God. Abraham believed that God would keep his promise even when he didn't know exactly how he would do it. He believed that God was good even when he couldn't see it (Rom. 4:17-25).

Even so, the key to universal holiness and risk-taking obedience is trust in God's word and promise, even when we can't understand how it will come to pass. We trust in God to do what we cannot do and to see what we cannot see. On the other hand, we fail to obey God because we don't believe that what he says about the path of obedience and that the promises associated with it are true. We fail to believe that God is good, and so, like Adam and Eve, we believe a lie and sin. Therefore, let us put our trust in God who has given us the greatest reason to trust in him. For all the promises of God find their yes in Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 1:20). His resurrection from the dead is proof that God always keeps his promises. Trust in him and follow him in Abraham-imitating, risk-taking obedience.

By: Jeremiah Bass