The Road Home to You Podcast
Mini Episode: Lessons from the Road to Moriah
(Originally aired August 14, 2018)
Brandy: Hi. Welcome to The Road Home to You. Thank you for joining Matt and I during our summer series that we're calling Lessons from the Road. We really appreciate you guys as you listen in every single week and take part in this journey alongside us. Without further ado, here's Matt.
Matt: Hello and welcome to what is likely the last of the mini episodes that I will be doing by myself, at least for now. Brandy and I have had a great time going through some of the more prominent road trips in the Bible.
Today, I wanted to talk about Abraham and his trip with his son, Isaac, to Mt. Moriah.
Many of you are going to know exactly the story I'm going through, but for those of you who might not be so familiar with this particular story, I'll try to give you a little bit of a background.
Abraham, by the time he's even mentioned in the Bible, the first time we actually meet Abraham, he's already 75 years old. God makes some promises to Abraham; God had promised that he would the father of a great nation and that his descendants would be as numberless as the dust of the earth.
But here's the catch, Abraham, by the time we meet him, was childless and over 75 years old when this promise was made. Already, this is looking a little bit improbable. And then God doesn't fulfill His promise of a child born to Abraham and his wife, Sarah, until Abraham was 100 years old.
I can't even imagine trying to raise a child at 100 years old. That just sounds...exhausting and maybe a little terrible. But Abraham and Sarah had been waiting a really, really long time for this. Maybe they just spoiled him like crazy. I mean, they had to be not only parents to him, but at this point they're also almost like grandparents to him.
Here's the thing: Abraham, at this point in his life at 100, is a very wealthy and powerful man. He's got a lot of servants and he's got herds of animals. In his day, he was counted a wealthy man. I get the impression, and I think scripture bears this out, that he would consider it all completely inconsequential next to having his son, Isaac.
God talks to him a few years later and says to him, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about."
I can't even imagine what would have been going through his brain at that point. The gut-punch that would have been to take this son that he'd been waiting for for so long and was so very precious to him, and to have God say, "Alright, now you're going to go sacrifice him and burn him on an alter." Wow.
And yet, in the Bible as we look at this account, Abraham doesn't even question God. He doesn't ask for clarification on the subject or anything like that. He doesn't respond back other than, it says, "The very next day, early in the morning Abraham saddled his donkey and prepared to leave."
He didn't even hesitate. I know for myself, had this been me, had it been the thing that was the most precious to me as Isaac was to Abraham, I don't know, I can't help but think I would hesitate and say, "Well, maybe I misunderstood or maybe I didn't really hear that right. I'm just going to wait for God to confirm the word that He said. Because I wouldn't want to mess this up."
But Abraham didn't do that. He didn't question, he didn't argue. He didn't do anything other than to respond and do exactly what God wanted him to do.
Here's the other interesting thing: it says that this journey took them three days, to go from where Abraham was to Mount Moriah. And they're travelling on a donkey. It says before he left where he was, Abraham first cut the wood that he would need to do the sacrifice, to have on the altar. My goodness. He has to be the original Boy Scout.
Had it been me, there again, I'd have thought, why am I going to pack this firewood for three days? Why don't I just pack my son and the food and I'll chop some wood when I get there. If God really wants me to burn up my son, the least He could do is provide some wood on the mountain where we're going.
But he doesn't do that. You can tell from his preparations that Abraham fully intends to go through with this act from the very beginning. He gets up early in the morning, doesn't hesitate, he chops some wood so that just in case there's no wood where he's going he's got wood with him. I just think, how incredible.
There's a reason that Abraham is referred to as the Father of Faith because the way in which he believed God's word and immediately acted on it without hesitation is almost hard to understand.
If that wasn't enough, here he is, by himself on the road with his son and for three days he's got to be evasive with his son. [Matt notes that he and Abraham aren't fully alone, there were servants that went with them to Moriah.] We know that he is because it records Isaac's question asking, 'Okay, Dad, we're going up to make a sacrifice and we've got the wood but where's the sacrifice?' And Abraham says God will provide the sacrifice. Which, of course, was truthful, God had provided the sacrifice.
How do you do that for three days? I know even on a one-day road trip, the kids are always asking questions and how do you look your son in the eye and answer his questions for three days, knowing that at the end of this road you have to, in Abraham's mind he's pretty sure he's going to have to kill his son and burn him up on the altar.
It says Abraham knew God would do something. He would either bring Isaac back to life or something like that because God had already promised Abraham that Isaac would be the child of the promise and that it would be through Isaac that God would fulfill his promise to Abraham of making him a father of a great nation. So he knew Isaac would somehow survive and bear kids and be the start of this great nation that God had promised to Abraham.
But all the same.... To have so much faith in God that you would lay down your son and actually be ready to go through with this sacrifice, to believe God that much is pretty amazing.
But here's the thing: there are times that God asks similar sorts of things of us, when he asks us to lay on the altar the thing that is most precious to us, maybe not in so obvious a physical sort of way, like this was. Maybe it's something else. Maybe you just really cherish your Sunday morning football watching and it comes to your mind that maybe that's getting in the way of activities at church or even going to church. It starts to occur to you that if you're going to do the things that God wants you to do you're going to have to set aside one of the things that you enjoy the most.
And yet, so often, when God asks us to make a sacrifice we don't respond in quite the same way Abraham did. We want to really make sure this is what God wants from us before we do it so we hesitate or we question, "Is that really what He's saying? Because maybe that's just my imagination; maybe it's just a coincidence that the message I heard on the radio matches up with the message I heard at church which matches up with this song that I've been listening to that all tell me the same thing. It's probably just coincidence."
And yet, Abraham had to take the thing that was most precious to him in his entire existence, everything that he had been waiting for, the fulfillment of this promise from God and he didn't hesitate and he didn't ask questions. He trusted that God would provide a way and he did everything that he could to plan this all out, to make sure it would be successful, to make sure that he would be able to go through with the task that God asked him to do.
Not an easy thing to do. There's a reason that Abraham is exceptional in the stories of the Bible. Not to say that he was perfect because we also have an number of incidents recorded where Abraham doesn't respond in a way that's fantastic. But in this instance, when he's put to what might very well be the ultimate test, for a parent at least, he comes through with flying colors and does exactly what God wants him to do.
God tells him, "Because you've done this, because you wouldn't withhold your only son, I'm going to bless you beyond your understanding. I'm going to make you the father of a great nation; your descendents are going to be as numberless as the stars in the sky or the sand on the seashore."
That's pretty incredible. Out of this exceptional act of faith and sacrifice, God brings about exceptional blessing.
Hopefully none of us will ever be asked to sacrifice one of our kids in the same way that Abraham did, but we are asked to make sacrifices. We're asked to make sacrifices of our time, our money, of our resources in one way or another, all the time. Serving God comes at a price. It's not easy. It's not always the thing that we want to do.
But in this story, maybe even more than in many others, you can see that when you make those sacrifices, when you obey God without hesitation and you put your faith and your trust in Him, He's going to provide a way and He's going to give you blessing on the other side of it beyond what you can understand.
I know Brandy and I have seen this in our own lives. The small sacrifices that we'll make here and there, God takes those and multiplies it and He brings about blessing that's so much greater than the work or the sacrifice that we put into it.
I tell you this story as a way on encouragement. When that time comes, and it will, that God asks you to sacrifice something I would hope that we could all respond in a way that is more like Abraham, where we don't question, we don't second guess, where we don't doubt, where we just say, "Alright God. I'm going to lay on the altar whatever it is that you want from me so that I can do Your will." And know that on the other side of it God is going to provide blessing.
When it seems like the thing that God is asking you to sacrifice is beyond your ability, if you carry out the actions that God wants you to, He will provide the strength, He will provide the way, just as with Abraham and Isaac. When God stopped him from sacrificing Isaac, there was a ram in the bushes off to the side. God did provide the sacrifice. God stopped Abraham from killing his son and said, "There's a ram over there, stuck in the bushes and that's your sacrifice."
So, when we have those tasks that are utterly beyond us, if we carry them out to the best of our ability, then whatever we can't do on our own, God is going to provide. And then, on top of it all, not only is God going to provide a way to do the things he asks you to do, but He's going to provide the blessing on the other side of it.
That blessing might not look the way that you thought it would. It might not be the thing that you wanted it to be but God is going to bring about in your life the things He knows you need t become the person He wants you to be.
So, take some encouragement from Abraham's road trip with his son and just be ready for the things that God asks you to do and know that He's going to help you do it. He's going to help you get through and there's going to be some amazing blessing on the other side of it.
Brandy: Hey you guys. Thank you so much for joining us for another one of our Lessons from the Road, part of our summer mini series. We appreciate you being here very, very much and look forward to seeing you next time.
Until such a time, here's the scoop: you can find our show notes, you can find blogs, you can find pretty much everything you ever wanted in life, as it relates to this podcast, at our website which is www.roadhometoyou.com. I cannot guarantee you that you will find everything you need for life, generally speaking, just as it relates to our podcast.
With that being said, head on over that direction, check out the transcript, read some articles, leave a comment - those are fun. I like seeing those. They make me go, "Yay!" You can also find, at that website, we've got links to our Facebook group and Instagram and Pinterest and all those crazy, wild things that I never thought I'd have to learn. But I'm learning them, just for you guys because that is the depth of my love for you.
Anyway, this has been a long enough episode. I'm going to get going so you can do the same. You guys, have a fab-dab-u-lous kind of week. Stay cool. Stay dry. Only you can prevent forest fires. Please do so.
On that note, thank you to all of the firefighters who are out there trying to put a stop to the craziness that is, at least the Pacific Northwest. I don't know about the rest of the world, but man, it's hot over here and we've got a lot of wildfires going on. So, thank you.
Special shout out to my cousin, Bill, who is a Hot Shot. Like firefighter. I mean, I don't know, maybe he's kind of a cool dude, too, but he's a Hot Shot firefighter. So, special shout out to him and all you cool guys and gals out there keeping us safe.
Y'all, have a blessed week. Love God. Love people. Pray hard. See ya next time. Bye!