Early in this Chapter, God tests Abraham by demanding his son of promise, Issac. God was refining Abraham’s character by commanding his loyalty and charging him to live in obedience. Anytime God tests us it’s for our ultimate benefit and good. Testing and sacrifice are just part of our journey towards self-discipline and holiness. Sacrifice is offering back to God the only thing I have to give… a love-gift of myself…of giving the best I have to the One I love the most.
Anytime sacrificial giving is mentioned, people get real antsy. It’s not that we don’t want to give to Kingdom work…it’s just that we’re selfish. Now you’re probably thinking I’m talking about money…No, I’m not! I’m talking about something far more valuable to you than money…it’s your time. We’ll happily give to charitable organizations, relief funds, and soup kitchens…but ask us to volunteer our time and that’s a different story. It says in II Corinthians 8:12, “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.” God wants you, not your money…He wants you to volunteer rather than just donate to the cause…He wants you to give sacrificially of your most valuable resource…yourself.
From the beginning of time, man has attempted to remove the shame and guilt of sin. The Priests would offer the same sacrifices day after day, over and over again…but the humiliation would remain. No matter how many times an animal sacrifice was laid at the altar…it was never good enough. That’s because it’s only the blood of Jesus Christ that can take away, once for all, your sins and the guilt and shame that harass you. When Jesus died on the Cross for you, He took upon Himself your sins, and made a way to our Heavenly Father…that you might experience peace. If there’s no happiness or peace in your inner self today…maybe you should consider asking Jesus into your life.
Do you have an attitude of gratitude towards God? Is your perspective colored by thankfulness for what the Lord has done in your life? It’s then you fully realize the compassion and love God has lavished on you… and that you have been called and set apart for His work. For out of that profound gratitude will come a desire to serve and to live a life worthy of the calling. (Eph. 4:1)
God looks carefully at what we offer Him. But He looks even more closely at what we don’t offer Him. Are you withholding some area of your life for fear He’ll tell you to stop it? Are you denying Him a corner of your world because you enjoy it way too much? What we offer up to the Lord is much more important to us than to Him…for what He’s looking for is a total surrender…a relinquishing of ourselves…and a giving up of control. As I Samuel 15:22 states, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” God’s looking for our obedience not some ritual.
The Lord told King David to build an Altar to stop the plague brought about by his disobedience. The owner had not only offer his threshing floor, but his oxen, threshing sledges, and yokes. But King David refused…he knew that the Lord was looking for an acceptable sacrifice and not one that he had not paid a price for. The Lord is still looking for that type of offering…worthy sacrifices, full of blood, sweat, and tears that have cost us.