The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” Genesis 22:15-18
In a span of 25 years, Abraham faced 12 recorded tests of his faith – each one touching on a different area of his faith. Did he have faith in God when he came to his future, faith in God when it came to promises yet unfulfilled, faith in God to wait, and finally faith in God to even put His one and only son behind his God? Each time Abraham’s faith was tested, his faith was refined. Each test showed Abraham to be faithful.
After the last testing of his faith, God told Abraham through an angel, “… because you have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you.” Abraham did not withhold his son; he did not withhold anything – not his future, not what he thought he deserved, not his mistakes, not even his one and only son. Abraham was so confident in who God is, so confident in his God … he knew God would work all things out for his good. That is extraordinary faith! Abraham did not withhold anything from God – he put God first and foremost in his life.
The stories of Abraham’s faith being tested call us to examine our own lives – what are we withholding from God? Is it our family? Our marriage? Our career? Our reputation? Those are all good things – we are called to love our families, cherish our spouse, treat work as worship, and have a reputation that is above reproach – but none of these things are to be withheld from God. Never are we to say, “God I will give you everything, but I won’t give you …” God calls us to withhold nothing and to put Him in His rightful place in our lives.
THIS WEEK: I encourage you to spend some time examining your life - what are you withholding from God? Confess these areas in your life. Withhold nothing from Him … and he will surely bless you!