Thursday, March 17, 2016

Yield - Part 3

                                                                                                  Thursday, March 17, 2016


Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.  Proverbs 3:5-6(NLT) 

This short series has been about Yielding to God, trusting God in an unreasonable way.  Now, of course, when it comes to following God’s will for your life, you do not throw reason out the door; faith includes using our minds.  But once you’ve used your brain to investigate God’s claims and promises, and you’ve sought counsel in prayer and with trusted advisors, there comes a time when you lay all human reasoning aside and take the deep leap of faith to trust God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.[2]

So far we’ve seen that God responds to that kind of trust with answers to prayer which sometimes shakes me up, but always changes either the circumstances or the way I understand the circumstances.  He also responds by opening doors and pathways to lead us into places where we must lay aside the weights that keep us from serving Him completely.  He did that with Abram (Abraham), and it opened up the opportunity to become a blessing to all humanity.

How does that strike you - exciting, or scary?  Well, for a Christian, you’re following the Lion of Judah, and, as Lucy (one of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia characters) found out – he’s not a tame lion at all.  And how do you feel when you approach a lion?  Does your pulse quicken; does your heart pound?  It should! 

Do you feel that way when you worship?  You should!

When Abram said “Yes” to God, I would imagine he understood the road was not going to be easy; I’m certain he contemplated how difficult it would be to leave behind his family and the familiar places.  But the depth of the waters through which Abram’s commitment to God would lead was something nobody could plot on a map.  

God’s test of the man who was chosen to be the spiritual father of the nation Israel led to Mt. Moriah, where God told him to give back the promised son, his beloved Isaac. [3]

It’s easy to get side-tracked at this point, trying to figure out why God used the idea of child-sacrifice (certainly an evil thing) to test Abraham.  Indeed, James in the New Testament informs us that God never uses evil to tempt people.  But here we have this incident before us – God putting Abraham to the test.  And at that time, after some decades of following God (and sometimes falling off the pathway), Abraham was willing to do whatever God required – including give his much-loved son.

But God wasn’t condoning child sacrifice; he was testing Abraham’s faith:

“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 22:12(NLT)

In choosing to follow God, Abraham had to let go of what was safe, comfortable and familiar.  It is the same for us; we can follow God, or we can choose our own pathway, but not both.  

Following God leads to life, but human reasoning – independent from God – follows the destructive path to judgment.  Solomon understood this:

There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.   Proverbs 14:12(NLT)

Often in church we talk about those gifts of our lives which should be placed in God’s hand: our time, talents, and tithes.  And, meaning well, we try to “fit” that thinking into our lives, meaning we really have so much to do, so we’ll just do the best we can with giving what we can after making a living, taking care of home and hearth, and fishing.

But that’s not what God wants; God wants it all.  He wants us to yield everything!  Just like He wanted Abraham’s attitude and undivided attention, God also wanted Abraham’s past, present and future.  God wanted Abram to become Abraham.

And he wants no less from us, and for us.

For You Today

What does God have planned for you?  And are you willing to yield?

Has he spoken to you about that trip to Mt. Moriah, and laying down something you thought you couldn’t live without? 

You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road today…and have a blessed day!

[1] Title Image:  By Yield_sign.svg: derivative work: Fry1989 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
[2] Mark 12:30
[3] Genesis 22

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