01/19/Su – The Blessing of Obedience

Genesis 21:22-22:24; Matthew 7:24-29; Psalms 9:13-18; Proverbs 3:33-35

OT: “After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he answered. “Take your son,” he said, “your only son Isaac, whom you love, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” So Abraham got up early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took with him two of his young men and his son Isaac. He split wood for a burnt offering and set out to go to the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there to worship; then we’ll come back to you.” …Then Isaac spoke to his father Abraham and said, “My father.” And he replied, “Here I am, my son.” Isaac said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” Then the two of them walked on together. When they arrived at the place that God had told him about, Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood. He bound his son Isaac and placed him on the altar on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” He replied, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Do not lay a hand on the boy or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your only son from me.” Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught in the thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son. And Abraham named that place The Lord Will Provide, so today it is said: “It will be provided on the Lord’s mountain.”” (‭‭Genesis‬ ‭22:1-5, 7-14‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

God gave Abraham a directive as a test of his obedience: to offer the son that he was promised as an offering to the Lord. What often gets overlooked in this story are Abrahams statements of faith. God had given Abraham a promise, and Abraham believed Him. So at some level, Abraham had to believe that whatever ended up happening up on that mountain, God would be faithful to His promise. As Abraham left his servants behind and headed up the mountain with his son, he made his first statement of faith: “The boy and I will go over there to worship; then we (the both of us) will come back to you.” Then as they got closer to the top of the mountain and Isaac began to become curious, Abraham made his second statement of faith: “God Himself will proved the lamb for the burnt offering.” God called Abraham to offer his son, and that is what Abraham did – fully obedient and full of faith… and God did provide the lamb for the sacrifice… and the promise lived on. The Father asks us to offer a life on the alter – only this time, the life is ours. He has already provided the Lamb, so we offer our lives as a living sacrifice so that the promised blessing can live on in us and through us.

NT: “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock… But everyone who hears these words of mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:24, 26‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

Hearing and obeying… that is what the Lord is looking for: people who will hear His words and respond… who will obey in faith. Those who both hear and act will be unshakable, and the storms of life will not be able to destroy them – but the promise only comes after obedience. Hearing and agreeing isn’t enough – faith and worship is made alive through obedience.

Psalms: “The nations have fallen into the pit they made; their foot is caught in the net they have concealed. The Lord has made himself known; he has executed justice, snaring the wicked by the work of their hands. Selah” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭9:15-16‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

When we follow the Lord’s will and ways in loving obedience, He navigates us through the pitfalls of life. Those who go through life in their own understanding… trying to make things happen for themselves (often at the expense of others), will become the victims of their own scheming – if not in this life, then definitely in the life to come.

Proverbs: “The Lord’s curse is on the household of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous; He mocks those who mock, but gives grace to the humble. The wise will inherit honor, but he holds up fools to dishonor.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:33-35‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

The word translated as curse speaks of an execration, or denouncement… not a curse that wishes bad things upon someone. Basically, the Lord has described the consequences of not following His will, His word, and His ways – and that denouncement is on those who have chosen wickedness over righteousness. The “curse” is separation from God’s life, wisdom, and blessing. The curse of sin is of our own doing – just like David described in Psalm 9. The consequences come at our own hand… the wicked fall into their own traps. However, God blesses those who obey His will, His word, and His ways.

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