Friday, September 14, 2007

One Painful Altar

The scene was a mountain side where the unthinkable was about to happen. Abram, the patriarch of the Jewish people, and a firm believer in the one true God, was about to sacrifice his son Isaac on an altar. This was not what believers normally did! Only the pagans sacrificed their children in this way. What could he be thinking about?

This heart-rending picture taken from Genesis 22 tells of the anguish in a father's heart, and yet his willing obedience to God. Isaac was the son of God's promises, born out of due time, and to become the father of all that God had said He would achieve through Abram's descendents. Yet, here on this bleak mountainside, opposite what has since become known as the Mount of Olives, his number was up.

What had driven Abram to this extreme? God had spoken commanding him to offer up his only son whom he loved dearly. And now, this scene is speaking to me. I am at the moment in the process of offering up to God the most precious posession I have after my wife and son. My ministry, and the church I love with all my heart. It seems that He is calling me to do so - not with some boring job that I could do without anyway - but with my precious children in the Lord. For a preacher not be able to preach - well Mount Vesuvius has nothing to compare with the growing undergound pressure! But now to have to let go and let someone else take the ministry, that is a real Isaac on the altar situation.

Wonderfully, in Genesis Isaac did not die. God was not finished with him yet, nor with Abram who became Abraham the father of nations. I know in my heart that God's not finished with me yet either, but this altar stands right in my path at the moment. Pass me that knife.