Pastor Dom Cardamone
We are in the midst of missions month here at Harvest, and it has been wonderful! This coming Sunday we will be challenged to give an offering for specific needs and to also commit to giving towards our overall missions program for the next 12 months. I believe giving to Jesus’ kingdom work is a privilege, and I look forward to seeing what God will do through the faithfulness of His people in our ministry.
The scriptures are filled with examples of God’s people offering to the Lord. When considering Genesis 22, we can glean some encouragement and direction in this area from the life of Abraham.
God will test us.
Verse 1 says that God “did tempt” Abraham. This was not a temptation to sin. James 1:13 teaches us that God would never tempt any man to sin. The word “tempt” used in Genesis 22 means to test or prove. God will test and try the integrity of his people’s faith, love, and obedience. God will permit certain situations and circumstances to come upon his people in order that a demonstration of their faith, love, and obedience can occur. (See Job 1.) This demonstration is not so much for God to know what His people will do (He already knows) but for the experience of the people tested and those who may be on-lookers. Often this is for our edification and for the glorification of God. (See 1 Peter 1:6-9.)
God will sometimes use the medium of an offering to test us.
Interestingly, the tool God used to test Abraham’s faith, love, and obedience was an offering. God commanded Abraham to offer up Isaac, his son. This was certainly unusual. The heathen had a practice of human sacrifice to idols, but this was not the way of God’s people. It didn’t make sense that God would ask him to do this. Reading the entire account, we know that God didn’t have Abraham kill his son. God was giving Abraham an opportunity to exercise his faith in the promise of God and Abraham was obedient in it. God made Abraham a promise that he would be the father of many nations and that through his seed, Jesus Christ, all the nations of the earth would be blessed. (See Genesis 12:1-3 and Galatians 3:16.) Even in this instance where God asked him to sacrifice his son, Abraham believed God would still in some way keep His promise to him. Hebrews 11:17-19 tells us that Abraham believed that God could even raise Isaac from the dead, if necessary, to fulfill His promise. What great faith!
How about you? God may be pressing upon your heart to give of your time, talent, or treasure to Him and His kingdom work. It might not even make sense why He is asking this of you. It doesn’t always make sense how the things God calls us to will work out, but we can know it’s an opportunity to be obedient and exercise our faith in Him. We can trust Him because He is faithful! He was to Abraham and He will be to us too.
This offering also gave Abraham the opportunity to demonstrate his love to God. Abraham loved God so much that he was not even willing to withhold his son, Isaac, from Him. (See verse 12.) Is that our testimony too? Is there anything that you love more than God and would withhold from Him if He asked you to offer it up to Him? God’s love for us was so immense that He was willing to offer Himself for our salvation. I think the least we can do is offer ourselves and all that we have in return. Holding nothing back. Abraham did, and we should too.