Friday, December 18, 2009

2009 – Day 351.Dec 18 – Faith Involves Risk

Passage for Study: Genesis 22: 9 … Then they [Abraham and Isaac] came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood.

My Journal for Today: As we’ve been looking at this test of faith where God has brought Abraham to Mount Moriah with his son being led to be the sacrifice, we’ve been viewing the scenario from Abraham’s point of view as well as that of God. But what about looking at Isaac’s viewpoint?

And Swindoll is right to do so, because in Isaac we see the quiet faith of a son who not only had learned his faith in God and his theology from his father, Abraham, over the years; but Isaac also, in today’s verse, demonstrated incredible faith in his own earthly daddy as he obediently allowed himself to be bound and placed on the altar. Think about it. Isaac was a younger man, much more physically strong than his aging father. And he knew that his dad was building an altar to provide a blood sacrifice to God. And with all of this, Isaac quietly and obediently allowed himself to be bound and placed upon the alter, knowing full well, by this point in time, that he was the physical object of the sacrifice to The Lord. Sure, we have seen Abraham’s complete and utter trust in God during this test; but I think, even more incredible, is the faith of Isaac during this scenario.

My dear friend, how much of yourself have you been willing to risk in your relationship with God? Swindoll is right. Many of us, as Christians, really have not been called upon to risk all that much in our lives for God. In fact some of us, who might be accurately be called “control freaks,” do all we can to keep things very safe and under our own physical, emotional, and spiritual control so as to avoid as much risk as possible in our lives. But that might not be you. Perhaps you been called on to risk a lot for God.

We just had a couple we know who lost their child six hours after their little baby was born. We also have some friends, a couple who have four children and are missionaries in a Muslim nation where a number of Christians have been murdered. My wife and I were called upon to make a commitment to found a ministry where we have to be vulnerable about our pre-Christian past, which involves revealing my unfaithfulness to my wife in our marriage before Christ delivered my wife to forgive me and me to be delivered from that past pattern of sin to walk in freedom and fidelity for years. We now help others to find repaired marriages and to find hope in Christ; but we have to be willing to risk ourselves in faith, being vulnerable with our story to others. Perhaps your risk involves being a Christian parent who has a prodigal child whom you’ve had to faithfully give over to God because that child has rejected your parenting - and God - by leaving your home to live in sin.

Yes, there are those of us who have experienced the risk of faithfully following God and having to give up much in our lives, being tested in our faith, much as Abraham and Isaac were tested. My dear one, we have to realize and acknowledge that faith in God is not some bed of sweet smelling roses, where we walk through life in painless bliss. No, … it is not uncommon, if not expected, that our faith in God is going to call us to risk a great deal, if not almost too much, for our Lord. In fact, God wants no less than ALL of our hearts and ALL of whom He has made us to be, … FOR HIM and HIM ALONE.

So many of the characters I’ve studied this year from Swindoll’s devotional book, Great Days with the Great Lives, have exemplified the truth that faith brings risk. Think about them: Joseph, Moses, David, Esther, Job, and the Apostle Paul. All of them were called out by God to risk their very lives at some point for their faith in God. And here I am, so often balking when I’m afraid to share my faith because of what some lost person might feel about me if I were to witness to the Gospel and to tell them how Jesus has changed my life? Oh, I can be such a coward at times!

What will I be willing to do today, if some faith test is thrust upon me, to show that I’m willing to give it all up for the Savior Who came to earth, died on a cross FOR ME, and saved me from my own sinfulness by being raised from the dead to ascend to heaven and become my heavenly High Priest (see Phil. 2: 6 - 11). Will I be willing to give my all for the One Who gave His all for me?

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I pray for the willingness to risk all for You. Amen

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