In the Kingdom of God the alternatives are not boundless, not so long as we live in this mortal coil. You can’t have it all. You are not there to do yourself a favor. You many not have it your way. You opted out of all that when you made up your mind to follow a Master who himself had relinquished all rights, all equality with the Father, and his own will as well. – Elisabeth Elliot
Obedience is the basic operating mode of the Christian life. This is the thing we are called to do, with no conditions. And it is tightly woven with trust.
I’ve been thinking about Abraham. God tested Him not once, but at least three different times. And each time, the stakes got higher.
1. Leave Ur for an unknown destination.
2. Trust God for a child.
3. Sacrifice your son on Mt. Moriah.
The first test was hard – leaving family and friends whom they would most likely never see again. The next test was closer to the heart – believing that an aging man with an infertile wife would actually have an heir. The third test went straight for the jugular – offer back to God the child of promise.
James 2:23 tells us that Abraham was called “the Friend of God.” He is a star of the “faith” chapter – Hebrews 11. God made a covenant with Him that would affect the future nation of Israel forever. Yet, he was called to trust and obey, more than once.
Is it awful of God to ask things like that of His children? No more so than for me to require my children to trust and obey me. I see things they don’t; I know the purpose of my request; I am overseeing their progress; I have safety boundaries in place. (so does God.)
But it only works – for earthly and heavenly children – when we “relinquish our rights” to do things according to our understanding. The story of Abraham gives shining witness to the care of the Almighty.
1. First test – the land of Canaan
2. Second test – a son
3. Third test – multiplied descendants – the nation of Israel.
Tests challenge what we know. Abraham aced his because he knew God was worthy to be trusted.