Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. Love is in the air. Flowers and candy, time and attention, and those mushy, sentimental, love filled cards…
We don’t give those things to the people we hardly know. We give them to those we truly love. We give them to those who are “ours” to love and cherish. It is our way of saying, “I am completely yours! I am dedicated to you!”
Genesis 22:1-8 is an amazing passage. There is so much depth here but I want to focus on one particular aspect.
The passage gives an account of God testing Abraham. He wants Abraham to take his son, Isaac, the one promised to him from the Lord, the one he cherishes, and offer him as a sacrifice.
If you look at the Hebrew, there is one word that is repeated multiple times in those verses. It is the word ‘olah which transliterates in English to burnt offering. This is what I want to focus on.
Isaac was special to Abraham! The son he had been promised. The one he had waited for. He loved his son dearly. Yet when God asks Abraham to take Isaac and offer him as a burnt offering, he obeys. In essence, Abraham was saying, “I love you, God. I cherish you. I am completely yours and will do as you ask.”
The key word – ‘olah – tells us everything we really need to know. The burnt offering was given whole. Nothing was left out. Everything was dedicated to God. It was a total sacrifice and signified the absolute dedication of the one making it to God.
See, God didn’t really want Isaac. He wanted Abraham. His request was never about Isaac. It was always about Abraham. And, Abraham willingly obeyed and trusted that God would provide “Himself a lamb” (Gen. 22:8).
It is similar to our spouse. Our spouse wants our attention. When something consistently gets in the way of that relationship, our spouse is likely to ask us to give it up. Not because they want to take away what you enjoy, but because they want your attention. They want the relationship with you they once had.
How many times do we have things in our life that God is asking us to give up, to sacrifice (our Isaac), that we hold onto? Are we afraid it might be too hard? I truly believe that God never asks us to give up anything that He doesn’t replace with something better.
What is it that God is asking you to give as a burnt offering? You can follow Him in faith knowing that He can be trusted. He is worth everything you may be giving up and more. It’s not really about the “thing” you need to give up anyway, it is about you.
This Valentine’s Day decide not only to invest in those you hold dear, invest in your relationship with Christ. Give as a burnt offering whatever is standing in the way of your relationship with God and holding you back from following Him.