“By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” Genesis 22:16-18
Have you ever been asked to do something that you didn’t want to do? Or better yet, have you been asked to do something that just didn’t make any sense? Take the movie “Karate Kid” for example.
The boy Daniel desperately wants to learn karate, so he becomes a student of Mr. Miyagi, but Daniel’s training isn’t what he expects. Instead of learning kicks and punches he is asked to paint Mr. Miyagi’s fence and wax his car. His words of wisdom from Mr. Miyagi are, “Wax on, wax off,” but they don’t seem to have any relation to learning karate; at least not from the perspective of Daniel.
But he obeys and does them, however reluctantly. Over time though, Daniel’s patience wears thin and his frustration mounts because he can’t see the connection between the chores and his training. So Mr. Miyagi shows Daniel how all of the mundane chores he’s been doing have been engraining muscle memory in him so that he can defend himself when he fights. Daniel is amazed. The seemingly worthless advice of, “Wax on, wax off” had great significance after all!
There is a story similar to this in the Bible. In Genesis, God asked one of his leaders, Abraham, to do something that didn’t quite make sense. You see, Abraham and his wife Sarah had tried for years to have a child. When it seemed an impossibility due to their age, God blessed them with a miracle. He gave them their son Isaac.
So, it must’ve seemed strange and been difficult for Abraham to hear when God came to him and said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about (Genesis 22:2).”
What?!! God was asking Abraham to give up what he arguably loved most; what he had waited for such a long time to have. How does that make any sense? That’s what I would’ve thought! But look how Abraham responds: “Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.” Despite what God was asking him to do, Abraham immediately obeyed. He did not delay.
What a perfect example of faith. All Abraham needed was a command; he never asked why. He was such a devoted follower of God that he was willing to give up what he loved without explanation and without hesitation. And guess what God did in return? Just as Abraham is about to slay his son God cries out, “’Abraham! Abraham!…Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ He said. ‘Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.’”
He goes on further to say that, “Through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
The truth is, sometimes we don’t even know what we need. We don’t know what’s best for ourselves. So we must trust God that He does, even when the circumstances or what He is asking of us don’t completely make sense. He may have us in seasons of “wax on, wax off,” but if He asks us to do something, we must obey and not delay in our obedience. For God blesses obedience.