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GIVING GOD OUR BESTTemptation is that which puts to the test. Trials are sometimes sent by God do this. A test is never employed for the purpose of injury. A weight is attached to a rope, not to break, but to prove it. Pressure is applied to a boiler, not to burst it, but to certify its power of resistance. The testing process, here confers no strength: But when a sailor has to navigate his ship under a heavy gale and in a difficult channel, or when a general has to fight against a superior force and on disadvantageous ground, skill and courage are not only tested, but improved. The test has brought experience, and by practice is every faculty perfected. So, faith grows stronger by exercise, and patience by the enduring of sorrow. Thus alone it was that "God did tempt Abraham" (Gen. 22:1)
Here is something many people have never really tried; giving God our best! But that is precisely what God called upon Abraham to give, and what He calls upon each of us to give. Let us note four great experiences which came to Abraham in this test through which God caused him to pass.
I. ABRAHAM'S TESTING CALL FROM GOD. UNMISTAKABLY GOD CALLED FOR ABRAHAM'S BEST JUST AS HE CALLS FOR OUR BEST.
1. GOD CALLS FOR THE BEST OF OUR LOVE.
(Matthew 22:35-40) Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (KJV)
2. GOD CALLS FOR THE BEST OF OUR GIFTS.
(Leviticus 27:30-33) And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy unto the LORD. And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD. He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed. (KJV)
(Matthew 6:19-21) Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (KJV)
(Matthew 6:33) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (KJV)
Spurgeon tells, the story of a young man who openly confessed his decision to trust Christ. This decision sorely offended his father, who advised him, "James, you should first get yourself established in a good trade, and then think of the matter of religion."
"Father," said the son, "Jesus Christ advises me differently; He says, 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God'.”
3. GOD CALLS FOR THE BEST OF OUR LABORS.
(Matthew 19:27-30) Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first. (KJV)
4. GOD CALLS FOR THE BEST OF OUR LOYALTY.
(Luke 9:23-26) And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels. (KJV)
(Luke 9:57-62) And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. (KJV)
• "I will follow You, lord, but first let me see if my parents approve.”
• "I will follow You, Lord, but first let me go to a few more parties. And as soon as I get that out of my system, I will settle down."
• "I will follow You, Lord, but first let me get married. As soon as I establish a home,I will follow you."
• "We will follow You, Lord, but first let us raise our children. They are so small now, and it is difficult to carry them along while following You."
• "We will follow You, Lord, but first let us get our children through high school. We have to work six days a week to pay the bills, and the children are so busy with school activities that there just is not time to follow You."
• "I would like to follow You now, Lord, but I must first see if my husband will come, too. I do not want to follow You alone."
• "I will follow You, Lord, but first let me retire. Then I will have time to follow you."
• "I would like to follow You, Lord, but it is too late now. I have not done it all these years, and You cannot teach an old dog new tricks."
Death comes at last, and the day of salvation is over. One is separated from God eternally because one put off following Christ until it was too late.
II. ABRAHAM'S READY RESPONSE. IN SPITE OF THE GREAT COST, ABRAHAM UNHESITATINGLY AND UNGRUDGINGLY GAVE GOD HIS BEST.
1. IT WAS TO COST ABRAHAM HIS HOME LIFE. He was
to give the son that he and Sarah had waited for for years.
2. IT COST HIM ALL HIS PERSONAL INCENTIVE TO LIVE. Abraham did not hesitate. He made no excuses. He offered no alibis. He rose up early the next morning and entered upon the awful ordeal through which God had called him to pass.
III. ABRAHAM'S NEW DISCOVERY. WHAT ONE PLACES ON GOD'S ALTER IS NOT LOST AND NEVER CAN BE LOST.
1. NOT A HAIR ON THE CHILD'S HEAD WAS HARMED.
2. ABRAHAM RECEIVED BACK THE CHILD HE GAVE TO GOD WITH THE PROMISE THAT HIS CHILDREN WOULD BE AS NUMBERLESS AS THE STARS IN THE HEAVENS.
IV. ABRAHAM'S NEW BEGINNING. FROM THE HOUR HE PLACED HIS BEST ON GOD'S ALTER, ABRAHAM BEGAN TO RECEIVE GOD'S BEST.
This is also true today. Most of us live and die and never receive God's best things in our lives only because we have never given God our best. Note three things about Abraham.
1. GOD BROUGHT A NEW MEANING OF HIMSELF INTO ABRAHAM'S LIFE. From this day on; henceforth he was Jehovah-jireh.
(Genesis 22:14) And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen. (KJV)
Jehovah-jireh - The Lord will see; that is God will
take care that everything shall be done that is necessary for the comfort and support of them who trust in him. The Lord will provide.
2. GOD MADE A NEW AND GREATER COVENANT OF BLESSING WITH ABRAHAM FROM THAT DAY ON AND TOOK AN OATH TO FULFILL IT.
(Genesis 22:15-18) And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (KJV)
3. BY HIS BLESSINGS UPON ABRAHAM AND HIS DESCENDANTS, GOD MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR ABRAHAM HENCEFORTH TO LIFE FOR THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD.
(Genesis 22:18) And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (KJV)
How about you? Do you want God to bless you? Then give Him your best.
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