The Lord is constantly testing people for promotion. Those who pass His tests are promoted, whereas those who fail remain where they are or they are demoted. The promotion is primarily a matter of greater intimacy with Him. It could also result in the one who is promoted being given a greater opportunity to serve Him.
Abraham had known the Lord and walked with Him for many years. He had matured. He had truly come to a deep personal knowledge of the Lord. He had made much progress. He had grown very much in character. He had put on much of the character of the Lord. He had more or less fulfilled the call of God on his life. He had held nothing back from the Lord. Even when the Lord had demanded that he send his son Ishmael away, he had followed the pathway of obedience. Now he was up against another test and it was his final examination, but Abraham did not know it. God did not send him any previous warning to ask him to prepare. The test came upon him suddenly. God will bring each one of His children to a final place of testing. He will not send any previous warning, and there will be nothing to tell them how serious the test is. He will bring them to make a choice between obeying Him over a certain matter or disobeying Him. At that point of testing, there will not be many things or many issues before us and then alternatives. No. There will be just one issue and then the alternative, and the choice we make will make or mar us permanently.
The Demand for Isaac
Suddenly, God’s hour of testing came for Abraham. The Lord said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I” God did not just speak in the air. He called out to Abraham and waited until Abraham answered. God does not speak to people in a confused way. When anyone gets to that point of supreme testing, God will speak to him clearly so that His demands may be clearly understood. When Abraham answered, God said to him, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love and go to the land of Moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” The words were clear.
He was to take his son.
He was to take his only son Isaac.
He was to take his only son whom he loved.
He was to go to the land of Moriah.
He was to offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains.
The instructions were clear. The command was clear. The one who was speaking was clear. The one to whom He was speaking was quite obvious. Now it was a matter of obedience.
Steps in the Direction of Obedience
It would be foolish to think that Abraham received that command easily. It cut across his very being. He had sent away his other son Ishmael at the request of God. He had only one son now and on this son hung everything. Now God was demanding him. It would have been easier for him to bear it if God had asked him to send him away as had been the case with Ishmael, but it was different. He had to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering.
Abraham did the one thing that those who truly want to obey the Lord should do. He heard God and decided to obey God without further seeking the approval of man. If he had asked Sarah what she thought about what God had said to him, he would most probably have gotten into trouble with her and found it difficult, if not impossible, to obey the Lord. When God asks for obedience, those who want to obey should go ahead and obey. They should not go about asking for the opinion of men. The apostle Paul said, “But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace was pleased to reveal his Son to me in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia; and again I returned to Damascus” (Galatians 1:15-17). Paul did not confer with flesh and blood. He responded to the call of God. When God asks for obedience, those who want to obey will go ahead and obey. Those who do not want to obey will seek the opinions of A, B, C, and D and end up being confused. If the Lord commands you to do something, you should go ahead and do it.
What is the value of the opinion of men?
Abraham set out to obey the Lord at once. He rose early in the morning. He saddled his ass, took two of the young men with him, his son Isaac, and he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. He did not wait to finish one thing or the other. He went at once. The Bible says of the early disciples who heard the Lord’s call: “Immediately, they left their nets and followed him” (Mark 4:20). “Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him” (Mark 4:22). “And he rose and followed him” (Matthew 9:9). The one way to succeed in the School of Obedience is to do so urgently.
There are many would-be disciples who have been wrecked on the sand of procrastination. There are times when the Lord speaks once and will not repeat what He has said. Those who hear Him and obey Him at once are saved from the ruin that comes through disobedience. Has the Lord asked you to do something? Stop all the other things, go ahead and obey. Until you have obeyed the instructions that the Lord has given you, you should not bother to do anything else for Him.
He wants obedience now.
He wants obedience at once.
Nothing else will satisfy His heart.
Excerpt from: Knowing the God of Unparalleled Goodness