There are many individuals in this world who want blessings from God. However, there are not nearly as many individuals who are truly devoted to the LORD. It seems that some people have developed a pseudo-faith, which is demonstrated only when they want something from God. When sickness or hard times rear their head, they call out for God’s goodness. However, when things are going well, many neglect their service and faithfulness. Is that really indicative of a person who is wholly dedicated to the LORD? Let us do a study of what absolute devotion really looks like.
First of all, let us go back to the book of Genesis. Early on in that book, we are introduced to a man named Abram. As many already know, Abram’s name was later changed to Abraham. Abram was married to a woman named Sarai. Sarai’s name was later changed to Sarah. It is recorded that Sarai “…was barren; she had no child” (Gen. 11:30). As has been experienced by many couples, this can be very devastating to those who desire children. We will get back to that later, but for now, this Abram was given some specific instructions and promises. “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12:1-3). Can you imagine being commanded to leave your homeland and kinfolks so that you and your wife can journey to a place without even knowing where that place was? How do you think that your spouse would feel about such an idea? Nevertheless, we are told, “So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him…” (Gen. 12:4). That my friend is devotion! Abram heard what God said, and Abram did it. I dare say that many would falter at such today. The reason for such is that they openly demonstrate their unwillingness to obey other things that God has commanded (John 7:24).
If that were not enough, Abram had another opportunity to demonstrate his devotion to God. After having their names changed to Abraham and Sarah, God told Abraham something amazing about Sarah. He said “”And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her” (Gen. 17:16). This caused Abraham to laugh because of the advanced age of both he and Sarah, but God reassured Abraham, “…Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him” (Gen. 17:19). What an amazing blessing! The promise of the birth of a son, which up until then, had been impossible for Sarah. Indeed, Isaac was born, just as God had foretold (Gen. 21:1-5)! Not long after that, Abraham’s devotion would be tested again. God told Abraham, “…Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of” (Gen. 22:2). After rising early the next day, Abraham and Isaac ventured three days from their home. Upon arriving, Isaac noticed, “…Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together” (Gen. 22:7-8). What happened next may shock and amaze you. “And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son” (Gen. 22:9-10). That is absolute devotion! God said it, and without variance, Abraham performed it. Now remember, this was only done to prove Abraham’s devotion. God made sure that Isaac was not harmed. “And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham…And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me” (Gen. 22:11-12). Would we have passed the test? Is our devotion to God that solid?
In closing, we should all be impressed with the faith of Abraham. However, there is one other point that I would like to make before the conclusion of this article. Do you realize how devoted God is to you? God also had a Son of promise. Jesus was the only begotten Son of God (John 1:14). Yet, God allowed Jesus to be an offering for our sins (2 Cor. 5:21). Even after appeals from Jesus, God still saw that the offering of His Son was completed (Mark 14:32-42). Abraham, on the other hand, was stopped from killing Isaac. Nothing stopped God from allowing Jesus to be offered for us! That should show us the great devotion and love that God has for us. Remember, God did not owe us anything. He allowed all of that to happen because He was fully devoted to our salvation. Maybe these final words will allow us to appreciate more a well known verse: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).