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The Agony of Victory

“And Abraham said, ‘My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering:’ so they went both of them together.”  Genesis 22:8 

The wedding bells rang. Not one year, but seventy-five years later, the happy couple sent out baby shower notices! Huh-uh.  Makes no sense.  But God’s miracles always defy logic.  God gave Abraham and Sarah a son, Isaac, when both were laughably (and Sarah did laugh) past their reproductive years.  “Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.” Genesis 21:5. Sometime, somewhere in your life, a miracle will happen that you can’t get away from.  You will have an experience that forever obligates you to God! 

The miracle was stupendous, but it also complicated things a bit.  Abraham already had a son by his bondwoman, Hagar.  Ishmael was born out of fear, not faith.  Ishmael was born because Abraham and Sarah didn’t have the patience to wait on God for the promised son.  Ishmael was not God’s choice, but his father’s emotions were smitten with love for the boy. Sarah, however, was not so inclined. “And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, scoffing. Therefore, she said to Abraham, ‘Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac.’” Genesis 21:8-10. The half-brothers had to be separated.

God imposed a hard choice upon Abraham.  “And the matter was very displeasing in Abraham’s sight because of his son.  But God said to Abraham, ‘Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called.’” Genesis 21:11-12.  God planned for Isaac, the son of promise, not Ishmael, to carry the seed of Abraham.

In God’s eyes, the son of the bondwoman represented a human plan. The divine plan always takes precedent over fleshly maneuverings. Be very careful when you circumvent, substitute, or ignore God’s plan.  This was the root cause of the Israeli-Arab conflict that continues to rage today! 

Pay close attention here.  Your substitute plan will never take the place of God’s perfect will in your life! You will only complicate the mission which God has prepared for you. Now, for a second time, God seemed to destroy the happiness of Abraham.  “Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ Then He said, ‘Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.’” Genesis 22:1-2. 

Why?  Why does God always kill the miracle that He has just performed?  The great mistake—it’s not about Isaac, it is about Abraham.  God was testing Abraham’s post-Ishmael attitude. God didn’t want Isaac dead—He wanted Abraham dead!  Only after Abraham slaughtered his emotions did he see the sacrificial ram!  God will kill your plan, then He will kill you—that is your flesh.  He will then raise you up and give you a far more beautiful plan than you envisioned.  It is His plan that carries the seed of promise. 

God does want to give you victory!  But, true victory is borne on the back of agony.  “Who, contrary to hope, in hope [Abraham] believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.” Romans 4:18-21 God will resurrect His greatest plans in you when you surrender to His ULTIMATE test—-Your death to self!

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