I am sure Abraham never forgot the day the Lord told the aging patriarch, “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). 

 

Are you kidding me? What kind of God would make such a request? Besides, wasn’t Isaac the promised child and the beginning of a new nation? The Bible is strangely silent about any internal struggle Abraham might have experienced. The text reveals no apparent objection. It simply says he got up the next day and obeyed God without delay. 

 

God tested Abraham to see if he respected Him enough to do exactly what He said, even if the request ran contrary to everything he knew to be true about the character of God. In this way, Abraham walked by faith, learned to fear of God, and practiced total surrender.

 

An American art teacher and musician named Judson W. Van DeVenter (1855–1939) wrote the lyrics to a beloved hymn of the Christian faith called “I Surrender All.” Many of the great Christian hymns were born out of the songwriter’s personal struggle to live out his or her faith. DeVenter, for example, reflects, “At last the pivotal hour of my life came, and I surrendered all. A new day was ushered into my life.” Do you need God to usher into your life a new day? A Moriah-like surrender is at the heart of what it will take. 

 

The act of surrendering sounds counterintuitive, especially to my friends who serve in the United States Military. To them, the white flag of surrender is a sign of defeat and weakness; but in the Christian life, surrender is the primary pathway to spiritual victory. Certainly, that is how Abraham became known as the father of faith. 

 

All to Jesus I surrender;all to him I freely give;I will ever love and trust him,in his presence daily live.I surrender all. All to thee my blessed Savior,I surrender all. John W. Van DeVenter

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