22 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “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 on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and 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. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.”
15 And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”
As you read through the scriptures, it’s always an exchange with God. He never demands anything from us for no reason, and once we give something or do something or quit doing something, He never leaves a void.
In this case, Abraham was promised to have innumerable descendants. At the same time, God told him to sacrifice his only son. (Ishmael didn’t count since he wasn’t born from Sarah.) It was all part of God’s plan. Abraham submitted to God’s plan. He had faith in God to take care of the details.
The first time the angel spoke to Abraham in this event was to stop his hand. “Don’t harm the boy!” the angel said and then showed Abraham a ram to sacrifice instead.
“I will bless you” was the second statement. God didn’t want Abraham’s obedience and worship with nothing in return. God knew it was in Abraham’s (and our) best interest to worship God alone. Worshipping any other thing will bring us to ruin and shame because you become like what you worship, and we were created — heart and soul — to worship God.
So not only did God credit righteousness to Abraham because of his faith and obedience through worship, but God also blessed Abraham with descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore.
We don’t have to worry about what we’ll get out of worshipping God. Part of His character and nature is built on exchange. Even if all we get out of worshipping God is a fuller understanding and presence with Him, it’s worth it.
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