Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In God I Put my Trust

I wrote this a long time ago (last June I think). I was going through a lot of pain when I heard this song...as well as engaging in a debate on Abraham's sacrifice on a literature forum... When I heard this song, something just CLICKED. I don't know how it happened, but it just did.

So now, while discussing abortion on the last post and writing about trusting God, I remembered it...

Wake up little Isaac
And rub your tired eyes
Go and kiss your mama
We’ll be gone a little while
Come and walk beside me
Come and hold your papa’s hand
I go to make an altar
And to offer up my lamb

I waited on the Lord
And in a waking dream He came
Riding on a wind across the sand
He spoke my name
“Here I am”, I whispered
And I waited in the dark
The answer was a sword
That came down hard upon my heart

Chorous:
Holy is the Lord
Holy is the Lord
And the Lord I will obey
Lord, help me I don’t know the way

So take me to the mountain
I will follow where You lead
There I’ll lay the body
Of the boy You gave to me
And even though You take him
Still I ever will obey
But Maker of this mountain, please
Make another way

You know, imagine how difficult it would be to trust God enough to take up your own child to sacrifice. Now lets put this in perspective. We have an idea of God's nature. Abraham had none. Looking back through the Bible, we can get an idea of what God would or would not do, though we don't have a perfect understanding. Abraham couldn't do that, and yet, thinking God was just like any of the other idols that required human sacrifice, took his son up the mountain to sacrifice him. He trusted God. He put all his trust in God. He had absolutely no clue what to expect, but God said do it, and so Abraham did it. God had said he would make a mighty nation out of Abraham through his children with Sarah, and yet he trusted God and went to sacrifice his and Sarah's only child out of obedience.

So, having a better idea about who God is then Abraham did, why do we still seem to cling to things that God asks us to give up? We know that God has a plan for us, that he has promised to build us up and not destroy us, yet we constantly respond with stubborness when he asks us to sacrifice something and trust him. He's not asking us to sacrifice our first born or any other human being, yet we still struggle with obeying him. Why?

Since when did God ask us to do something that would cause us harm and destroy us? Why can't we trust him? Why can't we rest in the promises he has given us? Why can't we just give up our desires in exchange for trusting and desiring him?

5 comments:

Elusive Wapiti said...

"Since when did God ask us to do something that would cause us harm and destroy us?"

Every since Jesus reminded us that following him would bring us misery and persecution.

Christina said...

That, intrinsically, is not destruction.

His ultimate goal is that we find life and peace in him for eternity.

Regardless of our life here and how it plays out, he has promised that when its over, there will be life and peace.

So no, his plans for us are not to harm or destroy us:
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
~ Jeremiah 29:11

Wonder Woman said...

People are simply just frightened. What you do not know can scare the living grap outta ya.

Fear most likely :)

SellCivilizationShort said...

From the little I know about the cultures in question, I doubt very much it was difficult to obey a message for human sacrifice. We're talking about a world without sanitation, a world without anesthetics, a world lit only by fire, a world where human sacrifice was ubiquitous and violence was rife.

Assuming the Bible is telling the story straight, another dead kid would be a minor thing.

It's likely, though, that the story can't be read at face value. If you study a bit of Hebrew and archaeology, you'll learn that the Jews were polytheists with tendencies toward henotheism.

I don't have my Hebrew-language OT handy, and it's been a long time since I practiced, but you can dig a little deeper into the OT and see how your church isn't even aware of the whole story. For example, the Yahwist and Elohist priesthoods were not the same. Someone -- probably Ezra -- redacted incompatible traditions of priestcraft and called the result unified.

One book on this topic is "Who Wrote the Bible?" but it's not the best.

Christina said...

From the little I know about the cultures in question, I doubt very much it was difficult to obey a message for human sacrifice.

SellCivilizationShort,

I'm not an expert, but I have studied this time period extensively - as a hobby and as the focus of my minor in history (I only took classes embedded in Ancient Western Civ).

Yes, sacrificing humans was incredibly commonplace - so I don't think anyone would doubt a god would require it. However, that doesn't make it any less difficult.

Sons and heirs were incredibly priceless - if you didn't have one, all that you had acquired in your life was lost. Abraham was a wealthy man by his own right...and childless way beyond his reproductive years. His wife was too old to have children. But this God that had called him out of his homeland had promised he would have so many descendents they would number the stars.

So imagine the surprise and dismay when this God finally makes good on his word and provides a son to Abraham through Sarah and then requires him to sacrifice him!

Well...what about this promise?

Human sacrifice remained commonplace in that part of the world for a LONG time, if not in Hebrew circles, however it never deadened the horror.

In II Chronicles (I think), the future King Hezekiah was about to be sacrificed to Asher during a fertility rite. His father had already killed off all his brothers and sisters in this manner and Hezekiah was the last child alive. I think his mother saved his life, but I'm not certain - I do know he lived to be King, though.

The prominence of it doesn't change the horror of it.

The fact that they were polytheistic really is a moot point that has absolutely nothing to do with this argument.

However, we can presume for Abraham to have left his homeland and become a wanderer, he must have chosen YAHWEH to be his patron god - therefore, he was to be obeyed above all others.