Last time we discussed two ways Abraham brought pleasure to God. We covered the aspects of loving God supremely and trusting in him completely (Finding Favor | Part 1). Today we are going to consider two more ways Abraham pleased God in his life.
- God smiles when we obey him wholeheartedly
The way Abraham obeys God in the example we are about to look at is one of the most memorable and well-known instances in Abraham’s life:
1 Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
10 Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
This takes a lot of courage! Think about if you were in Abraham’s shoes. He waited a full century before he could have his first legitimate child and the next thing he knows, he is asked to give him up! That takes some extreme faith. If we were tested with this situation or something similar, all of us would most likely fail. We are often tested in our lives and asked to give up the most insignificant of things and yet we struggle to do it. We often convince ourselves that it is the best for us without understanding the long term consequences. Sometimes, it takes God yanking it out of our hands for us to realize why He wanted us to give it up in the first place.
- God smiles when we praise him and thank him continually
Abraham had multiple interactions with God throughout his life. He is one of the characters in the Bible we see having consistent direct communication with God. Some of these interactions have prominence not because of what was said, but due to what Abraham did! We see from Abraham’s life that wherever he traveled and whatever significant instances came up in his life, he would offer up a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving before God. There are so many instances of this in Abraham’s life and I’ll save the trouble of going through each scripture reference. One thing we can definitely learn from the life of Abraham is that wherever he went and whatever happened he CONTINUALLY gave praise and thanks to God. Can we say the same thing about our lives? We usually have the good times covered but very rarely, the tough times. We are often quick to give God the praise when things go well in our lives; we’re also quick to plead before Him when things do not, but rarely do we ever give Him thanks when we are facing some of our biggest struggles and problems. One thing we can learn from Abraham is that even in his toughest struggles he gave thanks to God. Two of these instances were right after he was asked to sacrifice his son and right after he got in a heated dispute with an Egyptian nobility.
31 Therefore he called that place Beersheba, because there the two of them took an oath. 32 So they made a covenant at Beersheba; and Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, arose and returned to the land of the Philistines. 33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God. 34 And Abraham sojourned in the land of the Philistines for many days
13 Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. 14 Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.”
Though things worked out for him in the end, Abraham was quick to give all glory to God for His clear presence and instruction in his life.
We covered two more methods of bringing pleasure to God that we see exemplified in Abraham’s life: obeying God wholeheartedly and praising/thanking Him continually. We have so many opportunities in our lives to practice this. Let’s aim to apply it in the week ahead! Also, stay tuned for the last installment of this series of finding favor with God when we consider how we can bring pleasure to God through the use of our abilities!