Radical Obedience

Radical obedience is the basis for understanding the name of God, Yahweh Yireh (which means “The LORD will provide.”)   We can see how the Lord provides in Abraham’s journey to Mount Moriah in Genesis 22 and our daily lives as we live out our faith through radical obedience.

Genesis 22:2 starts with a command to Abraham, “Take your only son whom you love and …offer him as a burnt offering.” So Abraham took his son Isaac to the place God commanded him.

This command was a test of Abraham’s faith.  Was he willing to give up his beloved son, or would he find a way to avoid doing what God commanded?

Some people have read this and wonder how God could command child sacrifice. God’s plan never included Abraham sacrificing his son.  (In the law given to Moses, God clearly stated that child sacrifice was never acceptable.) Instead, this command to sacrifice Isaac was a way to test Abraham’s faith and move him to a place of even greater blessing.

I have observed in my life and in my friend’s lives that God often points us in an interim direction that we can understand to move us just enough so that we can see what He really wants for us, which is so much better, whether we are looking for a new house, finding a spouse, or seeking our life’s purpose.   Every step of the way requires walking in faith and trusting that God, who can see the future and knows what is best for us, will provide.

As Abraham and Isaac hiked up Mount Moriah, Isaac  asked his dad, “Where is the lamb for the burnt offering.” Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb.” (Vs.8)

The phrase “will provide” in this verse comes from the Hebrew word Yireh. Other Biblical passages translate it as “will see.” Our English word “provision” comes from “pro,” which means “beforehand” and “vision,” which has to do with seeing.   A provision is a resource we have before we need it. So Abraham is telling Isaac; God sees our need, and He will take care of it.

Abraham walked out his faith every step of the journey. At any point,  he could have changed his mind and decided not to obey. Instead, he chose to obey because he had confidence in God’s character. He held fast to the knowledge that the God who gave a son to Sarah and him in their old age could take care of his family even to the point of death. Though Abraham couldn’t see what God had around the next bend, he continued to believe that God would provide the sacrifice, or God would raise his son from the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19).

Just as Abraham raised his knife, the angel of the Lord called his name to stop him.  He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” (Genesis 22: 12)  Just then, he looked behind him and saw a ram caught in the thicket. So, Abraham offered the ram as a burnt offering instead of his son. Abraham named that place, “The LORD will provide.” Then the angel of the Lord proclaimed that Abraham’s offspring would be as numerous as the stars in the heavens, and all the nations of the earth would be blessed through his descendants.

Abraham’s radical obedience and willingness to trust God with his beloved son led to generations of blessing for all nations. When God calls us to radical obedience, it is because He is our Pro-Vision.  He can see what we need before we even realize it.

Andy Barker created this list of questions to discover what you are holding onto that is keeping you back from radical obedience.

Do you need to forgive?

Do you need to love your enemies?

Do you need to trust and give up fear and anxiety?

Do you need to start talking about Jesus when it feels like masks are most important?

Do you need to continue in obedience when it feels like you do not see His provision?”

God calls us to let go of things that have replaced Him in our hearts. At times in my life, I have put my desires, career, academics, and personal relationships above my relationship with Jesus. An idol is anything other than God that we expect to be our Provider, our Security, our Joy, our Love, our Healer, or our Life. Just as Abraham laid Isaac on the altar, God is calling us to dedicate our finances, jobs, family, health, and joy to him.  Doing things God’s way in obedience will lead to God’s blessing  for generations.  We can trust that He will provide all that we need. He is Yahweh Yireh, The Lord Will Provide.

~ Penny Noyes, M.Ed. just released her fourth book Seeing Value A Biblical Perspective on Intrinsic Value on Amazon. She also writes for Christianity.com, GracefullyTruthful.com and her blog.   She is a wife to Tom, mom to Chris and John, Step-mom to Hillary and Jeremy (son in Law) and a Mimi to the cutest grandkids ever. 

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