Sunday 30th May 2010 Part 1 – Mountain of Sacrifice
Genesis 22 1-14 – 1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, [here] I [am]. 2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only [son] Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. 3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid [it] upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here [am] I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where [is] the lamb for a burnt offering? 8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. 9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here [am] I. 12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only [son] from me. 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind [him] a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said [to] this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.
You cannot go through the valley forever God has prepared a mountain for you, he will allow you to ascend, the journey up & experience will be important. When God gets ready to move you higher he will prepare you.
Mountains represented Holiness, Places of God, Strength & Stability, mountains were associated with Eternity. Mountains are mentioned 573 times and there are 38 recorded mountains, a few related passages – Deuteronomy 33, Judges 4 & 5, Psalm 68:16, Genesis 49:26, Psalm 97:5, Isaiah 40:12.
Facts about mountains:-
1) The higher you go the thinner the air becomes
2) The higher you go the colder it gets
3) The higher you go the temperature drops
4) To get to the pinnacle of the mountain you must be prepared
Most mountains have valleys with narrow roads which make the climb difficult but one has to be cautious and careful on the journey. 2 animals which inhabit the mountain
(i) Eagles – the eagles finds a cleft at the side of the mountain where they are protected from predators. God wants his children to ascend to a place where the enemy can’t get us. He’ll bring you to a place of safety and security, the higher you ascend the further the enemy is from you. Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
(ii) Goats – short footed & stubborn animals. Goats live on the mountainside, on your journey up the mountain you may encounter some goats (difficult people, mindsets, faithless, obstacles) to hinder you from where God wants you to be.
The Journey up the mountain:-
Abraham was an old man getting ready to go to the mountain top. At his age it was both a Spiritual and Physical challenge. Abraham was a man of great Faith and God was preparing him for the journey.
- God gives Abraham instructions – “Make a sacrifice, go to the land of Moriah, I will tell thee which mountain” (Verse 2). You may be at a good place in your worship but God wants to take you to a higher level spiritually where your worship will be more effective, a place away from the valley and away from distractions.
- God had an intention – to test the Faith of Abraham. Anytime God is ready to take you higher he will test your Faith.
- God sent an invitation to Abraham & Issac. The invitation was to move Abraham higher to understand God at a different level. How you respond to Gods’ invitation is important. God told Abraham to sacrifice Issac who was his only son. When we are called by God to make a sacrifice, do not question his instructions. When God speaks we must be obedient because God only has good intentions for his children. Abraham would become a man of greater Faith and a father to many nations.
On the 3rd day of the journey Abraham lifted his eyes up and identified the mountain God instructed him to go to….3rd day significant in the Bible (a) Lazzarus was raised from the dead after 3 days…(b) On the 3rd day Jesus rose. When you start the journey you may not be sure where you are going but God will take you to a place where you will be able to identify where he wants to take you.
When Abraham got to the base of the mountain he told the servants to wait with the donkeys at the mount and my son and I will go to the top. Sometimes when you need to ascend and go where God wants you to be you will have to leave the donkeys behind (discouraging people, loads, burdens, baggage). You have to make the decision to sacrifice these things or people at the mount of the mountain before you get ready to ascend. There are times you need to be selfish in the House of God and stop caring so much about others and focus on moving higher.
Choices will have to be made but cannot because you are not in a position to see everything. When you start to ascend the mountain, your visual capacity is increased. Things you wouldn’t see in the valley God will allow you to see at the mountain top. At the valley your vision is limited but as God moves you and takes you higher your vision changes, you’ll envision what God wants you to envision. What was once limited in the valley is now limitless on the mountain top. God will give you another level of vision and change your position to fulfill your purpose. We as believers need to reposition ourselves as Gods’ people to soar.
When they reach to the mountain top Abraham begins to put together all the things necessary for worship
(i) The wood – represents man. He that dries up and withers away
(ii) The knife – represents the Word & Promises of God.
(iii) Fire – represents the Holy Spirit
Be under girded by the Holy Spirit, carry the Word and you will be fully equipped to Worship. When God calls us to make a sacrifices it will be close to you, it will be something that means something to you. Abraham was about to sacrifice the most valuable thing to him.
If you want to go higher in God, get ready to sacrifice. Many of us may not understand what it is to sacrifice. You may feel as though it may not work out or think God doesn’t know what he is doing, don’t second guess God…remember God knows the plans he has for you. A sacrifice isn’t a sacrifice unless it hurts or costs us something. God will start the process of giving sacrifices in small sacrificial ways to build us as we go higher.
Abraham carried the knife and puts the wood behind Issac – the subject and object of the sacrifice. Issac makes an observation in the natural…he asks his father where is the lamb for the burnt offering? Abraham counteracted this observation with an answer in Faith, God will provide himself an offering. Faith is an action….we need to “actionize” our Faith. Abraham was obedient to the end.
The devil will try to distract you on the journey up but God will encourage you with a word of Faith, hold unto the word of God knowing nothing is too hard for our God. Know that you serve a God who doesn’t lie, he is a God who will provide, Gods’ timing is always right, take your eyes off the natural circumstances and ask God to open your eyes and ears to receive the Supernatural. The devil wants you to turn back at the brink of where God is ready to meet you, be obedient to Gods’ word, tell the devil “I have the desire to go higher, I’m about to actionize my Faith!!!” Have no fear, God has taken you this far he is not going to dessert you now, he is going make the devil know he is a liar and he will provide for his children.
Just as Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, the Angel of the Lord cried out, “Verse 12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only [son] from me.Verse 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked behold behind [him] a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
God will take something from your past and lay it on the altar and cause that thing to be a blessing in your life. God will take that old goat which will obstruct you and managed to follow you up to the mountain he will capture that goat and give it to you to put it on the altar of sacrifice.
God provided a blessing for Abraham’s obedience. An obedient man will always be blessed. The steps of a righteous man are ordered by God. As the sacrifice was made they named the place “Jehovahjireh” God wants to take you a place where you can rest assured knowing he will provide and supply all your needs. God wants to move you from just enough to more than enough.
Know that when you climb and reach the very end of the journey the presence of God will be there.
Psalm 51 16-17 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.