Lowering the Knife

Yesterday I brought a Father's Day message, entitled, "A Father's Day." The text was Genesis 22:1-14, the story of Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac, his most treasured possession, on the altar as a burnt offering. The burnt offering was both final and fatal. So he laid his son on the altar, never questioning God, and at the point of absolute obedience, that is, as he was about to lower the knife, Abraham clearly heard the voice of God's messenger telling him to stop.

My challenge to the congregation was that we should lay our most treasured possession on that "altar of sacrifice," with the same unwavering faith as Abraham. It was during this part of message that I heard God speak to me very clearly and very lovingly, as only He can:

"Todd, you haven't done this lately, have you?"

It was true. I hadn't. I must confess that as Tracy and I and our children have been preparing to move to Walterboro, I have had second thoughts. Frankly, I don't want to move. The move will require me to alter my visitation with my children, which has been tearing me up inside. Yet deep in my heart, I know that this move is the right thing, though I don't fully understand what God is up to, sending a wild man like me into a very orderly atmosphere. I will be a square peg in a round hole, like I am just about anywhere else I go.

Yesterday, God required me to lay my children on that altar of sacrifice. Abraham never questioned God, and yet I have not stopped questioning Him. I finally did. I am in a battle that I cannot win. God is always right. Everything that has happened to me over the last few years has not been without a reason.

So, in my spirit, I "laid" my children on the altar, and I "lowered the knife." As I did, and this is absolutely the truth, I felt a peace that I have not felt in quite some time. In my spirit, I heard these words, "Look at them (my daughters, who were with me yesterday and seated toward the front of the church), they are still there. You are not going to lose them. I wouldn't let that happen. But you needed to put me first. You are all going to be fine, son. Happy father's day."

I have many more people and things to lay on that altar, but I can tell you that yesterday was a father's day I will never forget.


Rick said…
the story of abraham and isaac is completely messed up for me now. while he might've followed God in this, he ruined some relationships, too. and i'm wondering if in his obedience if he didn't miss God along the way... just some thoughts.
Todd said…
"Miss God"? How could he have missed Him, when he heard Him speak? Please explain, or at the very least, change coffee brands for awhile. :o)
Rick said…
"missed God" - perhaps in all that, he obeyed the strict law of God without looking at the relationship with God first. little things stand out, like how Abreaham pleads for sodom and gomorrah, but nothing for his own son. and then, there's no real interaction with isaac for the rest of his life - even when sarah dies, isaac isn't in the picture and is finally consoled some time later when he marries rebecca.

there's a way to read it where some of the things left out paint a picture of how maybe he missed the point, even in obedience.

just a diff perspective, nothing at all against where you're going with your own father's day story - i think there's a great deal of merit to it. but from the other side of the fence, make sure "laying them on the altar" doesn't mean you leave them there, you know? no worries from me that you will :) - your kids benefit greatly from having dad, the whole messy brady bunch brood of 'em :)
Todd said…
Very wise words, and I kinda figured that's where you were heading. In the big Abraham picture, there are some good points that you make which I had never considered.

At times, to a fault, I take little bites of scripture at a time. That is why I depend on you to ask the deeper questions and provide a bigger perspective now and again.

One of my biggest fears in ministry has been that I get so obsessed with busyness that I neglect the key relationships in my life.
Rick said…
not that the old take was wrong in any way, but to just look at it with an eye towards something different. all good, sir - keep pressing on!

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