And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, ”and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. James 2, verses 23 and 24.
Who credited Abraham with righteousness? God. Who considered Abraham righteous? God. Who needed to know that Abraham was righteous? God?
Not so much. It was Abraham – and his friends, family, you, and me – who needed to know it. God already knew. A few days ago we talked about how God already saw in Abraham’s heart. The demonstration of Abraham’s tough faith in not holding back even his son was for human benefit, not for the divine. As an act of ultimate love, it was proof to God, even an act of worship in which Abraham was saying “Lord, I give all to you.” But God didn’t need the proof, or the sacrifice, or the whole story of it. We did. We still do.
Don’t believe me?
When was the last time you wanted to trust someone but something held you back? When have you asked more of someone than you knew to be fair of them, and yet you asked it anyway (married people: stop jumping up and down to answer)? Millenia after Abraham held down his son to slit his throat, we still need proof of each other’s real intentions.
Even more than that, we still need God to intervene and stop us when we reach the brink of insanity. Too often we walk away from experiences thinking “God why didn’t you stop me?” I’ve had those moments, and I bet you have too. Perhaps the better question is “why didn’t we stop ourselves?” When you’re tempted to cheat, when just one more drink is beckoning, when you can smoke or not, when your choice is the plain truth or the seductive lie, why don’t we stop ourselves? Like it or not, it isn’t up to God to stop us. Indeed, all He wants is to shower blessings on us, sitting back to take pride in how others credit us with righteousness that starts in His love.
Instead, we muck it up. Instead, we cling to our differences, refuse to let go of our pet sins, and put up barriers between ourselves and Jesus. Instead of offering it all to God in worship, we choose the wrong thing, and then we go with that.
Abraham wouldn’t do that. He didn’t do that. Neither did James. What say you?
Lord, take away my junk. Forgive me, correct me, and teach me to follow Your will.
What do you think of the story of Abraham?
Would you be willing to sacrifice what is most important to you if God asked you?
Are you withholding trust from someone?