Some time later God tested Abraham and he asked him to take his only son, Isaac, to the region of Moriah and to sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains. Early the next morning Abraham got up and set out for the journey with two of his servants and his son. On the third day, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He realized he was almost there, to the place where he was supposed to sacrifice his son, I wonder what must have been going through his mind.
In Genesis 22:5 he then, “said to his servants, ‘Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.’” Notice the "we"? Abraham believed that both of them would come back, pushing aside everything he knew. He was believing solely on faith, there was nothing he could use to analyze the outcome, yet he believed.
When his son asked him where the lamb was for the sacrifice, Abraham responded by faith again, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." Abraham was so trusting of God, believing that if it was God’s will for his son to be the sacrifice, then so be it. Abraham never doubted God, not for one second.
As Abraham was reaching out his hand to take the knife to slay his son, an Angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven. Abraham recognized the voice of the Lord with a response of "Here I am." The Lord tells Abraham not to touch the boy and that he now knows that Abraham fears God.
Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram in the thicket and so he took that ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering before the Lord instead of his son. Genesis 22:14, “So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.’” I love this statement.
Sometimes our paths take us through valleys and up mountains and when we are on the mountaintops, in the spiritual highs of our life, we will experience a surrendering of something to God. This surrendering can look like the death of that thing we hold so dear, but then God gives us a way out which results in praise and worship before the Lord.
When we spend time on the mountain of the Lord with an attitude of surrender, we lose ourselves only to find our true selves, our true path. For example, laying down our financial fears and surrendering our wealth to him doesn't mean we are to live in poverty, no, it is the opposite. When we surrender our finances, God sees our trust in him, our deepest respect and fear of him. He then provides a way, a way that we had never imagined, and he will restore what we had offered. God is not a taker, God is a giver and he wants to give to us.
(Now skipping down a little further in the chapter)
Sarah (Abraham's wife) then dies at 127 years old. She died in Hebron in the land of Canaan. The bible says that Abraham mourned for Sarah and wept over her at her side. This is definitely a valley experience, when someone you love dies.
At some point in all of our lives we will find that we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. This can be experiencing the death of a loved one, or the death of a relationship. Just because we are finding ourselves in a valley on our path, doesn’t necessarily mean we have gotten off of our path of blessing. God has led us there and he will lead us through.
Psalm 23 “The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (NIV)
If you are finding yourself in a valley right now, keep trusting and following the Lord to lead you through.
Take a moment and think about your life, are you currently on a mountaintop or a valley? Is there something that God is asking you to surrender or are you in the process of learning to trust Him in the darkest of experiences?