Friendship is Loyalty
The Great Adventure Week 2, Part 2
So what does Abram do?
Abram builds an alter and worships God. But not just one alter, Abram builds at least four alters. And with each one he builds, he worships God. He calls upon the name of the One and only Living God.
Now alters are common in religious circles. And certainly not unusual to Abram. Alters were used for sacrifices. They were used for communicating to the gods. But for Abram, these alters now represented more. These alters marked the locations where Abram encountered God.
Here in verses 6 and 7, God appeared to Abram and promised him the land. So Abram built an alter and worshiped God.
Then again in verse 8, Abram builds a second alter between the lands of Bethel and Ai and there he calls upon the name of the Lord.
Later in chapter 13, verse 14-18, God says to Abram to look towards the north and south, the east and the west. “all the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.” It was here, that God promised to number his descendents like the sands, too many to count. So Abram builds a third alter to the Lord near the trees of Mamre in Hebron and worships the Lord.
You see, Abram realizes an important truth. Abram knew that he needed God to be at the center of all that he did. So wherever he was, he made sure there was an alter through which he would be able to worship his One True God.
Regular worship helped Abraham to keep God in the center of all he did. In a land and a time when the people of earth worshiped the sun and everything under it, Abram was loyal to the God who called him. He was unswerving in his allegiance to the one true and living God. Throughout his life, this allegiance grows as the relationship with God grows.
But just how loyal was Abram? He was loyal enough to sacrifice his only son born to him and his wife. Oh yeah. Saria, Abrams wife who was barron, she has a son. A son that Abram waited 25 years for.
In Genesis 22, God tests Abraham. Turn with me to Genesis 22, verse 2. Let’s see what God does.
2 Then God said, (to Abraham), “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you.”
God said to Abraham, hey Abraham, you know that son you have, Isaac? The kid that you waited 25 years for? The one I promised you would have? The one that you love so much? Yeah, him. Here’s what I want you to do. Go up to this mountain here and sacrifice him to me. Tie him up and set the alter a blaze.
Really? Yeah. And get this. Verse 3.
“Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.”
You see, Abraham did what God had asked of him. And on that mountain top, he tied up his son Isaac, laid him down on the wood on the alter, and he raised a knife over his son to slaughter him as a sacrifice to the Lord. Abraham might not have understood why God had asked such a request, but he trusted God. His loyalty was with God. It was an unswerving allegiance.
But just as Abraham was about to bring the knife down on his son, God spoke. The bible says in verse 11 of chapter 22, that the angel of the Lord stops Abraham, and say these words.
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,”… “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Abraham, now I know just how much you love me. You were willing to slaughter the son I gave you just to prove how much I mean to you. Abraham, my friend.
Abraham lived a life of unswerving allegiance to God. He worshiped God regularly and he held nothing back from him. And God called him a friend.
Can the same be said about our relationship with God? Have we obeyed God’s call to leave the lives we once lived behind to follow him wherever he leads us? Are we willing and able to sacrifice the things that we hold most dear in order to live an obedient life.
You see, in order to have the type of relationship that God desires, we have to declare and unswerving allegiance to him. We have to give him all that we have, all that we are.
God is calling you. He is calling you to leave the gods of this world, the stuff of this world, and follow him. And it doesn’t matter where you are right now. It doesn’t matter what your life looks like now. We don’t have to be all neat and tidy, we don’t have to have our lives all in order. We don’t have to clean ourselves up in order to answer God’s call. Abram certainly didn’t do any of that. God met him where he was and he said, come away from all of this and follow me to a better land.
And that is what God now calls to you. Like Abram, God says to you, come away from all of this, I have so much more for you. Come with me and I will show you just how much I love you.
I hope that you are here because you need to be reminded of that promise. Like Abraham who worshiped God regularly, we worship God in the place every week to remind us just how much we need him in our lives. To celebrate what he has already done on our behalf and to look forward to all that he intends to do.
Tonight/This morning I want to invite you to hear God’s call for you. God’s love for you has led him to do exactly what Abraham was willing to do to prove his love. God sacrificed his one and only son, Jesus, on a cross for your sins. The bibles says that everyone has sinned and that no one is perfect. And that because of our sin, we deserve the rightful punishment of death. But on that cross, the sin that was mine and yours was placed upon Jesus. Then Jesus died. He died in our place. Because he did that, God is able to look at us through eyes of mercy and grace. He extends to us, the opportunity to begin a new life, in a new land, with him. We just have to be willing to say yes, I will follow you.
If you are in a place where you just feel like some thing just isn’t right, like some thing is missing, like there has to be more to this life than what we see around us, then I want to invite you to accept God’s gift. Hear his call and answer him tonight/this morning by giving him your life.