The bond between a father and son should be unbreakable. Flesh and blood binds two males together in a unique relationship. In theory, nothing should sever this connection. Yet, reality has taught us that events can threaten a father’s love for his son or a son’s devotion to his dad. Money, women and pride can cloud one’s thinking and cause a man to question where his loyalty lies. But, sin is not the sole source for disunity in a family. In fact, a higher and holier authority may jeopardize a father’s or son’s allegiance to one another.
Yes, God, the highest authority of all, will force all of us at one time or another to choose between Him or someone in our family. Doesn’t this seem paradoxical? Isn’t God the creator of the family? Isn’t He the one who commands us to love our neighbor? Who could be a closer neighbor to us than our spouse, parent, child or sibling?
Yet, the Bible is clear that love for God must reign supreme in the heart of every follower of Jesus. What else can explain Jesus’ shocking words in Luke 14:26-27?
26 "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple. 27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
God doesn’t suggest we swear our allegiance to Him and His agenda for our lives. No, He demands it. So, it should not surprise us that God made Abraham, the paragon of faith, choose between surrendering his one and only son to Him or saving Isaac from the very one who blessed he and his wife with him in the first place.
Genesis 22:1-19 records one of the most troubling stories in the Bible. God asks Abraham to take a three day journey north to Mount Moriah where he is to offer up his son, Isaac, as a burnt offering to Him. Such a demand seems both immoral and antithetical to the very nature of God. How must Abraham have digested such news? Why was he forced to choose between pleasing God or pleasing his family?
I can promise you that God will never ask you or me to present our loved ones as a burnt offering to Him. This was a unique test for the hero of faith. However, at some point, God will ask each one of us to make a choice between pleasing Him and pleasing our family. In doing so, we will show with whom our loyalties lie.
Thankfully, God never asks His children to do something He is unwilling to do. 4000 years later, God the Father sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to ascend a hill in Jerusalem, perhaps the very same one that Abraham and Isaac walked up, carrying a cross upon His back. This time, God the Father did not intervene. When it came down to choosing between saving sinners or saving His Son, God the Father and the Son both chose us!