Consecration – Full and Complete
Without prayer and consecration, we cannot enter Heaven
IN the twenty-second chapter of Genesis we read of an outstanding example of consecration. Many a person has drawn back because of a much less price than we read of in this chapter, and refused to do what God commanded.
“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.”
Don’t you like those words! “Here I am.” All through his life Abraham was able to say, “Here I am.” When things go smoothly with us and we do not know what is going to be required of us, it is easy to say, “Lord, here I am.” But it is another thing when we are farther along and find out what the price is that God requires. Can we still say, “Lord, here I am”?
God said to Abraham:
“Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering.”
God was calling for a consecration, a sacrifice that meant something. He did not call for something that Abraham didn’t care anything about. God called for that which was lying closest to Abraham’s heart. He was calling for an inward consecration. That kind of consecration has to come from way down inside. “Take now thine son, thine only son Isaac, . . . and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”
Ready to Obey
Think what a shock that would be. God had given him that child. Isaac was a child of prayer, a child of faith, a child of promise – and then God speaks, and tells Abraham to offer the child up as a burnt offering. It meant something for that man – but he had the thing in him to do God’s will, regardless of the cost.
Abraham did not loiter around. He was up early to do as God had told him. It is doubtful that he even told his wife what was going on. Sometimes, when one is in a real battle and has to get down to business before God, he does not do much talking about his trial, not even to his companion. He just steals out somewhere to pray. He likes to be away alone with God. That is the way to receive things from God – pray for them.
“And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God has told him.
“Then on the third day, Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.
“Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.”
Abraham Believed God
We are told in the book of Hebrews that Abraham had confidence that God would raise that child up even from the dead. All he had to worry about was to do just what God had told him to do. If he did that, he knew God could put life back into the child, and that the two of them would go right down to the hill together and meet the servants. He believed that! Wouldn’t you like to have a little of that kind of faith? When you are in a hard spot, it is a wonderful thing to have that kind of faith.
“And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.”
Can’t you picture them in your mind? See that old father with a knife in his hand and a little fire, going up there to do what God told him to do. See Isaac at his side with a bundle of wood on his back. Isaac said to his father:
“Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
Perhaps, Isaac had from time to time seen his father offer up a lamb unto the Lord. Now they are going up there on that mount to make a sacrifice unto the Lord; but where is the lamb? The lad thought: Father has the wood; he has the fire – but where is the lamb?
“My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.”
That father knew down in his heart that he would go through with God’s command. His consecration was complete. And he also knew that it was just like God to put life right back into his son; and he knew they were going back down the hill together. Faith! Living faith down in his heart! Receiving faith!
Abraham built an altar in the place which God told him. He laid the wood in order. He bound Isaac his son and laid him upon the altar, upon the wood. People, this is just not a story. It happened.
Paid in Full
This is a time and a place where God came down and met a man when that man needed Him. Abraham stretched forth his hand and took the knife to slay his son. He went the limit in his consecration to fulfill all that God commanded him to do.
Have you ever noticed what happens when people have to take their stand after they have consecrated to the depths and then come right up to the very limit with God? God meets them there. In this case, God did not seem to be within miles of Abraham and Isaac, but God was there – and He came in time. He will always be there. Some people want to see the end when they first start out; but it is better to start and let God take care of the end. He will do it.
Abraham was going to do what God told him to do, no matter how it hurt. It did not matter how dear the price, God had told him to do it, and he was going through with it. Just think of it! When he reached to get the knife and stretched forth his hand to slay his son, the angel of the Lord called upon him out of Heaven.
“Abraham, Abraham: and he said, here am I.”
He could still say, “Lord, here am I.” “Here am I. What is it?”
“And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do anything unto him; for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.”
A Plan Changed
How glorious those words must have been! Even though Abraham was willing to go through and do what God told him to do, we know that that man was rejoicing when God changed the plan that day.
“And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.”
When you read this account in God’s Word, doesn’t it make you feel like doing what God tells you to do? You do not feel afraid to make a consecration unto the Lord. Abraham, in his heart, absolutely went through with all he was to do just as much as though he had brought the knife down upon his son.
Someone has told how this incident parallels with the sacrifice God made when He offered up His only Son. Jesus bore the wood on His back as he started up the old mount where He was to be sacrificed. But there is one thing different in this picture. No one stopped the hand that drove the nails in the hands and feet of the Son of God. No one stopped the hand from coming down with that hammer upon Jesus that day. He had to be offered – a Sacrifice.
It was a different picture on that mount when Abraham cut those ropes loose from his son and slew the ram that was caught in the bushes, and offered it on the wood for the burnt sacrifice. What a time of rejoicing it must have been! What a moment up on that mount! And all that he had told his young men at the foot of the mount was true. He and his son came again unto them!
There is another wonderful example of consecration told in the Book of Ruth, the first chapter. Naomi had started to go home from the land of Moab, and with her were her two daughters-in-law. In that land she had lost both of her sons and also her husband. Naomi told these two young women to go back to their people and to their gods. Notice she said gods – not God. Down in Naomi’s heart, she wanted it to be a wholehearted consecration if they came with her – or not come at all. After all, that is the only kind of consecration worthwhile. She kept telling them over and over: “Go back.” Finally, they lifted up their voices and wept, and wept again.
“And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law; but Ruth clave unto her.”
Ruth is an example of real consecration.
“And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.
“And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.” (Not gods, but God!)
Naomi had probably told Ruth that the Moabites had many gods but she had only one. If Ruth went with Naomi into her land, only one God was worshipped there. She wanted Ruth to know that; but Ruth answered,
“Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.
“When she saw that she was steadfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.”
If we show the Lord that we are steadfastly minded, that we are determined to follow on, He will honor our consecration, too. Something may seem to pull us back and make it impossible for us, but if God sees that determination down in our heart that will not back up, He will honor us and see us through.
When Naomi saw Ruth’s consecration was complete, she no longer tried to get her to go back. When Ruth made that consecration: “Where you die I will die, and where you are buried I will be buried,” it was a consecration that held good and stood the test from the time they stood on the road that day to the time when she was lowered into her grave.
Consecration Made Easy
Oh, how much these examples of consecration mean to us! One of the sisters in the Gospel had made a hard consecration. I knew it was a hard one, a consecration that many people will not make. I told her, “That is a pretty deep consecration, Sister. It is a big price.” “Yes,” she said, “but you would be surprised to see that when the consecration is really made how easy it is to do it.” How true! After you really have a consecration made, get something really on the altar, how easy it is to do what you promised God you will do. It is much easier then than when one is beating around the bush, not going all the way with God.
Think of Father Abraham: God could speak to him, get his ear, and cause him to answer and do what He wanted him to do. How wonderful it would be if people could be that way all the time! But sometimes God has to deal in a pretty hard manner to get them to listen, so He may talk to them and get them to do what He wants them to do. It seems that He has to let things come to some people that nearly take their lives before they are in that place before God. The people who keep close enough to God for Him to speak to them, close enough to hear His voice, and ever ready to say, “Lord, here I am,” save themselves a lot of trouble. Do you believe that? Try it. Make a full and complete consecration to God, and you will find that He will never fail you; He will always be with you when you need Him most.