God Requires Obedience
by Rev. John J. McCave
Almighty God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, requires very little from mankind. There is a specific thing that He really does want, however. He told it to Adam clearly and succinctly. He had given Adam everything. He had given him the world. He gave him authority over the world before He took him out of the dust of the ground.
God gave it to him because He decided to, not because Adam was a good guy. God chose to give it to him. It wasn’t because you were good that God has chosen to save you, either. The Lord God Almighty gave Adam one requirement to prove his love. He gave him one requirement that could keep him in the place that he belongs – the humble place, underneath the Almighty God who created all things and gave him all things. It’s not very far down on the scale to be underneath God, but it is a place of humility. He was to obey His command, to obey His voice.
Genesis 2:16 and 17:
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
God not only gave him the command, He also gave him the consequence if he should not obey. This was very loving of Him. He told Adam exactly what that consequence would be. God has chosen obedience as the test of an individual’s love, honor, and reverence for Him.
All throughout the Scriptures, God sought out men who would obey Him and, believe it or not, there were very few. Compared to the billions of people who have ever lived, very few have really endeavored to do His will.
One of the great men of the Bible is Abraham, in the book of Genesis. Abraham is set forth as a man of faith – the prototype of faith, the father of all those who have believed. Every time God said something to Abraham, he did it. He believed it and he obeyed it. He walked out on it. That’s what faith looks like. Faith is not being told something and saying, “That sounds good, but I’ll do something else.” That’s not faith. Faith is doing what you have been told to do. Abraham was told to get up and go, and he got up and went. But the great test of Abraham is in Genesis chapter 22.
And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt [test] Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
And he said, 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 upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
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 had told him.
We are talking about an extraordinary man here. He has such a relationship with God Almighty. He has proven this God and trusted Him with everything. God has given him a son, Isaac. God gave Isaac to Abraham in his old age, with his wife Sarah. God has proven himself to Abraham.
This test wasn’t the first one; it was one of the last. Abraham had such an obedient relationship with God, he doesn’t even ask, “Why?” He doesn’t ask God, “Are you sure that’s what you want? Isaac? The young boy you gave me? The child I love?” Abraham does something so remarkable. He just gets up in the morning and he goes.
This is faith. This is obedience. This is why God says of Abraham, this is my friend. Abraham is the only man in the Bible known as the friend of God.
Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.
He has had three days to walk- three days to fellowship with his son. How much of a temptation would it have been to second-guess the revelation that he’s received? I know what it would have done to me. He has had three days to consider whether or not this is the right thing to do. Is this what the Lord really wants? Maybe I heard it wrong. He has had three days to contemplate sacrificing the son that he loves.
And 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.
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.
And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
Isaac is about twenty years old at this time. Abraham is about a hundred and ten. And Isaac just wants to know, well, where’s the lamb?
And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
And they came to the place which God had told him of, and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
He is still peaceful enough to hear from his God, isn’t he? He said, “Here am I.”
And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou has not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.