"Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God." (Luke 18:16)
Friday, February 3, 2012
Thursday, February 2, 2012
I would like to believe that every Christian family man shares my dilemma.
I love my wife and children more than myself, but I must love Christ above them.
I often find myself wondering what my reaction would be if God, in His sovereignty, decides to take back His gift of any member of my family. I do not know my heart well enough.
But the witness of men of God of ages past must instruct me. Job tearfully exclaimed, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21). Abraham went through the same convulsions of soul, and the following by Edmund Clowney on the former's convictions serves as wise encouragement:
Abraham was ready to give everything in devoted obedience. Because he feared God, he would pay the price. The Angel stayed his hand. On the mount, Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a bush. He took the ram and offered it in the place of his Isaac. Abraham called the place 'The Lord Will See (to It).'
The cost to Abraham was everything, yet as he clung to the Lord in faith, the cost was nothing. He declared that the Lord would provide, and the Lord did provide. Abraham’s obedience was the obedience of faith. Isaac was given to Abraham a second time. He was his by birth and his by redemption. The offering of the sheep symbolized not only consecration but atonement in the blood of a substitute.
In the total commitment of faith the cost is everything, but in the simple trust of faith, the cost is nothing. Abraham worshiped as God renewed his covenant with him.
The demand that the Lord made of Abraham is not unthinkable. He makes that same total demand of you. Jesus asks it of everyone who would follow him. Whoever loves father, mother, son, or daughter more than the Lord is not worthy of him. Indeed, only as we are ready to receive our own death sentence and take up our cross do we receive everlasting life (Matt. 10:37-39). Much as we need the power of his grace to deny ourselves and follow him, his demand has not changed. Look at the cost: it’s everything. (Preaching Christ in All of Scripture [Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2003, 75, emphasis mine)