January 9: “God Must Have First Place in Our Heart”

Today’s Bible Reading:

Genesis 20:1-22:24
Matthew 7:15-29
Psalm 9:1-12
Proverbs 2:16-22

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

Genesis 22:1-2 (NLT): “Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. ‘Abraham!’ God called. ‘Yes,’ he replied. ‘Here I am.’ ‘Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.’”

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

The verses that I have chosen for today are troubling. Why would God tell Abraham to kill his son? That’s murder!

I believe that a close examination of this story clarifies that God never intended for Isaac to die. The knife was never intended to enter Isaac’s chest. Instead, the surgeon’s scalpel needed to enter Abraham’s heart.

The Messenger from Heaven makes this clear. Simply listen to His words.

Genesis 22:12 (NLT):” ‘Don’t lay a hand on the boy!’ the angel said. ‘Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.’” 

His words tell us that there was a question in Heaven regarding Abraham’s continued loyalty to God. Heaven had noticed that Isaac was sitting on the throne of Abraham’s heart, where God once dwelt.

After all, Isaac was the promised child. Abraham had waited for over 20 years for this boy. Second, Isaac was the miracle child, born when Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90. Finally, all of God’s promises to Abraham were tied up in Isaac.

God’s incredible blessing, Isaac, had become Abraham’s idol. Abraham came to value the gift above the Giver. So the Lord needed to do some divine surgery in Abraham’s heart. God needed to regain first place in Abraham’s heart and move Isaac to second.

That’s why God called the great Patriarch, Abraham, to sacrifice his son. But that is also why it was never God’s intention for Isaac to die. The incision needed to happen in Abraham’s chest, not Isaac’s.

So, friend, what about you? Is God really first place in your life? What is it that you value more than Him? If you were Abraham in Genesis 22, what would God call you to sacrifice?

The Christian life works best when God is first, and everything else falls in place beneath Him. When that happens, we can enjoy God’s blessings (people, things, circumstances) more, not less.

Mark 12:29-30 (NLT): “Jesus replied, ‘The most important commandment is this: “Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.”’”

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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