The Isaac PrincipleSeveral years ago I read Carol Kent’s book, “When I Lay My Isaac Down.” From that and other things God was using in my life at the moment, I discovered what I have come to call The Isaac Principle: It is in the surrendering of something that we love (even cherish and desire and hold fast in our hearts as a promise from God) entirely to God that we discover the true condition of our hearts…..If we cannot surrender it entirely to Him, it may, in fact, …be an idolatrous obstacle between God and us. I have realized, too, as Abraham did, that just because God calls us to surrender our grasp on a beloved promise to Him does not mean that He will necessarily remove it from us….(after all, His promise IS His promise!) ….it does mean, however, that God requires us to look at our hearts, determine what’s more important to us….the Giver of the Promise or the Promise itself. In whom or what do we trust….the Promise Giver or the Promise? This time of year it might translate into this: What’s more valuable to us…..the Giver or the Gift? I think I understand Abraham better and why he is held up in Hebrews as a hero of faith….His faith was rightly placed in the Giver, not in the Gift, in the Giver of the Promise, not the Promise. He KNEW God’s faithfulness and He was assured in His heart that God is faithful and would keep His promise….He may not have had all the details of how God would do it, but He trusted God’s faithfulness, which enabled him to be faithful, as well. I have heard some interpret this story as an indictment against a cruel and mean, demanding God. But it is not. It is a story of God’s faithfulness and how we, too, can trust God’s faithfulness and be faithful in response, even when we don’t understand what He is calling us to do.
I had written about “The Isaac Principle” last November, something I had come to understand as God’s call to full devotion and obedience. Periodically, God has me revisit that principle in different circumstances, with different desires, to test for the presence of hidden idols. Once again in the past few weeks, God has tested me. I didn’t recognize the set-up circumstance as a sort of pre-test that challenged my faithfulness to obedience. Thankfully, I responded as I fel…t the Lord leading, although, in the end, nothing came of the situation. (Though something did decidedly happen within me!) Three weeks later an almost identical situation arose, and I was challenged in exactly the same way, but to a much more significant degree. I realized THIS was the real test for which God had been preparing me. The other circumstance had been sort of a “trial run” at submission in this new area of my life. Several situations over recent months leading up to this had begun to hint at God’s motive and manner in this area of my life. Now I have unequivocal proof that God is far more involved in some decisions I had previously thought of as my own!
The Nevertheless Principle
I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory.”
No matter what the circumstances appear to be, we may even rale against and yield to despair over what appears to be the success of those whom we observe as arrogant and wicked, but God does not forsake those whom He loves (and who love Him). What results from the circumstances is not the important point in this principle. What is important is that we are never out of his hand. He is still guiding us. He is still faithful….. and will never abandon us, even when we act like beasts.
Thank God that He has illuminated His principles for us through His Word, that He instructs our hearts as we seek to apply them in our lives, and that He never gives up on us.