Double-Calling (#2)

  • By Pastor Boffey
  • on Thursday, October 8, 2015
Genesis 22:10-11 (10) And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. (11) And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. In a previous meditation (10-7-15, Double-Calling), the significance of God's repetition in calling men to service and blessing was explored. Today's text was intentionally withheld from that previous meditation because it deserved special attention. The background to today's text is that about a quarter of a century had gone by from the time that God called Abram out of Ur with promises that implied offspring (GEN 12:1-4) through a later specific promise of a child (GEN 15:1-6) and finally, the birth of that child, Isaac (GEN 21:5). Abraham had waited long for the promised child and no doubt Abraham's joy was great, but God had not yet finished exploring Abraham's faith. In this chapter God tempted Abraham (GEN 22:1), not in the sense of enticing him to do evil (for in that sense God tempts no one, JAM 1:13), but in the sense of testing Abraham's faith by what was (from human reckoning) an outrageous demand: “...Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest...and offer him there for a burnt offering...” (GEN 22:2). Abraham faithfully obeyed, conceding like Job that it is God's prerogative not only to give but also to take away (JOB 1:21), while knowing also that God would certainly raise Isaac again (HEB 11:17-19). And Isaac faithfully complied, carrying the wood of his own sacrifice (GEN 22:6) to the top of a mount of sacrifice (GEN 22:2), obedient even unto death. Who can read this account and not glean from it a picture of the great sacrifice that God would exact of Himself two millennia later? It is of note that when God called Abraham to his melancholy venture in GEN 22:1-2, He called his name only once, saying, “...Abraham....” But here, in the urgency of the situation when Abraham was poised for the kill, the heavenly call was “...Abraham, Abraham...” As noted in the previous meditation, when God desires to underscore the certainty of a thing or command our special attention, He is prone to double the message. Ergo, since God's entire program centers on His Son, Jesus Christ, He doubled that message variously. The Law spoke of Christ, the Prophets spoke of Christ (JOH 1:45) and their message was the same: that He should suffer, die and rise again (LUK 24:44-46), that light should be sent unto the Gentiles (ACT 26:22-23), that righteousness comes not by the law but by Christ's faith (ROM 3:21-22), and that Israel's true hope is “...a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust” (ACT 24:14-15). Likewise, there are two Testaments that declare Christ: the O.T. declared Him in prophecy, types and shadows (JOH 5:39), the N.T. declares Him historically. The double-call in GEN 22:11 undoubtedly got Abraham's attention. But Abraham's response was essentially the same as it was in GEN 22:1, “...Here am I...” There was no frustrated, “NOW WHAT?,” no anguished cry of “Lord, have mercy!,” nor even an expectant, “Thank you, Lord. I thought you were never going to call.” This man of faith was unmoved by the circumstances of the call of God. Whether it is during times of ease (v. 1) or times of great stress and urgency (as in our text), faith's response is, “...Here am I” (EXO 3:4) or “...Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth...” (1SAM 3:9), or “...Here am I; send me” (ISA 6:8)” or “...Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?...” (ACT 9:6). The gospel must be preached “ season, out of season...” (2TI 4:2) and in like manner received both when it suits us and when it doesn't suit us. On this point, let God-fearing parents take note: while relishing God's sparing of Abraham's obedient child, be diligent to not use this as an excuse to not chasten a disobedient child. God's imperative “Spare not!” is the rule in such a case and it applies to both the child (spare not the rod, PRO 13:24) and the parent (let not thy soul spare for his crying, PRO 19:18). See also PRO 22:15; PRO 23:13-14; PRO 29:15-17; HEB 12:7-10. The double call of God here interrupted the fatal plunge of Abraham's knife and Isaac was delivered. How wonderful that Isaac was saved alive! How wonderful that Abraham was relieved of his awful task! But years later the only begotten Son of God Who was Abraham's Seed (GAL 3:16) would also compliantly carry His own wood up to the top of a mount of sacrifice, “...obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (PHIL 2:8). Once more, a double call was made when He Who was God manifest in the flesh (1TI 3:16) cried, “...My God, my God...” (MAR 15:34). But this time the Father withdrew not His hand. God had spared Abraham's son, but would not spare His own. Did Abraham love his son? Surely! Did God in heaven love His Son? Surely! But consider the reason He spared Him not: “...for his great love wherewith he loved US,” (EPH 2:4). Is it any wonder, therefore, that we are to marvel, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God...” (1JO 3:1). God's elect are indeed greatly loved: (ROM 8:32) He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (ROM 8:33) Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. God's love of the elect guarantees they will without fail be called by Christ's voice out of spiritual death in sin to life, because “...whom he did predestinate, them he also called...” (ROM 8:30). This call is the inward renewing of which Jesus spoke: (JOH 5:25) Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. Some may miss out on the gospel call by the work of men, but none shall miss out on the final call by the voice of Christ: (JOH 5:28) Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, (JOH 5:29) And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (1TH 4:17) Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. This double-call of God infallibly delivers the elect first from the power of sin and one day from the presence of sin. “...Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (REV 22:20).

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