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Service form the Heart

Filed Under: Luther's Devotions

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac: and
he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten
son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall your seed come.

Heb. 11:17, 18.

To reason it was a foolish command God gave to Abraham
to slay his son. If reason should be the judge, all mankind would
come to no other conclusion than that it was an unfriendly and
hostile command. How could it be from God, since he himself
had said to Abraham that he would multiply his seed through
this son, and that it should become as innumerable as the stars
of the firmament and as the sand by the sea. Therefore many would
reason it was a foolish, a grievous and hard commandment. But
what did Abraham do? He closes his senses, takes his reason
captive, and, obeying the voice of God, goes and does as God
commanded him.

By this Abraham proved that he obeyed from the heart; otherwise,
even if he had put his son to death a hundred times, God
would not have cared for it ; but God was pleased that the deed
came from the heart and was done from true love to God. It
came from a heart that must have thought: Even if my son
dies, God is almighty and faithful, he will keep his word, he
will find ways and means beyond that which I am able to devise;
only obey, there is no danger. Had he not had this boldness
and faith, how could he have had it in his fatherly heart to
proceed to kill his only and well beloved son?

Later the Jews wanted to follow this example and offered
their children to God, hoping thereby to perform a service well pleasing
to God; but it was far from it. O, how many healthy,
noble and beautiful children perished! The prophets protested
against this service, they preached, warned and wrote against it,
telling the people that it was a deception, but all in vain. Many
a prophet lost his life because of this, as the history of the Books
of the Kings shows.

But why was this service of the Jews displeasing to God?
Because it did not come from the heart, and was not done out
of love to God ; but they simply looked upon the service without
the command and word of God. There must be first love in
the heart, then follows the service that will be pleasing to God.
Abraham proved by his act that he loved God with his whole
heart.

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