You know the line where the kid says to the parent; “Why do I have to do that?” and the answer comes back; “Because I said so!” Frustrating for the child, but still a good answer and one the child will probably adopt later when they are a parent. Implicit in “Because I said so” is the notion that “I’m the parent and you are the child and I’m the one calling the shots.”
From the point of view of the parent, sometimes it is difficult to articulate exactly why you have made that particular decision. Still you feel it is right. Also, you want the child to reach the place of trust where they know your decisions are for their good to the best of your ability. Later – sometimes much later, the child looks back to see how the decisions you made were mostly good. In retrospect they appreciate the discipline.
God told Abraham to take his son Isaac up on a mountain and sacrifice him on an altar (Genesis 22). This didn’t make sense as Isaac was the son of promise. God had said that through Isaac, Abraham would have more descendants than stars in the heavens. But God didn’t say why; He just said do it and Abraham proceeded to obey. At the last minute God held back Abraham’s arm, and provided a ram for the sacrifice instead.
It would be much later before an understanding was provided. For Abraham at the time it was a time of testing his obedience, but God was also creating a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of his own son, Jesus Christ. Unlike Abraham, God actually went through with it, and Jesus died on the cross. Abraham had no idea that God had a bigger plan, and the New Testament would fulfill what was alluded to from his life in the Old Testament.
Sometimes we have to obey first and understand later. Often, stepping through the door of obedience provides an understanding, but even if it doesn’t the Lord deserves our obedience and trust. God is working on a bigger and better plan for us than we can imagine. In retrospect, we too will appreciate the discipline. For now, just obey.
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