“He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.'”- Genesis 22:2
“So do not show a preference for even the most valuable things God bestows on you over him who did the bestowing. And when he wants to take it away from you, don’t let him go down in your estimation, because God is to be loved free, gratis and for nothing. What lovelier reward, after all, can you get from God than God himself?“- Saint Augustine, Sermon 2, from The Works of St. Augustine- Sermons, Volume 1, 178.
How often do we take the good things of God and turn them into gods? How often do we mistake the benefits of the Object for the Object itself. In the end, i find myself praising the rays of the Sun for warmth and light while forgetting the Sun. The account of Abraham and Isaac is a good reminder for me today. The Lord tells Abraham to slaughter his own son, the son whom Abraham had waited for for such a long time, the son who was to propogate his offspring. The Lord’s words are striking; “YOUR son, YOUR ONLY son, WHOM YOU LOVE.” What is the Lord doing with these words? He is showing us that Isaac means more to Abraham than perhaps Abraham’s very life. The Lord is making sure that the reader knows how teasured, adored, important, and simply loved Isaac is by his father. And yet Abraham has not forgotten that the joy he has received from Isaac is only the downstream taste of the Fount and Source of Joy and is but the tributary to the ocean of Joy, Himself. Abraham is able to look past the gift to the Giver. When all is done, Abraham treasures God. What things, today, have i failed to look past? What good things from God have i turned into little gods? Perhaps it’s my marriage. Perhaps i have made my relationship with my wife an ultimate thing. But if i am honest, my marriage has no light of its own, it only borrows its joy and beauty from the true Husband, Jesus Christ. The gifts of the giver, including safety, abilities, talents, joys, etc…are meant to shove us to the Source, to God. Certainly God’s gifts are wonderful. They are full of joy, full of beauty, and full of blessing. But the joy, beauty, and blessing of these gifts are but a taste of Father, Son, and Spirit, who is the Banquet of every Christian, the Object of our ultimate desires, and the true Treasure of treasures.