Listening For The Next Word

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  • A friend of mine called me last week to check on me. During the conversation, he affirmed that he was and is covering me with believing prayer. Specifically, he said that he was praying that I would be able to hear “the next word.” Of course, I asked what that statement meant. He then referenced Genesis chapter 22. He went on to explain. But I already knew the point he was trying to make. I have another friend who has often used Genesis 22 to warn me not to kill Isaac prematurely or unnecessarily.

    Genesis 22 records the story in which the Lord commanded Abraham to offer his son Isaac on one of the mountains of Moriah. This is an incredible request. But the Bible says that Abraham arose early the next morning to obey the Lord’s command. After traveling for three days, Abraham came to the place where the Lord commanded him to go. And as he and Isaac climbed the mountain, Isaac asked, “Dad, what’s missing?  I see the wood. And I have the fire. But where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “Son, God will provide himself a lamb for the burnt offering.”

    Abraham trusted and obeyed, even though he had no idea what God was up to. And just as he was about to take his son’s life, Abraham heard the Lord say, “Stay your hand.” This was the second major command the Lord gave to Abraham in Genesis 22. And it is just as important as the first word. You see, this whole experience was just a test of Abraham’s faith, obedience, and devotion. The Lord wanted to see what was more important to Abraham – his God or his son. When Abraham passed the test, God gave him the next word: stay your hand.

    What radical thing is the Lord calling you to do? What impossible command has the Lord issue to you? What “Isaac” in your life has the Lord told you to sacrifice? Whatever it is, trust and obey. But as you do so, keep listening for the next word. The Lord does not want to take away what he has promised to you. He just doesn’t want you to allow your blessings to become more important than him. So do what the Lord has told you to do. But keep listening for the next word.


    H.B. Charles Jr.

    Pastor-Teacher at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida.