Faith in a Crisis
Faith quite often involves a crisis. Abraham's life has three. In Gen. 12:1-3, we have God's invitiation to Abraham to a life of faith. Notice that it involves a leaving, a letting go of one thing so that we can take hold of another. You grow up by giving up. Faith is leaving the known for the unknown. Faith is going without knowing.
In Gen. 17:15, we find an illustration of where what I ought to be and do runs up against what God wants us to do. We must let go of the "Ishmaels" in our life. Ishmael is my contribution to the work of God. The flesh is often religious, but it cannot please God.
Gen. 22:1-2 shows us that we must let go of the "Isaacs" of our life too. Isaac is where God directs us a certain way and then tells us to lay it down. Sometimes God leads us right up to the door and just as you are about to open it, He says, "No, don't open that door." Hold all things loosely. You see, if Abraham refused to kill Isaac, it would mean he was more committed to the gift than to the Giver. Our commitment is to Him Who gives rather than the things He gives.
Interestingly, our clearest glimpses of Jesus are when our Isaacs are on the altar.