I've been reading Future Grace by John Piper - such a great book with short chapters so they are easy to read in a short amount of time (like right before bed or with your morning devotions, or on your lunch break). You can find three chapters of it on John's www. Here is a quote from it:
Past grace is glorified by intense and joyful gratitude.
Future grace is glorified by intense and joyful confidence.
This faith is what empowers us for venturesome obedience in the cause of Christ.
This is exactly what I've been learning in my reading through Genesis right now. As my Pastor calls this act of Abraham "unhesitating obedience" because his response to God is like a one track mind "Here am I!". (Gen 22.1, 11). This is what I got from Gen 22 and now as I listen again to this sermon JD preached.
Abraham had immediate obedience. "Does your obedience have conditions" is what JD asked. There is no conversation that Abraham has with God after he commands him to do this unmentionable thing. There wasn't grumbling or complaining or what ifs or you said this or but God. These are all things we say.
Abraham feared God. He knew Who He was and what He could do.
"Success is defined as obedience and walking with God." - He listened so closely to the voice of God. Gen 22.11-12 is the conversation. Here is the picture: Abraham is about to slay his son of promise (from earlier in Genesis). But, he was so intent on listening to God's voice - that he stopped in mid-swing. He responded and his action stopped. Do we slow down enough to listen to the voice of God - could we hear it in our lives that are so busy.
Abraham was confident in the Already Promise of God. He told his servants that he and the boy would go and worship and (plural verb here) come back again (Gen 22.5) He knew God to be the everlasting unchanging God. He knew God was a God of his Word - He gave Abraham that promise and He knew he would keep it.
We know that God has given us promises - do we hold on to that when the future doesn't seem all that certain? Do we obey immediately to what He has told us (commands from the Word) in certainty that what He has promised will come true - blessings (Abraham knew that in the end of Gen 22). That is the point of Future Grace by Piper (where I started this entry). We can go on in uncertainty (the hidden hand of God) because we have confidence in the future grace of God because we have the past grace of God - and that leads to some adventurous living all for the glory of God