My youth pastor taught many memorable lessons when we were growing up in the youth program at my church. One of the most startling was a sermon on dating. He taught us one of the qualifications to take a young lady on a date was protection. “If something tragic were to happen on the date,” he said, “you had better be ready to die protecting her!” Dating ratcheted up a few levels of seriousness after that statement. Then you read Genesis 26 where Isaac, following in his father’s footsteps, tells a lie about his wife. “She is my sister,” he said (Genesis 26:7). The wise king Abimelech happens to see Isaac flirting with “his sister,” Rebekah. He questions Isaac, “Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister” (Genesis 26:9)? Isaac’s pitiful response, “Lest I die for her” (Genesis 28:9).
Read throughout these chapters and you will find self-centered people everywhere. We naturally focus on our needs. We think we are the Cat’s Meow, A-1, out of this world, first class, like wow, top-drawer, sensational…and the other 318 million people in our country. We are surrounded by a bunch of people who naturally love themselves. Isn’t it interesting, when the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write a letter to Ephesus, he chooses to define the quality of a husband’s love for his wife as “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
The story is told about a little boy named Timothy. His sister was suffering from an ailment which Timothy once had but overcame. Her only chance for survival would be a blood transfusion from her brother, who shared her blood type. “Would you give your blood to help save your sister?” the doctor asked Timothy, leaning over close to the young boy’s face. At first, Timothy hesitated. His chin began to quiver as he fought back tears. Then with a solemn strength, he forced a smile. “Yes, I’ll do it,” he said. Timothy watched the blood flow out of his arm and into the tubes. Quiet for most of the procedure, he finally asked, “Doctor, when do I die?” That’s when the doctor realized Timothy thought to give his blood for his sister meant he would have to give all his blood. Timothy was willingly offering the greatest sacrifice out of love for his sister.
If you are saved, then you know of this sacrificial love and you are called to “walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us” (Ephesians 5:2). Isaac didn’t win the “Best Husband Trophy.” Before we are too hard on him, take some time to reflect on every drop of God’s love poured out for you on the cross.
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.