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The Bible’s Version of All In

As children grow up and mature, simple card games like Go Fish and War are replaced by more complex ones. I was introduced to Cribbage in high school, moved on to Hearts in college and graduated to Euchre and Spades in my twenties. However, it wasn’t until watching the World Series of Poker on television, Texas Hold’em style, that I truly understood going All In. When your chips deteriorate, and a decent hand is dealt, desperation forces many professional card players to go All In.

And Abraham said to his servants, Settle down and stay here with the donkey, and I and the young man will go yonder and worship and [a]come again to you. Then Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it on [the shoulders of] Isaac his son, and he took the fire (the firepot) in his own hand, and a knife; and the two of them went on together. And Isaac said to Abraham, My father! And he said, Here I am, my son. [Isaac] said, See, here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt sacrifice? Abraham said, My son, [b]God Himself will provide a lamb for the burnt offering. So the two went on together, Genesis 22:5-8.

The Bible has its own version of All In. Two analogies illustrate this point: driving a car and reading a newspaper. The driver of a vehicle knows where they want to go and how long it will take thanks to GPS. Going all in spiritually means handing the wheel over to Jesus, yielding complete control to God. Meanwhile, every paper has multiple sections that may bore, entertain or interest you. Yet, going all in requires Christians to live their lives as an open book to God, not hiding, holding back or tearing out any unpleasant page from your life.

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there; then he laid the wood in order and [c]bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar on the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand and took hold of the knife to slay his son. 11 But the [d]Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, Abraham, Abraham! He answered, Here I am. 12 And He said, Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear and revere God, since you have not held back from Me or begrudged giving Me your son, your only son. 13 Then Abraham looked up and glanced around, and behold, behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering and an ascending sacrifice instead of his son! – Genesis 22:9-13

When you study the life of Abraham, it took him a while for him to truly place his trust in God. I truly believe that asking Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his promised child, forces him to go All In. Some scholars claim that Abraham came to the conclusion that somehow Isaac would be raised from the dead if he was fulfill to God’s calling. King Solomon chimes in on this topic, explaining the Bible’s version of All In, Proverbs 3:5-6. As you mature spiritually, don’t be afraid to join Abraham by placing your trust fully in the Lord.

by Jay Mankus


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