Some years later God decided to test Abraham, so he spoke to him.
Abraham answered, “Here I am, Lord.”
The Lord said, “Go get Isaac, your only son, the one you dearly love! Take him to the land of Moriah, and I will show you a mountain where you must sacrifice him to me on the fires of an altar.” So Abraham got up early the next morning and chopped wood for the fire. He put a saddle on his donkey and set out with Isaac and two servants for the place where God had told him to go.
Three days later Abraham looked off in the distance and saw the place. He told his servants, “Stay here with the donkey, while my son and I go over there to worship. We will come back.”
Abraham put the wood on Isaac's shoulder, but he carried the hot coals and the knife. As the two of them walked along, Isaac said, “Father, we have the coals and the wood, but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?”
“My son,” Abraham answered, “God will provide the lamb.”
The two of them walked on, and when they reached the place that God had told him about, Abraham built an altar and placed the wood on it. Next, he tied up his son and put him on the wood. He then took the knife and got ready to kill his son.
There is a recent report of a U.S. Army educational class about "religious extremists" that listed evangelical Christians and Catholics along side known terrorist groups that are affiliated with Islam. Most of us in the Western world would be offended by that, but perhaps it is a compliment!
Terrorist groups are known for doing extreme things and even giving up their own lives for the cause in which they believe.
If God asked you to do something would you do it? Before you answer that question pretend that your name is Abraham and God has just asked you to sacrifice your son Isaac. Abraham walked for three days on the way to obey God's "outrageous" request. There are hints that Abraham didn't think God was going to require that he go through with killing his own son, but no one believes that Abraham would not have done it.
Terrorists today trace their faith back to Abraham through his other son Ishmael. So their extremism in "following" what they believe to be the will of God is not surprising.
But what about you? Have you said to God, "I will do anything You ask me to do as long as it doesn't make me look like a religious extremist." Have you told God "I will take up 'my cross' and follow You as long as it is not a literal cross on which I must die!"
"Lord, I know that You will never ask me to do anything sinful. Help me to know Your voice so well that when I hear it I will respond immediately like Your servant Abraham. Lord, I want to be known as an 'extreme' follower of Jesus! And it is in His Name I ask this. Amen."