Moriah, which means chosen by God, was where God had his temple built, for it was a place special and holy to him. It was also where he sent King David to make sacrifice after his sin of taking census (1 Chronicles 21). Such a little thing, counting the people. But it showed his reliance on military might instead of God. Which angered God and caused him to send a plague.
So he sent David to make things right. In his chosen way and at his chosen place, on Mount Moriah. And that’s when a loophole appeared for David, for Moriah is full of them.
Because it’s at Moriah that God takes us to a deeper place of trust and obedience.
It’s where we learn the harder lessons of life. To not take the easy way, but to give God our best. And it’s in those moments that we need to watch for the loopholes.
Those good, and even logical, choices that try to snatch our focus and deter us from following through on what God has shown us.
The loophole that presented itself to David was finding all that was necessary for the sacrifice ready at just the right time. “Look how the Lord provided everything!” he could have thought.
But Moriah is a place for learning to not take the easy way in serving God. David learned that God wants our best, which comes with a price tag. He is not content with half-hearted service or second-hand offerings.
So David paid for the threshing floor, the oxen, the wood, and the grain. “I can’t offer something that’s not even mine, and which cost me nothing,” he said. This pleased the Lord, and the plague stopped.
But Moriah is also a place a place of death.
Abraham’s Moriah lesson went even deeper. “I don’t want only your best,” God said. “I want all.”
“Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you,” (Genesis 22:2).
There on that mount Abraham learned that the only things we can offer God are those which we have totally renounced. Moriah is being willing to relinquish our dreams, all we hold dear, and even God’s promises.
I likely would have grabbed the loophole of common sense. Saying, “Ridiculous! God doesn’t demand such heathenish things!” And refusing to budge even an inch, would have congratulated myself on my great discernment!
But after years of walking with God, perhaps Abraham understood the dangers of trusting common sense more than faith. And knew that good, sensible choices, don’t always come from God, but sometimes to distract us from God’s vision. We’ll never know for sure what thoughts swirled in his mind.
But just as David didn’t grab at the easy, cost-free offering, Abraham didn’t take the easy way out either. And God rewarded his obedience by providing his own sacrifice in place of Isaac.
They did not jump at the loopholes of common sense. They had learned that walking with God not only costs, but that it costs everything. It’s an all or nothing proposition.
And how about when we find ourselves on Mount Moriah?
For we will sooner or later if we’re walking with God. Wanting to bring us to greater trust and obedience, he takes us through the deeper lessons of Moriah. And that’s the time to watch for the loopholes.
Perhaps because, like David, we’ve strayed from the Lord’s vision. And trusting in our own strength, we make wrong and hasty decisions. God takes us back to the path of obedience, at Moriah.
Or maybe, like Abraham, we faithfully follow, no matter the cost; or so we think. But God, who knows our heart, puts us to the test, on Moriah. “Am I really first? Will you give me all?”
Sooner or later, and perhaps many times in our Christian walk, we will find ourselves on Mount Moriah. God’s chosen place of death. Of dying to ourselves, to all we have, and to all that we hold dear.
Moriah costs, and dearly. But it is also the way to endless blessing and place of great provision.
So Abraham called the name of that place, ‘The LORD will provide’; as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided’, (Genesis 22:14)