Lessons on Surrender from Mount Moriah

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 offer sacrifices after his sin of taking a census (1 Chronicles 21). It seemed like such a small thing, counting the people, but David did it out of pride. Which made God so angry that he sent a plague upon the people.

So God sent David to make it right. In God’s chosen way and at his chosen place – Mount Moriah. And that’s when a loophole appeared for David. Because loopholes often appear during the mountain-top experiences God brings.

God’s dealings with His people often involve mountains and ‘mountain-top experiences.’ These are moments of epiphany when he reveals himself and grants us deeper insight. Times when he takes us deeper into our walk with him. And provides strength to endure life’s valleys and most challenging moments.

Moriah: a place of greater obedience

Moriah is where God takes us to a level of deeper trust and obedience. It’s where we learn the most difficult lessons in life. And where God teaches us to give him our best, rather than choosing the easiest way.

The Moriah loopholes

And that’s when we must guard against loopholes. All the rational and even logical choices that try to take us off track. And deter us from following through on what God has shown us.

The loophole presented to David was Ornan’s offering. “My king, I’ll give you everything you need. My threshing floor, the wood, and all the sacrifices you want to offer God.” What a gift! And David could have thought, “God is providing everything. Hallelujah!”

Moriah: a place for giving our best

Moriah is a place for learning that God wants our best. There, David learned that giving him our best comes with a cost. God is not content with half-hearted service or second-hand offerings. We can not take the easy way out.

So David paid for the threshing floor, the oxen, the wood, and the grain. “I can’t offer something that’s not mine, and which cost me nothing,” he said. This pleased the Lord, and the plague stopped.

Watch out for those Moriah loopholes. Those rational and logical choices that try to snatch our focus and deter us from following through on what God has shown us.

Moriah: a place of death

Moriah is also a place of death. Abraham’s Mount Moriah lesson delved even deeper. “I don’t want only your best,” God told him. “I want all.”

‘Take your son,’ he said, ‘your only son Isaac, whom you love, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.’

Genesis 22:2 CSB

There on that mountain, Abraham learned that God doesn’t want easy offerings. He requires us to surrender everything to him. At Mount Moriah we become willing to relinquish our dreams, all that we hold dear, and even God’s promises.

Had I been in Abraham’s place, I likely would have heeded common sense. “Ridiculous,” I would have said. “God doesn’t demand such heathenish things!” And proud of my keen discernment, would have refused to budge even an inch.

But Abraham had walked with God for many years. He understood the dangers of trusting common sense more than faith. And he knew that sane, sensible choices don’t always come from God. Sometimes, they pop up to distract us from God’s vision.

God wants all

We’ll never know what thoughts swirled through Abraham’s mind. But he knew that God wanted all. So just as David didn’t offer an easy, free offering, Abraham didn’t take the easy way out either.

He was about to obediently offer his son on the altar to God. But God stopped him, rewarding his obedience by providing a ram to offer in place of Isaac.

These two men of God did not accept the loopholes of logic. They had learned that walking with God costs – and that it costs everything. It’s an all-or-nothing proposition.

Our own Mount Moriah

How about when we find ourselves on Mount Moriah? For it is inevitable if we strive to follow the Lord. He wants to bring us to a greater level of trust and obedience. So he takes us through the deeper lessons of Moriah. And that’s when we need to guard against loopholes that present themselves.

  • Perhaps because, like David, we’ve strayed from the Lord’s vision. And trusting in our own strength, we make wrong and hasty decisions. So God takes us back to the path of obedience at Moriah.
  • Or maybe, like Abraham, we think we’ve put God first and are striving to follow him faithfully. But God knows our hearts, and he tests us on Mount Moriah. “Have you really put me first?” he asks. “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 costs dearly. But it is also a path to endless blessing and a place of rich provision. And still today, God provides all we need to keep following him. But we need to watch for loopholes!

And Abraham named that place, The Lord will provide, so today it is said, ‘It will be provided on the Lord’s mountain.’

Genesis 22:14 CSB

Images: Man praying by Pexels | Pinkish mountains by Simon Berger | Yellowish mountains by Conrad Liebowitz.

19 thoughts on “Lessons on Surrender from Mount Moriah

  1. Wonderfully insightful post, Sheila. Had I been told by God to sacrifice my son as Abraham was, I too would have responded, “God doesn’t demand such heathenish things!” And just as you described, I’d surely refuse to budge and then congratulate myself on my keen discernment! Ah me! Who can possibly deliver me from the sin at work within me? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:23-25!)


  2. Read this again with great gladness. We’re not in a culture here in America where we talk about the cost of obedience, responsibility, and doing the next right thing. Instead, we’re encouraged to get what we can without paying, expecting that we’re entitled. Thank you for this, my friend.


    1. Yes Pete, surrender is the only way to truly grow in Christ. And we don’t surrender in order to get something. But when we give to God we never come out with the short end of the stick!!


    1. Thank you, Patty! I hadn’t realized that the Lord had called David to make that sacrifice at Mount Moriah, and was so amazed when I learned it. It surely showed me that there are deep lessons in Mount Moriah. And I’m sure that I’ve only barely brushed the surface. As my husband often says, “The word of God is simple enough for a child to understand. But so deep that we can never fully plumb its depths!”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There’s a heaviness in what the Lord asks–all of us. If I’m thinking of me. But you’re right–He’s asking me to give Him all that He Himself has already given me. This is a lot to think about, my friend. Faith is such an incredible–and often difficult–choice. But always the right one. I appreciate your insights.


    1. Yes there can be a heaviness indeed, Dayle. But as you say, he’s only asking for what he himself has given us. Moriah is full of hard, hard lessons. Yet, as Scripture has shown, the surrender it can lead us into is a place of great blessing and provision. And therefore, a marvelous uplifting of God’s glory! May the Holy Spirit make us willing – that’s what we I need!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great insights and encouragement! Yes, God is always in the business of growing us closer to Him and He’s not afraid of the difficult spaces for “nothing is impossible for HIm.” Oh, may I trust Him when it doesn’t seem right, when I’m suffering, when it’s hard…for He has always been and always will be ever-present and faithful to His own.


    1. Thank you so much Amy. I’ve always been drawn to Abraham’s episode on Mount Moriah. But had never before realized that David had one too. Like you said, Mt. Moriah times are hard – but oh the fruit they bring to our lives! And yes, may the Lord always keep us faithful and following – no matter how hard it gets! Thanks for stopping by!! – Be blessed, Sheila


  5. Sheila, Great post. Thank you for making the connection between David and Abraham on Mt. Moriah. I had not thought of the two experiences together. Great insight. Hope you are well and thriving. Many blessings, my dear sister. Karen


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