Who’s on first was one of the must iconic skits that Bud Abbot and Lou Costello ever did. As kids we knew it… verbatim. And I was reminded of it – strangely – when reading Galatians.
Gal 4:22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman.
I know… I have a strange way of looking at things, but the Holy Spirit knows that He can always get my attention when He pops something into my head that doesn’t fit the moment. And here in this verse the question popped into my head… Who’s On First?
Paul is dealing with the spiritual vs. the natural and the point he is making is that the natural has to be turned into the spiritual and the only way that can happen is by sacrifice. God didn’t originally design for the process for the natural to be sacrifice, it was to be accomplished by obedience. The problem was that Satan’s bringing sin into the garden changed that. And God has reflected that throughout the Bible, and the story of Ishmael and Issac is a prime example of Who’s On First?
Abraham had to first offer up Ishmael (the natural son) before he could offer up Isaac (the spiritual son). The problem is that we don’t get that lesson and we try to offer up the spiritual before the natural. The only way we can offer up a spiritual sacrifice is by presenting our bodies (the natural) as a living sacrifice. We see that in God using Sarah to force Abraham to reject the one he was attempting to set forth as the promised blessing. It was only after Abraham sacrificed his natural son that he was able to offer up Isaac, his spiritual son. For us, our sanctification represents the same thing… a deliberate commitment of ourselves to God, irrespective of the cost. If we get it backwards and fail to sacrifice the natural to the spiritual, the natural will continue to battle for first place in our life. We aid this negative process by continually fail to discipline ourselves physically, morally or mentally.
Oswald Chamber had a perfect statement that fits perfectly… God is not with our natural life while we pamper it; but when we put it out in the desert and resolutely keep it under, then God will be with it; and He will open up wells and oases, and fulfill all His promises.
Just like He did for Abraham when Abraham finally understood and answered the question… Who’s On First?
And since I know some of you may not have enjoyed “The Question” or know who Abbott and Costello were… here’s a little Christmas present from me to you… it’s the full version so give yourself 8 minutes. Maybe the next time you find yourself struggling with keeping natural and spiritual in their right place you might just find a smile or two.