Thursday, February 23, 2023

          In Genesis 22, God tested Abraham.  And wow, what a test!  The test came in the form of commanding Abraham to sacrifice his son—his one and only son—Isaac.  Keep in mind that Abraham had waited a long, long time for this son.  And Isaac was to be the son through whom God had promised to multiply the descendants of Abraham (as numerous as grains of sand or stars in the sky) and to build a great nation that would ultimately bless the whole world.  And now, it would appear all of those promises were in question.  And even the life and survival of Isaac was in question.  Obviously, a sacrifice would die and no longer live.  A sacrifice as an end—the end!  But that was the test in Genesis 22:2, “Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.’”
            The Bible says that “early the next morning,” Abraham began to do what God had commanded.  As he made his way to the sacrifice, Abraham did not waver.  But in Genesis 22:8, we find this amazing statement of faith from this aged father, “Abraham answered, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ And the two of them went on together.”  Six powerful words...God Himself will provide the lamb.  Abraham seemed to have this sense or conviction that God would not allow the death or sacrifice of Isaac to go forward.  This test was to see how much Abraham loved God and whether Abraham loved God for who God is rather than simply loving God because of what God could give or do.  That might seem a little unclear or convoluted but it connects with us today.
            Often, we fall prey to loving God or seeking God for what we can gain or receive in return.  We can desire the gifts more than the giver; the blessings more than the One who blesses.  So, God’s test was rather simple.  Do you love me more for who I am than what I can give you or do for you?  Job courageously promised his love and loyalty to God even if God slayed him (Job 13:15).  We are abundantly blessed people and it can be easy not to see past the mass of blessings we find in our lives.  May we love the Giver more than the gifts and the Provider more than the provisions.
            And God did provide a lamb for sacrifice.  This provision of the lamb foreshadows the ultimate Lamb that God provided—His Son Jesus.  Just as God spared Isaac’s life by providing a lamb, He has spared our lives as well.  He sent His Son to be the innocent and sacrificial Lamb that we could not be and did not deserve.  Through the blood of the Lamb, we are made clean and our sins are washed away fully and completely.  In the most trying of circumstances and on the most gut-wrenching occasion, Abraham knew that God would provide and that God would make a way.  That is faith!  Today, we hold on to the Lord even when circumstances might suggest otherwise or situations might tempt us to turn from the Lord.  Even when we may not see a way forward, like Abraham, we can declare that God will provide a way.  God will make a way even when a way may not humanly exist that we can see with human eyes. 
            Trust God.  Those two words may seem trite or even overly simple but they affirm incredible faith.  That was Abraham’s position—trust God because He will provide the lamb.  And God still provides.  Often His provisions surprise us and amaze us.  You will never falter if you trust God and His Word.  Trust Him with your life, your trials, your uncertainties and your situations.  Trust Him with your life and your next breath.  And one day, you will find yourself breathing celestial air as you see Him face to face.  Have a good Thursday.  We hope to see you Sunday for Bible study and worship.  And invite others to come with you.  Remember our worship can be found at any time at    

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