Scripture: Genesis 22:11-12 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”
Observation: This is the story where Abraham took his only, long awaited son to be sacrificed at the request of God. This had to seem like an odd request to Abraham. He had sacrificed many things, but he knew this God was different from other gods. Other gods required human sacrifice, but not this God. God was love. He wouldn’t require such a harsh killing (or would he). I think of poor Isaac. He questioned what was going to be sacrificed, but can you imagine the fear and the feeling of betrayal when his dad bound him and put him on the altar? This day and age, that boy would be in counseling the rest of his life! Yet, there is a calm over the whole story. Abraham and Isaac go on as though it were any other day. I can’t help but believe that both of them knew that God had another plan. The other thing that really sunk in to me was John 3:16. God loved each and every one of us, so much that he would sacrifice his one and only son, but yet, he didn’t require it of his servant Abraham.
Application: I think this is a lesson not only of testing, but of trust. God tested Abraham to see if he would be faithful. Sometimes we come into times of testing. I know as a pastor that has happened more than once. Would I stay the course, and continue to follow my calling, or would I throw in the towel and say this is just too difficult. Whatever God has called you to do, he will give you the resources to complete the task. Don’t give up, but trust in His faithfulness.
Prayer: Lord, you have a task for each of us. You have a purpose for our lives. I pray that you will make that purpose clear to each and every one of us, and then I pray you will guide us and show us how to fulfill your requests. Lord, don’t let us get ahead of you, but take us day-by-day, and when the going gets rough, carry us just like the footsteps in the sand. Dear Father, we again tonight pray about the unrest in the Middle East. We pray for peace in the region, and especially in Israel.
Tomorrow’s readings: Genesis 23-24; Luke 9