February 1, 2016

Today you should read: Genesis 22:1-19

What is the toughest test you’ve ever had to take? ACT? MCAT? Spelling Bee? We can all recall that scary moment of walking into an exam unprepared.

But what about life’s tests?

Ram-Thicket.jpg

While our school days may have been a challenge, most of us have faced trials that have tested our mettle to the limits. If there is a Bible character who can identify, it’s Abraham. The Lord had great things in store for him, but Abraham had to go through the ultimate test. No, this wasn’t a trig exam. It wasn’t a doctoral thesis. It was a test of love, loyalty, and sacrifice. Abraham would have to be willing to give up everything in order to be fully prepared for his calling.

How’d he do? Well, in other moments in his life, we’d probably say that he flip-flopped like John Kerry. But here, in his ultimate test, it was different. His allegiance to God was shown in a way that few in scripture (or history) could match. He was willing to put his own son — his beloved son — on the altar of sacrifice. And yet he had so much faith! In the hardest moment, he stated to his boy that God would come through… and did He ever!

This story is such an amazing picture of Christ that some would argue that it is quasi-fantastical. See, Abraham believed God would provide a lamb, but only a ram was found in the thicket. God provided the (temporary) ram then, but he provided the (eternal) Lamb — His Son — a few thousand years later. Thicket? Crown of thorns. Just a short walk from where this sacrifice took place. Abraham — Father of Nations. Jesus Christ — Desire of Nations. We couldn’t make this stuff up if we tried. This is God’s incredible plan of redemption. There is not a single thing more beautiful.

Do you see the gospel here? Is your heart overwhelmed by God’s unhindered plan? And are you willing to sacrifice everything for the God who willingly sacrificed His only Son for you?

By: Todd Thomas

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Author: cpclexington

Lexington & Richmond KY

13 thoughts on “February 1, 2016”

  1. Whenever I read or hear this story about Abraham’s ultimate test if faith, I really hope that I wouldn’t have to go through one like this myself! It makes me wonder if Abraham ever felt like it was not real that he was asked to kill his own child. I mean killing a person is a sin, but I guess back then there were no 10 Commandments yet.

    1. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?! Somewhere deep inside he must have known that God was going to come through. After all, he had promised to make a nation out of Isaac. But all the way up that hill he must have been sweating bullets, asking god if there was another way.

  2. 5 “Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.”

    “WE will come right back”. Who is the “WE” Abraham was talking about? Only Isaac and Abraham were traveling on and Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac. If indeed this happened there would be no “WE” to return to the servants. I think this verse tells us that Abraham was completely confident that God would provide the appropriate sacrifice and that Isaac and he would return to the servants. Imagine what must have been running through Abraham’s mind when He lifted the knife to kill his son? Did he think God would resurrect his son? We don’t know for sure but Abraham was completely confident that God would provide.

    Do I live with faith like that of Abraham? For those of us living 2000 years on “this side of the cross”, we have God’s written word and can read over and over the many ways that God provides for His people. My prayer is that “we”, who bear the name of Christ, would live with the faith of Abraham. Thanks for the commentary today, Todd!

  3. “Where God sees and provides, he should be seen and praised.” – Matthew Henry

    Thank you for making clear the difference between the lamb and the ram. What a beautiful comparison, and one that I struggle with understanding because — hello! It’s Leviticus.

    I miss my family this morning as I am out of town on business. About this time the young boys are scattering and gathering about the house getting ready for school. Mom and I are usually doing our quiet time, (and yet not so quiet).

    So encouraged by Abraham who passes the test! What character and integrity we should all seek to emulate today. Off and running…I’m going to go serve my King!

  4. God used this story during one of the toughest times of my life to remind me of his faithfulness. He was asking me to give something up and I spent the duration of a 5-hour flight out of San Francisco in the most intense wrestling match I’ve ever had with God. (Talk about being cornered!). But God more than proved himself, and I reflect on those days every time I read this story.

  5. We often wonder how Abraham must have felt in this moment, but as I read today I began to wonder how Isaac must have felt. What did he say to his father as he was being tied on the altar? Abraham told Isaac that God would provide a lamb, yet here he was being placed over the wood himself. Even more, what did it look like as Abraham raised the knife over Isaac’s body? Can you imagine what Isaac must have felt in that moment? Was there communication between him and his father during this process? The chapter doesn’t tell us, but I can only imagine the difficulty of the situation for both parties.

  6. Raven you brought up something, that I always wonder about. I was told years ago after reading this story that Isaac was not a young boy. Either way young or older Isaac had to have a wonderful, trusting relationship with his father. What boy do we know today, would willingly let there father without a fight be tied up and put on top of fire wood. Saying that, this story is amazing of love and faith, and trusting whole heartily in our heavenly father, and the same for Isaac in his earthly father. Oh so much to reflect on.

  7. I love the ties to Christ littered throughout this account. “Father of Nations – Desire of Nations.” Beautifully said, Todd. Abe’s faith is amazing, trusting God, truly banking on the belief that God is actually who he says he is and will provide. I am so thankful God proved that he’s faithful and committed to Abraham’s best good. Even though my faith falters often, I’m so glad God GIVES me the faith to run with him, forsaking all other pursuits and trusting his ways.

  8. I appreciate and recognize all the references to Christ that this amazing story brings up. However, I was nearly always nagged by the fact that God was asking Abraham to essentially commit child sacrifice (or human sacrifice, depending on Isaac’s age), something for which other people groups were expressly condemned (and subsequently punished by God) for doing. Last month’s article in World magazine offered some answers to my questions. https://www.worldmag.com/mobile/article.php?id=36267
    I would like to hear others’ views too.

  9. Raven, you voiced my thoughts exactly. I’ve heard that Isaac was around 13 at the time of his near sacrifice. I too wonder what went through his head. Was he scared? Did he think his father would really kill him as the knife was raised? What about when the angel told Abraham to stop? We may never know until heaven- when we can ask- but what we do know is that this event was a powerful example of God’s provision for Isaac. God providing a ram for his place, right in front of his eyes. Lots to ponder!

    Also, this test revealed Abraham’s faith as well as his character. He was obedient to the core, although it must have been unimaginably diificult. What do our life tests reveal about us?

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