Day 9 of Advent

Genesis 22:1-14a

After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.  On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar.  Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together.  And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.  Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.  But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 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.” And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”.

God promised Abraham that his descendants would number as the stars; that’s a lot of children, grandchildren, greatgrandchildren and so on. God even changed Abram’s name to Abraham meaning “father of a multitude.”  Why, then, did God ask Abraham to take his son, Isaac, up on a mountain to kill him? If God wanted Isaac not to live, God could kill the boy Himself in various ways -why the father should do it? On the other side, God promised Abraham that through Isaac God’s promises would be manifested. If the story would finish here then we would be perplexed and fearful to hear God’s voice and His direction. As we understand from the second part of the story,  this was Abraham’s chance to show how much trust he had in God. Abraham took out a knife to kill Isaac when God told him to stop and check behind. There, Abraham found a ram to take Isaac’s place. Centuries later, almost in the same location, Jesus was offered as the only son of God to be sacrificed. God was silent as His son was hanged on the cross by those who didn’t understand anything. Jesus became the representing lamb for us. He took our place and died for our sins. To believe even as Abraham did in the edge of despair that “the Lord shall provide” must have been extremely challenging. God calls us to believe not just when things are easy, but also when times get tough. As we grow in trust, we are going to face trials where we see only the first part.

Let’s pray together:  Our God Jehovah, we know You provide all things for us. Teach us to give these blessings to You when You ask for them. Thank You for Father Abraham and his willingness to be obedient. Thank You even more for the gift of your son, Jesus that we have the chance to live with You always. Amen.

MEMORY VERSE: Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. – John 1:29b

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