Genesis 20:1– 22: Matthew 7:15-29 Psalm 9:1-12 Proverbs 2: 16-22
I grew up all over the USA: Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, California and finally Denver. My fondest memories of my childhood are my days in Stoughton, Wisconsin. We lived in a simple house with no fences in the backyard. This was great for football and whiffle ball games as our neighbor’s backyards made for a bigger playing field.
We belonged to a small Lutheran church where I was introduced to Jesus. I was confirmed in that church and became a Christian in the beautiful old church, St. John’s Lutheran. I loved it for many reasons, the family feel, the potlucks, the sledding parties and most of all for the kind Sunday School teachers that taught us in the musty basement of that building. The entire basement was a classroom with partitions put up to create separate classrooms for the different grades.
I was in first grade when I first heard the story below:
1Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied.
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.”
3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lordcalled out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
I can still remember how powerful that story was to me then and it still is today. Earlier in today’s reading Abraham tells a lie about his wife the king to save himself. I have found that to be unsettling to me about Abraham’s character. But then I see him willing to sacrifice his own son because God told him to do it. While Abraham was not perfect, he did what God told him to do without question, he trusted God.
I loved that simple dedication and unquestioning faith. I would like to say that I have practiced that kind of faith all of my years, but I haven’t, and as I look back on my life I can honestly say it is when I relied on myself instead of following God that I found more trouble and heartache. I remember taking a job in a church without praying about it! Can you imagine? Well, it didn’t take long to realize that I had made a mistake and caused great heartache for myself and my family.
God desires nothing but good for us with a wonderful plan, Jeremiah 29:11:
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
We must trust and follow Him if we are to realize this plan. When Jesus was sacrificed on the cross all seemed lost, but God knew all along that the plan for the redemption of me and you was through this mighty act of love. So trust God, even if you can’t see the end of the road or know where the sacrifice was coming from, like Abraham, trust, He will provide,
Until next time, peace.
Tyndale. The One Year Bible NIV (OYB: Full Size) (Kindle Locations 1511-1512). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.