The promise and the sacrifice

In Genesis 22 we read about Abraham being commanded by God to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac. We cannot be sure of Isaac's age, but verse 6 states that Abraham laid the much wood needed to use as fire on the alter, onto Isaac's shoulders. A young child would not have been able to carry such a heavy load. According to ancient historian Josephus, Isaac was about 25 years old.

Can you imagine a few things in your mind as you think about Abraham and Isaac climbing the mountain? Imagine Abraham thinking back with heartache at his sheer joy when Isaac, the son of promise was born. He remembered God's promise that Isaac would become Abraham's offspring, the one God would use to multiply Abraham's descendants, which also includes each one of us spiritually. Isaac was the one from whom the nation of Israel would begin. How Abraham's heart must have been torn in shreds, to think that this biggest promise ever given to him by his heavenly Father, would soon be no more.

DO you remember any promises God gave to you and now they seem to be no more? But Abraham's faith was counted to him as righteousness. {Gen. 15:6, Romans 4:22 + Rom. 4:3} When Abraham, Isaac and two servants reached the bottom of the mountain; Abraham told the servants to wait there, that he and Isaac were going to climb the mountain to "worship." Abraham's sacrifice was a form of worship. Can we still worship and praise God even if we have to sacrifice and give up something we love deeply?

Isaac carried the wood and Abraham carried the fire-pot in which the fire was burning, all ready to kindle the wood on the altar. But Abraham's faith did not falter! When Isaac asked him where the sacrificial lamb was; Abraham told him; 
"The Lord will provide." Do we know and trust Jehovah Jireh which means "The Lord will provide?"

Even when circumstances are tough, difficult, impossible, when there is no money in the bank, when we face cancer or other illnesses, when we suffer pain or hardships, or lose loved ones, can we say like Abraham did; "The Lord will provide." Even if your heart is breaking like Abraham's did, when you are at the end of your rope, can you still say; "The Lord will provide." The Hebrew word for "provide" also means to see. When God saw Hagar in the desert when she thought her son would die, she could worship God as the God who sees. Father God sees each one of us. He sees our pain, He feels for us in our troubles, He knows our individual names.

Often our hardest tests involve our dearest affections. Obedience and keeping the faith can be the hardest tests we face in life. When God gives us a promise, we need to hold onto it and not lose faith when He tests us. Maybe He promises that He will look after you until we are old and grey {Isaiah 46:4} but then you get very ill and the diagnosis is not good. Can you still trust and believe that the Lord can and WILL look after you and provide for you? Maybe He tells you that He knows the plans for you, to bring about a hope and a good future {Jeremiah 29:11} but you cannot believe Him because of the most challenging circumstances you find yourself in.

What are you facing right now? The scenario of Abraham having to sacrifice his beloved son in heartache and tears, is a picture of God sacrificing Jesus for you and for me. Psychiatrists have written that Isaac should have had a mental breakdown and been scarred for life when he was tied onto the altar and his father took out his knife to slit his throat like one would a lamb. But Isaac trusted his father, and even in the face of this huge impossibility, Isaac must also have believed that God would provide a way out.

PRAYER: Precious Father God, thank You that You had the courage to sacrifice your one and Only Son, Jesus, for us, so that we can have the assurance that You will always provide for us. You provide through your love, through Your sweet presence, through your Word. You are enough! Please give us grateful hearts which appreciate You and believe that You always give the very best even if You sometimes have to take away from us that which we really do not need. Help us to look up and beyond our difficult circumstances and realize and believe that You always have our best interests at heart. Help us to have faith to know that often sacrifices lead us to higher ground and stronger faith in You. Amen 

- Myrt Grimm-Turunen