God’s Unchanging Word
Life can feel overwhelming. Every day brings new challenges even as old ones continue without resolution. It’s easy to allow our faith to trip on the stumbling block of our own lack of understanding of our circumstances—to take the baton of faith, as it were, and toss it to the ground, saying, “I’m finished. I can’t run any further.” In those moments, God’s word encourages us to remember that Christian faith is an enduring faith that remains resolute. It is possible to remain obedient to God’s commands even when everything around us seems to contradict what He has promised.
Until the cross, perhaps nowhere in Scripture do we find a more overwhelming moment than in the life of Abraham. It was a moment that occurred entirely at the instigation of God: “[God] 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’ … 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” (Genesis 22:2, 9-10). God’s command to Abraham was clear—and yet it seemed to contradict God’s promise that through Abraham’s offspring “all the nations of the earth” would “be blessed” and that “through Isaac shall your offspring be named” (Genesis 22:18; 21:12). The fulfillment of God’s promises depended upon Isaac’s survival. If Isaac was to die, how could the promise be fulfilled?
Yet Abraham still obeyed. Even though his circumstances could have led him to doubt and question God’s word, by faith Abraham said, God has a plan in this. His promise is that through Isaac all the nations of the earth will be blessed. Therefore, He must be going to resurrect him—to raise him up from the dead (Hebrews 11:19). This is why earlier, as Abraham had left to perform the commanded sacrifice, he had said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you” (Genesis 22:5, emphasis added). What an expression of faith! Do not miss this: when the command was given to Abraham, he obeyed it. Although it seemed to directly contradict the promises God had made, Abraham did his business, and he determined to let God do His.
We can do so too. Do not allow your circumstances, however daunting they may be, to lessen your obedience or cause you to call God’s promises into question. Centuries after Abraham and Isaac climbed up, and down, this mountain, God’s own Son rose from the grave on the side of that same mountain, as the ultimate testimony to the truth that God keeps His promises. So you can face whatever today brings confidently, hopefully, and prayerfully, saying, “I can keep going. I’m not finished. God will do His part, and so I can do mine.”
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
The Sacrifice of Isaac
1After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2He 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.” 3So 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. 4On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy1 will go over there and worship and come again to you.” 6And 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. 7And 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?” 8Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
9When 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. 10Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12He 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.” 13And 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. 14So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”;2 as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”3
15And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his4 enemies, 18and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” 19So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba. And Abraham lived at Beersheba.
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