“He calls us into the unknown, not because He’s teasing us, but because He already knows.”
~ Julie Maw
22 Some 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 Lord called 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.”
Father, forgive me for the absence of my sacrifice. Countless times, I have brought the fire and the wood, but I have brought no lamb for the burnt offering. I have lifted my hands and uttered with my lips, but my heart was not ready to give you everything. The altar I prepared was empty, meaningless, void. I was only willing to prepare the altar, but never willing to offer up the things I hold dear.
Help me to remember that Your name is above everything else. To love You, I must give You everything else that I love. Nothing must be before you, and everything that is must be placed at the altar before You. I ask for courage, faith and obedience birthed from love, to place my sacrifice on the altar and pierce it through the heart. I want to come broken, naked and vulnerable before You, with a spirit that is willing to be guided by You and a heart willing to be moulded by you. Amen.
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram[a] caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
It always strikes me that these few verses are found in the book of Lamentations, and it’s even more surprising to know that it is embedded in a chapter full of sorrow and despair.
Lamentations chapter 3 begins with the very words ‘I am a man who has seen affliction’. His life is full of disappointment and bitterness, to the point that his chains are too heavy. He is tied down, trapped, helpless in his situation.
Yet, despite this, the author quickly turns from his despair and remembers the Lord. He has hope and continues to remember the Lord and what he has done for him. And that is how I must look to the Lord.
“I called on your name, O Lord,
from the depths of the pit;
you heard my plea, ‘Do not close
your ear to my cry for help!’
You came near when I called on you;
You said, ‘Do not fear!’