Abraham and Provision (26-06-21)
Bible Reading: Genesis 22:1-3, 9-14
Later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. 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." 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.
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. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. "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." Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide.
Redundancy is not pleasant, but is a fact of life for many people, especially during the recent pandemic, as Helen experienced at the end of April. I was made redundant from my career in agriculture during a difficult period in the agricultural industry. At that time we had three young children, Tom was twelve and was concerned where his pocket money would come from, Anna was ten and was concerned where our food would come from. Rachel was eight and was concerned because the others were concerned.
Jesus says that if we seek God's kingdom, he will provide for all that we need. One of the names of God is Jehovah Jireh which originates in our reading and translates as ‘The Lord will provide.’ We took this as a promise from God and helped our children to trust him as we explored the way forwards as a family. God has provided for us in many wonderful and different ways.
This story of Abraham and Isaac would be very disturbing in an atmosphere of safeguarding and child protection, but we need to see it in a culture of child sacrifice to appease local gods. Unlike these, the God we worship values all human life. He was not expecting Abraham to sacrifice his son, he was testing his faith in God's ability to fulfil his promise through Abraham to create a nation. At the crucial point God himself provided a ram for the sacrifice.
This though, is more than just a test of Abraham’s faith, it is a foreshadowing of God the Father himself providing the sacrifice for our sin in the form of his one and only Son, Jesus. God is indeed our provider as he provides for us the only way by which we can truly know the love of God. And if he has done that for us, will he not also provide for everything else that we need? As St Paul writes, ‘God who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32)
Lord God, you provided your Son to die for me so that I could be forgiven and know your love.
Help me to trust you for all that I need for today
and to honour you as my priority in life.
Jehovah Jireh, my provider