January 20, 2021
Genesis 22:12-14
“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. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

New International Version (NIV)
                My friend Carl Stevens loved me enough to correct me.  One day when I referred to “my sons” in a sermon, he stopped me and said, “How did you get them?”  With a twinkle in his eye he said, “Do you suppose Melanie had anything to do with that?”  I admitted she did and he said, “Maybe you should call them, ‘Our sons.’”

                I wonder how Sarah felt about Abraham climbing Mount Moriah to sacrifice their son, their only son.  A recent movie recounts the story and portrays Sarah’s deep anger at Abraham.  We don’t know but we may surmise that she did not think well of harming Isaac and taking away her “laughter.”  What does this story really mean?  Some say that Abraham misunderstood God on this occasion.  Still the scripture tells the story as an event that actually happened.  This is not the first time that my finite mind cannot completely comprehend the thinking of God’s infinite mind.

                We may be certain that God already knew what he was going to do.  He had a ram on top of the hill that was always going to be the sacrifice.  Here is the question as I see it:  did Abraham love Isaac more than he loved God?  Anything or anyone we love more than God is an idol.  Every idol is an obstacle to our loving God with heart, soul, mind and strength.  Before Abraham climbed the mountain he said, “We will worship and we will come back to you” (22:5).  Did Abraham believe in resurrection?  Isaac himself wondered and observed, “We have wood and fire, but we don’t have anything to sacrifice.”  Abraham’s answer has a strong proverbial ring which became a maxim in Israel, “On the mountain it will be provided.” 

                Have you noticed that God does not always explain his plan to us?  Sometimes we climb mountains for God with no apparent explanation of God’s intention.  But unless we climb the mountain, we never see the ram.  We can stand at the bottom of the mountain and argue with God all day about why his idea is a bad idea.  Only when we obey God in the difficult requests do we ever discover the beauty of his magnificent provision for our lives.   God did not want to harm Isaac or steal Sarah’s laughter.  This story provides an early picture of God’s perfect plan.  On a hill in the same mountain range two thousand years later, God’s Son, his only Son climbed carrying a cross beam on which he would die.  There was no ram.  But let all who wonder where to find salvation know, “On the mountain, it was provided.”  And let all who trust in Jesus say, “Through his perfect sacrifice for us, God’s only Son has become our Savior.”
Pray with me:         
Father, help us not to resist the difficult requests you make of us.  Let us love you first and more than we love anything or anyone else.  Thank you for giving up your only Son to die on a hill called Golgotha for us.  May we never forget your sacrifice.  Thank you for always coming through, even if it is at the top of a difficult climb.  Make us grateful for your grace we pray.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.   
Scripture memorization for this week:    
Romans 4:20-22
Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.  This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Hebrews 11:17-19
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”  Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
New International Version (NIV)
Our 2021 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations Bible reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy here:
https://www.tallowood.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Read-Through-Bible-Download.pdf
We would love for you to join us as we read through the Bible in one year, while still having the flexibility of reading 5 days per week.  In addition, I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  We will also memorize 2 scriptures each week.  As we journal together this year,  Robby Gallaty’s H.E.A.R. plan is a good resource: Highlight a verse that stands out to you, Explain what it means, Apply that truth to your life and Respond to what you’ve read with an action or prayer.
Joyfully, 
Duane 

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