Today’s Reading: Genesis 20-22
My heart goes out to Hagar as I read today’s passage. She foolishly made fun of Sarah’s son, Isaac, and in anger Sarah demanded Hagar and her son, Ishmael, be sent away. Abraham loved Ishmael but obeyed when God told him to do as Sarah had asked. Hagar wandered aimlessly in the wilderness, soon running out of the food and water Abraham had given them. She laid her son under the shade of a bush and then walked away, unable to watch him die.
“Hagar, what’s wrong? Do not be afraid! God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Go to him and comfort him for I will make a great nation from his descendants.” Then God opened Hagar’s eyes, and she saw a well full of water. She quickly filled her container and gave the boy a drink. And God was with the boy as he grew up in the wilderness. – Genesis 21:17b-20a
WE DO NOT NEED TO PROTECT WHAT GOD GAVE US FROM THE GOD WHO GAVE IT TO US.
This is a statement I heard my husband make in one of his sermons several years ago. This may seem like an obvious statement but definitely one I need to remind myself of often, especially concerning my girls. The fear of everything that could go wrong threatens to paralyze me. I worry they will get in a car accident, I worry they will get sick, I worry they will get their hearts broken and I worry about the day they will move out of our house. I know there is joy in watching God’s plan for their lives roll out but it takes courage to daily place them in God’s hands.
No matter how excited we are about what God has for our children, no matter how long we have planned for each next step, no matter how much we have prepared for this moment – there is nothing easy about letting go of our children and trusting God with what comes next. As parents we must daily place these precious gifts from God back into the hands of the God who provides.
Abraham would understand just how hard a task this is. But Abraham would also understand how it is the same God who blesses us with children in the first place who asks us to trust Him with what comes next – to do anything God would ask us to do with the blessings He has provided for us.
Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called.
“Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.”
“Take your son, your only son – yes, Isaac, whom you love so much – and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.”
The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. “Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told his servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.” – Genesis 22:1-5
God promised Abraham that he would have countless descendants. Isaac was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, yet God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. What?!! How is that possible? How can that be part of God’s plan? That is how I would have reacted, but it is not how Abraham displayed his faith. Abraham trusted God to provide and faithfully, without hesitation, walked up the mountain with his greatest possession – his son.
So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together, Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?”
“God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together.
When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am.”
“Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.”
Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” – Genesis 22:6-14
The Lord provided. These words hold such power over our current situations. To know with confidence that God keeps His promises, and to know that He provides for the fulfillment of those promises – this is the knowledge that keeps us going when it seems like life is moving too fast.
I DO NOT NEED TO PROTECT WHAT GOD GAVE ME FROM THE GOD WHO GAVE IT TO ME.
I can trust God with my marriage, my family, my job, my money, my health, my friends, my future. God sees our situation and hears our cries. Do not be afraid! God will provide.
It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead. – Hebrews 11:17-19
“Here I am, Lord.” Show me this morning what I am clinging to that has never been mine to begin with. Remind me of your provisions and give me the strength to trust you with what comes next. I thank you for the abundant blessings you so generously extend to me every day. I place everything on the altar and I choose to listen to your voice. Yahweh-Yireh – the Lord will provide.