Second Tuesday in Advent: Provision

We read tonight the story of how God called Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac (Genesis 22). The son that he and Sarah waited decades to have. The son through whom God's promise of descendants too numerous to count would come. The son whom Abraham and Sarah loved deeply. It's really an awful story to read with your kids--though so far neither has asked if they will need to be sacrificed some day).

It's a disturbing story. Even if this is just a test of Abraham's faith (as Genesis 22:1 says), how can a loving God who considers life to be sacred ask a man to offer his son as a burnt sacrifice (something God later forbids when giving the law to Moses as a detestable practice)? What kind of God is this? To be honest, I still wrestle with that every time I read this passage.

But lest we get too hung up on how this test was carried out, let us look at the outcome. Abraham loads Isaac up with the wood (as I picture him carrying the wood for the sacrifice up the mountain, I can't help thinking about Christ having to carry His own cross). At the top of the mountain, Isaac asks Abraham, "Where is the lamb?" Abraham prophetically responds, "The Lord will provide." And just as Abraham lifts the knife as his son lies bound upon the altar, an angel of the Lord stops Him. Because of his obedience to God in faith, God says Abraham will be the father of multitudes through Isaac. And there, caught in the thicket, is a ram for Abraham to sacrifice. Jehovah Jireh: Provider God.

The story so poignantly foreshadows God's sacrifice of His son for us. God provides. Yes, God takes care of our physical needs...but He also make a way for us to have a restored relationship with Him. And that starts now, as we wait for His Son. There amongst the cattle and sheep, lying in the feed trough is the One who came to make a way for us.

No comments: