August 7, 2014.
“When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
This is a very important story in both Jewish and Christian heritage (and even muslim for that matter, though their story has a different son) where God puts Abraham, the father God’s people, to the test asking him to sacrifice his son that he had been given by promise. If you are not familiar with the story, I encourage you to read it first in Genesis before continuing here.
What I want to focus on today from this story is the last section, more specifically one of the the last statements. “The Lord will provide.” This is a powerful statement to me. Abraham had the faith that I think very few people have today. I wish I could have the same level of faith he did. The whole time that they were walking to the mount to the sacrifice, when Isaac would ask where the sacrifice was and Abraham would simply reply “The Lord will provide,” knowing what he was told to do. Abraham believe this. Hebrews sheds some light on the sacrifice stating that Abraham believed God could do anything, even raise the dead. Indeed we see that the Lord did provide in the end, though not in the way that Abraham expected him to, much to his relief.
Do we believe that the Lord will provide for us? What is our relationship with him? Is it one of simple petition that we will just go and try to fix on our own after we are done praying, or is it one where after prayer we truly believe our prayer will be answered, and thus we look forward to the answer? Does it even matter? Jesus thought it did:
“As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
James echoes the same teaching in his letter when speaking about wisdom:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
So, I ask again: Do you believe the Lord will provide? I think we should do a self examination, stepping back and seeing if we have the relationship with God that is laid out in his word. This is probably one of the hardest parts of Christianity for me, because I like to take things into my own hands and do it myself. But if God is going to provide, we need to let him. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. Jesus tells us not to worry in the middle of the sermon on the mount. Why? Because he’s got this. We just need to trust him, trust that he is going to take care of us and not worry as much about the unknown. This is definitely a hard thing to do, but it is a necessary thing if we are going to experience the joy in Christ.
Meditate for a few minutes on this: The Lord will provide.
He has before and he will again. What we need to do is seek his Kingdom.
The Lord will provide.
Are you seeking the Kingdom?
Suggested Daily Reading: Genesis 21-22, Matthew 6, Mark 11.
May the peace that passes understanding be upon you.