January 8

Read Genesis 22 -- 24

In Today's Reading:

Abraham's willingness to offer Isaac; God's covenant renewed; Sarah's death; Rebekah's marriage to Isaac

After 25 years of waiting for the promised son, God said to Abraham: Sarah will bear you a son . . . you will name him Isaac. I will confirm My covenant with him (Genesis 17:19). After these things God . . . said to . . . Abraham! . . . Take . . . your only son Isaac, whom you love, go to the land of Moriah, and there offer him as a burnt offering (22:1-2).

Isaac was a young man when this final test came to Abraham's faith. A burnt offering sacrifice was always to be a male animal, was the best the offerer had, and was to be wholly consumed by fire. It was an expression of dedication to God. Abraham knew that Isaac must live since God had said: I will confirm My covenant with him (17:19); yet, now the command of God was to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Obediently, Abraham got up . . . and took . . his son Isaac. He split wood for a burnt offering and set out to go to the place God had told him about (22:3). With unquestioned faith in God, Abraham said to his young men, Stay here . . . The boy and I will go over there to worship; then we'll come back to you (22:5).

On Mount Moriah, Abraham built an altar. When Isaac inquired how they could offer a sacrifice without a sacrificial animal, Abraham responded: God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son (22:8). Abraham's many years of trusting in the Lord gave him faith in God. This is an amazing testimony of how Abraham's faith had grown over the years until he knew that God never makes a mistake and he believed God to be able even to raise someone from the dead (Hebrews 11:19).

Abraham . . . took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the LORD . . . said, Abraham . . . Do not lay a hand on the boy or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God . . . Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering instead of his son (Genesis 22:10-13).

Through trials and suffering, the Lord develops our faith. He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape (I Corinthians 10:13).

Christ Revealed:

Through Isaac's willingness to be offered (Genesis 22:7-10; compare John 10:11-18). Jesus willingly offered His life.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Charles Bass (NH), Sen. Slade Gorton (WA), Rep. Richard Pombo (CA), and Gov. Bob Taft (OH) · Country: Lebanon (4 million) in the Middle East · Major languages: Arabic and French · Limited religious freedom · 67% Muslim; 19% Roman Catholic; 10% Eastern Orthodox; 1% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Declare the wondrous works of God with thanksgiving (Psalms 26:6-7).

Optional Reading: Matthew 8

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:3