Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Peace I leave with you: My own peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
John 14: 27
“Lord, I used to think I could prove my trust in You by refusing to fear.
Now I see that fear does not dissolve with my timid command.
Far better to cling to You while You rebuke the fear.
Clinging is another word for trusting.”
Ruth Harms Calkin
Today’s Study Text:
“And Abraham said to his servants, ‘Settle down and stay here with the donkey, and I and the young man will go yonder and worship and come again to you.’ Then Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering, and laid it on the shoulders of Isaac his son, and he took the firepot in his own hand, and a knife, and the two of them went on together and Isaac said to Abraham, ‘My father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.” Isaac said, ‘See, here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt sacrifice?’ Abraham said, ‘My son, God Himself will provide a lamb for the burnt offering.’ So the two went on together.”
“The Farce We Call Fear” Part 9
“The Move, The Monarch, The Mammon, The Mistress, and The Mountain – Part D
“God can never be out maneuvered, taken by surprise, or caught at a disadvantage. He is a God who knows no crisis…Before an emergency arises, God in His providence has made adequately and perfectly timed provision to meet it.”
J. Oswald Sanders
Have I witnessed God’s providence in my life?
How have I seen Him respond to a crisis for which I was totally unprepared?
“We do not see the answer, we trust the Answerer.”
P. T. Forsyth
“There is comfort in the fact that God can never be taken by surprise.”
Through the years, a tremendous friendship had developed between God and Abraham. They covered a lot of territory together. They had shared many wonderful conversations. And now, nearer the end of Abraham’s life, God called out his name again, “Abraham.” Like the dear friend he was, Abraham responded, “Here I am.” (Genesis 22: 1). It is a reply totally unlike the first man created on earth – Adam after breaking the loving link he had with his Creator, Adam slunk-off, hiding in fear for he knew that something was seriously wrong. Not so with Abraham. His communication line was as clear as could be. There was no static breaking up his heavenly connection.
In an interesting little paperback I found on my bookshelf several months ago, called Faith of Our Fathers by Ronald Youngblood, this interesting insight into how Abraham and God may have spoken, is shared:
“God said to Abraham (Genesis 22: 2), ‘Take now your son.’
‘But which one, Lord?’ Abraham may have thought. ‘After all, I have two sons, Ishmael and Isaac.’
‘Your only son.’
‘That’s still ambiguous, Lord. I need more specific directions than that!’
‘Who you love.’
'But Lord, I love both my sons.’
‘Thank you, Lord! Now I know exactly who You mean. And what shall I do after I go and get Isaac? Is it something that will further Your will and purpose for his life?’
‘Go to the land of Moriah.’
‘A little vacation for us! Fine! And then what?’
‘Offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.’
Author Youngblood goes on to reveal some profoundly thoughtful insights regarding God’s request: “In telling Abraham to go and get one of his sons, our loving God broke the news to him gently, withholding Isaac’s name till the very end. At the same time, God used terms that were calculated to make Abraham fully aware of the high price He was asking him to pay.” Then Youngblood offers this thoughtful observation, “God never asks us to do something He Himself is unwilling to do.”
It is this particular sentence which really caught my attention for as I read and reread today’s study text, I could not help but be struck by the similarities portrayed between two fathers and two sons. Both fathers consented to give up their “only” sons. Both fathers had to suffer a long, three-day wait for the deliverance of their beloved sons. And as for the sons, both agreed to take a long walk up a steep hill where both had laid upon their back the wood which was the instrument to be used in a trial of fiery proportions. Two sons, two fathers with hearts that were shattered as they gave up what they loved more than life itself. Author Don Anderson notes, “It has been said that this place in the Bible, where we see Abraham preparing to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, is the only place where we can observe God’s side of Calvary…We often forget what an ordeal it must have been for God (our) Father to give up His only begotten Son. We overlook the agony of the Parent when we view the torment of His child.” Yet this is what we witness in the life of Abraham for he walked the path with his son, never hesitating or questioning the love of his Father in heaven.
As the mountain summit came clearer into view, Isaac turned to his father, for by now he had sized up the situation and recognized that while his father carried the fire and knife, and he was carrying the wood on his back, there was no lamb.
It is Abraham’s response which speaks to us today: Our God will provide. Our God “Jehovah – Jireh” What a phenomenal testimony. What a wonderful expression of the relationship that Abraham had with his heavenly Father. He knew he could trust God completely, even when he could not understand Him fully.
The poet, Frank Houghton put into words the way I perceive that Abraham came to be able to trust in his heavenly Father. My prayer is that like Abraham, we too will lose all fear as we journey through life with our Father by our side.
Road of My Desire
“O thou who dost direct my feet
To right or left where pathways part,
With thou not, faithful Paraclete
Direct the journeying of my heart?
Into the love of God, I pray,
Deeper and deeper let me press,
Exploring all along the way
Its secret strength and tenderness.
Into the steadfastness of one
Who patiently endured the cross.
Of Him who, though He were a Son,
Came to His crown through bitter loss.
This is the road of my desire –
Learning to love as God loves me.
Ready to pass through flood or fire
With Christ’s unwearying constancy.”
“God remains faithful, even when we don’t deserve it and fear the worst.”
In Heavenly Love Abiding
“In heavenly love abiding,
No change my heart shall fear;
And safe is such confiding,
For nothing changes here,
The storm may roar without me,
My heart may low be laid,
But God is round about me,
And can I be dismayed.
Wherever He may guide me,
No want shall turn me back;
My Shepherd is beside me,
And nothing can I lack;
His wisdom ever waketh,
His sight is never dim;
He knows the way He taketh,
And I will walk with Him.
Green pastures are before me,
Which yet I have not seen;
Bright skies will soon be o’er me,
Where the dark clouds have been.
My hope I cannot measure,
My path to life is free,
My Saviour has my treasure,
And He will walk with me.”
Anna L. Waring
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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