January 26, 2023
We can trust God when we don't know how things will turn out.
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."
1 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy 1 22:5 Or young man; also verse 12 will go over there and worship and come again to you.” 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
9 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. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 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.” 13 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. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; 2 22:14 Or will see as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” 3 22:14 Or he will be seen
15 And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his 4 22:17 Or their enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba. And Abraham lived at Beersheba.
20 Now after these things it was told to Abraham, “Behold, Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor: 21 Uz his firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, 22 Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.” 23 (Bethuel fathered Rebekah.) These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham's brother. 24 Moreover, his concubine, whose name was Reumah, bore Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.
When I was younger, I prayed many times for the God I had heard about to save me from the suffering I was experiencing. I got frustrated after years of praying the same prayer and never understood why He wouldn't save me in the way I wanted. I wanted Him to change my circumstances, but I didn't understand the full picture.
When I read Genesis 22, I can imagine Abraham praying a similar prayer for his son—hoping God would provide a way out, coming up with ideas as he looked up toward the mountain, and pleading with God to do something. But God held His sovereign hand steady until Abraham was postured in total surrender to God's will. Just as Abraham holds the knife up, about to sacrifice his "only son," God provides another way. When Abraham "lifted up his eyes" (Genesis 22:13), he saw a ram—a providential substitute that would spare Isaac's life.
Similarly, we can all look back on times when our faith was tested. During the hardest moments of life when we finally lift up our eyes, God will be there to provide the way through. He has provided His only Son as our providential substitute, so that we might lift up our eyes toward the One who is high and lifted up and be saved.
My salvation didn't come in the way or timing I'd hoped for. But God, in His infinite wisdom, love, and kindness, wanted to do more than save me from my circumstances; He wanted to change my heart through faith in His Son. Only after pausing to look up and assuming a posture of humility was I finally able to see God's sovereign hand move in my life. And eventually, His plan started to become more beautiful to me than the one I had in mind when I was young.
God's provision might not be what we expect, but it is always better than we could imagine.
This month's memory verse
We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
1. In what ways has God unexpectedly provided for you in the past week? Could you find time today to pause and lift up your eyes to see God's providential hand working in your life?
2. As Abraham named the mountain "Jehovah Jireh," could you memorialize the ways God has provided for you and your family by documenting it on a small stone or piece of paper? Place it somewhere you, or your whole family, can see every day this reminder of the ways God has unexpectedly provided.
3. Abraham learned the lessons of trust, sacrifice, and obedience. Are you willing to learn the lessons God might have for you?
4. Do you fully trust that God works all things for our good and His glory? At the beginning of this passage, Abraham didn't know it would be just a test. He was fully trusting that God did have a good plan. How about you?
5. If God asked you to sacrifice something you hold dear, would you be willing to give it up to obey Him? Considering the example of Abraham, what is one step toward obedience you can take today?