Study from Genesis 22 – 23; Passage for Reflection: Genesis 22: 14 … NIV So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided."
My Journal for Today: My devotional shepherd, Dr. Smith, poses a very poignant and provocative question at the end of his entry for today. He writes, ”Who is depending upon me to provide for the distressing needs that God has put me in a position to supply?” And when I really think about that convicting and perplexing question, it puts a very personal spin on the story of how God provided the lamb from the thicket in this story of God demanding of Abraham the sacrifice of his only son of the covenant promise, Isaac.
Okay, we see from the story of Isaac’s near sacrifice how God does provide for even our most dire needs; but then what do we do for all the poverty, starvation, and those nagging homeless people we see out on the streets in the bitter cold weather we’re experiencing even as I write this? And that takes me back to F. LaGard Smith’s question today? And it gets personal when I think of how God has provided so generously for my needs. I have a very livable retirement income; and we are warm in the midst of this cold snap. I’m even overweight from the food I can and do purchase. We tithe and give, I believe generously, above our tithe; and yet I see so much neediness in the world.
And I am back at Dr. Smith’s question as it is generalized to our Christian world. What are we, as the Church, to do as extensions of Jehovah Jireh, … God, The Provider? And perhaps that’s when we can – or must – see ourselves as the lamb in the thicket in the story of God providing the lamb for Abraham just as he was about to bring his knife down on his son, Isaac.
I don’t know about you; but every time I see one of those disheveled men standing on a corner with a small cardboard sign, which reads something like, “Homeless! Please help;” I’m drawn to want to dole out cash from my wallet to meet his needs. Then the rational side of my brain asks, “Is this guy going to take my money to the nearest liquor store and buy booze?” And I wonder if I’m really the lamb in the thicket for these panhandlers. It’s a tough dilemma, isn’t it?
I do believe that we, who have, are the lamb in the thicket for those who need in our world? I do believe that is why God, The Jehovah Provider, requires at least the tithe and then as much as we can give as stewards of His provision (see Matt. 25: 14 – 30, the parable of the talents); but I also believe that we must let God’s Spirit, the One Who enlightens our mind, to help us know how much and where to be God’s lamb in the thicket. And I will probably continue to be challenged by that issue in my life and in this very perplexing world where God has placed me.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to discern where and how much You desire for me to be Your lamb in the thicket of life for others whom I can be the extension of Your provision. Amen