Thursday, January 19, 2012

January 19, 2012 … Responding to THE Test

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Genesis, Chapters 22-24 … To study these chapters, go to this link -

Genesis 22: 1-3: … [Abraham: Pure Faith] ... 1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” … “Here I am,” he replied. 2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love — Isaac — and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” 3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.

My Journal for Today: Today I was led by my chronological reading plan to read/study/meditate through Chapters 22-24 of Genesis; and from that reading the incredible account of God testing Abraham simply has to be my chosen focus passage for my devotional journal this morning.

I charge anyone who’s reading along with me today to go back and please re-read [I’m sure you’ve read it before] Chapter 22 of Genesis, focusing on this outlandishly and seemingly viscous test through which God takes Abraham and his “son of promise,” Isaac. And every time I’m led to read or study or teach on this passage, I just can’t get my mind completely around WHY God would put this chosen “father of the faith,” … God’s man Abraham, … through such a horrible crucible to test his faith. Sure I can see that putting any believer though the fires of life purifies his faith. But this test???

The whole thing is just WAY OVER THE TOP with regard to what was asked of poor old Abe. Even the distance from where Abraham was abiding, in the Negev desert, in Beersheba, traveling way up to the mountain country in Moriah (probably to Mount Moriah itself) was a very arduous task. That’s about a 60 mile journey – a three-day journey minimum in those days. And can you just imagine what was going through the mind of God’s faithful servant, Abraham, and his son as they trekked to the mountain.

But the message is quite simple from this passage, isn’t it? God called Abraham; and Abraham went? And even though God was asking Abraham and the boy to the most extreme of tests, the father of this one son – Abe’s only son, … the son whom God had promised would become the father of many nations and all of God’s chosen peoples, was to be placed on an altar to God and burned as a sacrifice.

And in this test of faith – what I’m calling “THE test,” we see what had become Abraham’s maturity of trust in his God. Abraham and Sarai, who BTW dies and is buried in the chapters of our reading today, had seen the wondrous, incredible-to-unbelievable miracle of Isaac’s birth. They had seen God carry out His promise, mercifully, in spite of the failings of faith exhibited by both Sarah and Abraham before Isaac was born. And so, when God now said what he did to Abraham in our focus passage today, old Abe trusted God completely. And this may be the most powerful biblical example of the truth of what we’re taught by God’s word in Proverbs 3: 5-6 and in the NT from 1st Corinthians 10: 13 and by Jesus in Luke 9: 23; and I do hope you, fellow Christian, know these three passages by heart.

They tell us that when God calls, we are to follow. Oh, we may have questions; and God will even listen to our questions; but faith – especially mature faith – is following God obediently … even when it doesn’t make any human sense. It’s carrying our cross daily through trials of fire in our life. It’s following God’s direction and His narrow path even when the world is telling us to take the wide path which makes so much more worldly sense. And that’s exactly what Abraham did; and that’s exactly what we should do.

So, I’m not going to complicate this very simple lesson (I didn’t say EASY, I said, “simple”) with a lot of speculative analysis. It may be a trial of fire to test the purity of our faith; but when God is calling us to “GO,” we should be saying, “Where, Lord?” And when He shows us the way, we should, as did Abraham, … go!

My Prayer Today: … Lord, shine a light on my path, and I will follow. Amen

Blogger’s Note: As often is the case when I’m meditating on God’s word, the thought of a song comes to mind; and that’s what happened this morning. So, may I lead you to meditate on what I’ve written today by adding this link to a wonderful song, performed by Daniel O’Donnell, Here I Am, Lord. To hear it, you can go to this link.

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