The Greatest Gift
Reading Selection for December 7th
Genesis 22: 9 – 14 (NLT) – “When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham!’ ‘Yes,’ Abraham replied. ‘Here I am!’ ‘Don’t lay a hand on the boy!’ the angel said. ‘Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.’ Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.’”
Yes, God provides. He always provides just what we need, exactly when we need it. And right in that moment on Mount Moriah God provided the ram that Abraham and Isaac needed. One of the things I find so striking about this scene is that it doesn’t appear that Abraham is busy telling God what he needs. He is faithfully walking out what God has told him to do. Period.
When I say Abraham is faithfully walking this out, let me be clear…Abraham is not desperately clinging to a predetermined outcome or expectation. Long before God told Abraham to take Isaac to Mount Moriah and sacrifice him as a burnt offering (Genesis 22:2), God had made him a promise that He would make him a great nation. God later confirmed that Isaac was the one through whom that great nation would come, not Ishmael.
So on the way to Mount Moriah to follow the instructions to sacrifice Isaac it would have been really easy, and some would argue justifiable, for Abraham to remind God of His promises and demand that He provide a different sacrifice, and to argue a case for why it would not be right to sacrifice Isaac.
But Abraham wasn’t attached to the outcome on that mountain. He was attached to His God, the One who is Love, and the relationship he had with Him. Abraham didn’t demand that his son be saved because Abraham and his son were already saved by trusting God. In fact, Hebrews 11:19 tells us that Abraham knew God was able to raise Isaac from the dead.
When Messiah arrived on the earth as the Babe in the manger, most missed Him because they expected the Conquering King. When God’s chosen people crucified their own Deliverer it was because He didn’t live up to their expectations. Instead of clinging to their relationship with God and receiving Who He provided, they rejected Him.
In the Advent that is EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. are you willing to lay down your own expectations and outcomes, even if they seem good and right, and receive the Provision of Grace and trust the results to Love Himself? Even if it comes wrapped as a Babe? Even if it never looks like you’d hoped or expected?