Dec. 6 (Day 8)
Read Gen. 22:1-18
I hope we see the significance of this on so many levels! God promised to give Abraham a huge family, but the fact remained that you can’t have a huge family without first having a child. Abraham and Sarah waited decades for Isaac. He was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, yet after all this waiting God asked Abraham to give Isaac up! Abraham, a man of faith (as we’ve already established) did as God commanded. This was no small thing! Yet, for Abraham to live the life God intended, this test had to exist. Abraham had a history of doing things his own way (see Gen. 12-21 for a few examples). He was a man of faith, yes, but far from perfect. He had a dishonest streak at times and occasionally treated people poorly. Despite his sinfulness, however, Abraham always returned to God to reorient himself with God’s will.
In this story, God chose to test Abraham. When first reading this passage, we hold our breath and ask ourselves “what will Abraham do?” Abraham also had no idea what God was going to do, but he trusted God with his most prized reward: Isaac. Through this trial, God showed Abraham that He is faithful to keep His promises, and gave Abraham reason to trust Him with everything for the rest of his life.
Sometimes the journey of following God requires giving up something that we care deeply about in order to experience the life to which God has called us. The thing we’re called to give up could be a favorite item, a personality trait, a deeply held hope or dream, or even an addiction or lifestyle. We wonder “how could God ask me to give up something that I love so much?” The answer is that God has a better path for us. I love that! His plan is better than ours, and our life is meant for more than we think it is! Abraham’s test ended with a promise: I have given you this child and I will carry Isaac to the end, the promise I made to you is safe with Me. In the moment, decades of waiting seemed forgotten and lost as Abraham raised the knife in the air, yet God’s provision of a ram showed us that we can trust Him with everything - He has a better way for us.
--If God tested you by asking you to give up what you love the most, what would you do?
--How does God’s provision of the ram strengthen your faith in Him?
--What is the hardest thing to believe concerning the statement: “God has a better way for you?” Pray for each other in this matter.