I am always drawn back to Genesis at the start of a new year…and it is more than my annual attempt at reading through the Bible! In particular, it is the account of God testing Abraham (Genesis 22) that causes me to pause, reflect, and prepare for the uncertainty a new year brings.
Abraham’s response to God’s difficult command is humbling. It is impossible for me not to imagine walking in his shoes…and I know I would have had something to say…or perhaps shout! Yet Abraham does not engage in discussion or debate, just action. He awakes early in the morning to take care of the details and follows through with the directions that have been given (Genesis 22.3). He knows that the right choice is to obey God.
We can only guess what might have taken place between verse three and four. Our guess would be sprinkled with thoughts on how a father or mother might reflect in anguish over the course of three days. As he raises his eyes to the mountain in Moriah where Isaac will be offered, a burst of agony might well up inside his soul. However, Abraham tells his travelling partners that both he and Isaac will go, worship, and return, indicating that he trusted God to provide deliverance from the action at hand (Genesis 22.5). Amazing! In the midst of a tumultuous task, Abraham trusted completely – trusted Him right up to the point of drawing the knife! The LORD provided a substitution in the form of a ram and reaffirmed His covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12.1-3; 22.16-18).
As a new year begins, let us be mindful both now and beyond of the following:
The right choice is obeying God’s commands. God’s command for Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac was an extreme test that would not apply today, because the test has been answered fully in Christ. However, following God’s commands as revealed to us through His Word remains the right choice, despite the difficulties that may arise or the ridicule we may receive in an unbelieving world.
The LORD will provide. In fact…He has provided! Through the Lord Jesus, God has provided the ultimate and final substitution. By His grace we are saved. What a gift for those who, in faith, believe!
God honours those who honour Him. As we pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness (1 Timothy 6.11) we honour God…we are obeying His command. There is no better testimony for those who don’t believe.
We do not know what the LORD has in store for us in the year ahead, but we can rest assured that as we commit to obeying Him, and apply His Word to our everyday lives, we will be blessed and in turn will be equipped to be a blessing to others. Let us honour Him with this renewed commitment!