Faith and Family

Posted: May 3, 2018 in Genesis, Uncategorized

Genesis 22-23, “Faith and Family”

Some moments are simply iconic. Mention the name Neil Armstrong or Buzz Aldrin, and you think about the first men on the moon, and the words, “One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” Mention the name Hiroshima, and images of terrible mushroom clouds rush our minds. Mention the names Abraham and Isaac, and most likely the events of Genesis 22 are what come to mind, as Abraham lays his long-awaited son upon an altar for sacrifice.

Thankfully, there is more to the story than that! Abraham does not lay his son on the sacrificial altar unto death; God intervenes in a miraculous way. But what Abraham does is amazing, in terms of faith. Abraham showed his faith in God to be total, trusting God’s promises to the fullest extent, even in terms of his own family. In the process, Abraham’s faith becomes our example, as we trust God not only for future hope in eternity to come, but we trust Him with our whole lives right here & right now. We trust Him with everything – He is our ultimate Provider.

The story of Abraham laying his son Isaac on the altar is dramatic by itself, but the drama heightens even more, when we remember the context. For 25 years, Abraham waited for God’s promise of a son to be fulfilled. He truly believed God, but as with anyone, Abraham’s faith had its highs and lows. At one point, he and his wife Sarah tried to manipulate their way into God’s promise by having Abraham father a child through a different woman (Hagar, to Ishmael). Yet that was not God’s plan, and the shortcuts and manipulations of humans were rejected. At two other times, Abraham almost invalidated the promise of God altogether when he feared for his life, and lied about Sarah’s identify as his wife – resulting in her being taken in marriage by foreign kings. Yet again, God intervened, preserving both Sarah’s purity and His promise to give Abraham and Sarah a son.

At long last, the son arrived, to the joy of his parents, and Abraham’s obedience to the covenant by having him circumcised. Sadly, the boy was soon mocked by his older half-brother, and Ishmael (along with his mother) were forced to be ejected from the camp of Abraham. Once more demonstrating His goodness, God promised to provide for Ishmael simply because he was Abraham’s son – and Ishmael would be blessed almost exactly as Abraham his father was blessed (with the exceptions of the Messianic line and physical inheritance of the land).

At this point in the text, Abraham is walking with God in faith, his son is being raised in the knowledge and provision of God, and the only thing Abraham now awaits is growing old(er) perhaps holding out hope to see his son married with children of his own. Yet there’s one more test of faith that awaits him – one that would stretch him to his limits. Abraham had seen the fruit of God’s promises, but did that fruit now invalidate his faith? In other words, did Abraham’s faith in God evaporate once Isaac was born? It’s one thing to believe for something in the future, but it’s another thing to continue believing once the promise is fulfilled. Was God now “out of sight, out of mind,” for Abraham, or was there something deeper to his faith? He would soon find out.

What kind of faith do we have? Is it for something short-term – is it for some physical blessing? Or, is our faith truly in God, trusting Him for who He is beyond any physical promise He can offer? Trust Jesus for who He is, for He is good!

Genesis 22

  • Abraham and Isaac (22:1-19)

1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”

  1. Although it cannot be said that God tempts anyone with evil, the Bible does show times when God tests His people, and we’re told from the outset that is what happens here with Abraham. Although Abraham didn’t know it, this was a deliberate test from God – an exercise meant to prove and strengthen the faith of Abraham. By this point, Abraham’s faith was already strong – no doubt, it would be much stronger by the week’s end!

2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

  1. Before we get to the command, some of the details stand out. First, how many sons did Abraham have? How many did God describe? One: “your son, your only.” Ishmael is intentionally left out by God, not even included as a son of Abraham. This wasn’t cruelty; it was reality. When it came to the children God promised, God had given only one. Ishmael was not the son of the covenant; Isaac was. This is less of a commentary on Ishmael as it was on Abraham’s & Sarah’s previous slipup of faith. (Remember that God specifically promised to provide for Ishmael, Gen 21:18. Mercy to him was assured.)
    1. FYI, Islam (by & large) teaches the mirror opposite of Genesis 22. In their tradition, it was Ishmael that Abraham was supposed to sacrifice on the altar, and that Isaac was not yet born. It’s one more example of how Satan attempts to co-opt and corrupt the truth of God.
  2. Secondly, notice how the command to go to Moriah mirrors the original command to travel to the land of Canaan. It too, was a land that God would show to Abraham (Gen 12:1-2). Already, God is hinting to Abraham that he would have to walk by faith, and simply trust God. There was more to all of this than what met the eye, but Abraham would have to trust in God’s character.
  3. As to the command itself, it was awful: Abraham was commanded by God to sacrifice his son. He was supposed to go to one of the mountains of Moriah (the area of Jerusalem), bind his son, slit his throat, and allow his body to be totally consumed in a sacrifice of worship. Unthinkable – horrendous! Child sacrifice is rightly condemned throughout the Scriptures; how could God command it here? Remember that this was a test. God had no intent for Isaac to be slain, but Abraham’s faith needed to be proven through trial. God had all things under control, and His character remained good & unwavering…even if Abraham didn’t have all of the facts in front of him.
  4. Objection: “Yeah, sure, but that’s Abraham.” Do not underestimate how difficult this was – don’t write it off as Abraham understanding some kind of light-hearted theological symbolism. He fully understood that God was telling him to put his long-awaited son to death. God knew exactly how hard this would be – this was the son “whom you love,” the younger son truly beloved by Abraham, and the one who would inherit all of Abraham’s wealth and covenant blessings. Isaac was the living proof of God’s faithfulness to him, and now he was commanded to put him to death. This was just as hard on Abraham as it would have been on any person throughout history. There were no shortcuts to this command.
    1. It’s doubtful you’ll ever be placed in a situation as remotely as hard as Abraham – but it is highly probable that at some point you’ll be faced with a choice of trusting God despite the circumstances you see in front of you. Will you trust God when it seems He cannot be trusted? Those who do, have faith that shines like gold!
    2. Know this, our God is trustworthy! We know Him by knowing Jesus, and we know that Jesus is good, merciful, holy, just, righteous, perfect, loving, compassionate, etc. When we’re in a situation we don’t understand, we fall back upon what we do At the end of the day, if you know Jesus, then you know all you need to know.

3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.

  1. Most of us, if faced with the situation Abraham faced, would drag our feet the next day, the next week, month, etc. We would procrastinate and put things off as long as possible. Not Abraham. Abraham did not delay. He did not argue. He just obeyed. If the narration at this point seems wooden and perfunctory, we can understand. This was not joyous obedience on the part of Abraham; he had to force himself to act according to God’s command. In this alone, Abraham demonstrated faith!
    1. Sometimes faith is simply moving forward. We cannot see what lies too far ahead, but we know what God has right in front of us, so we do that. We don’t put it off – we don’t use prayer as a pious excuse not to get started – we simply do what God has given us to do. Even if it’s only taking a few steps at a time, it’s something. It’s trusting God with at least that.
  2. It took some time to travel from Beersheba to Moriah. Three days’ worth, as a matter of fact. 

4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”

  1. Once in the land of Moriah, Abraham saw the dreaded mountain, and gave notice to his servants to stay behind. That said, it’s evident Abraham had hope beyond his dread. Notice the “” Abraham had faith that both of them would return. Both he and “the lad” would leave, and both he and the lad would “come back.” Abraham might not have been able to describe how it would happen, but he knew it would happen.
  2. The New Testament actually gives us a bit of insight into Abraham’s thinking. Surely Abraham was hoping that God might some miraculously intervene, and that slaying his son would not come to pass. But even if not, Abraham still had faith in God. Even if Isaac lay dead and burned on the altar, Abraham still had faith in a God able to work miracles. Hebrews 11:17–19, “(17) By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, (18) of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” (19) concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.” IOW, Abraham had faith in the resurrection! He knew that the God who had given life to Sarah’s barren womb – the God who gave life to his young son – this same God could give it all over again, if need be. God could be trusted with the life of Isaac because God is Himself the author and giver of life.
    1. Why do we have faith in Jesus? Because of His resurrection! The Author of life willingly gave up His life, and then He powerfully took up His life again when He rose from the grave. If He can do that, what is impossible for Him? Nothing! Jesus’ resurrected life proves the truth behind His every promise, and demonstrates that He has power to give life to all who trust Him.

6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

  1. Isaac asked a good question! He saw all the supplies, and he saw the place of destination. What he didn’t see was a sacrificial lamb.
  2. Did he have any idea as to what was going on? It’s impossible to say. In the end, he simply trusted his father to do what was best.

8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.

  1. Amen: God provides! Abraham was certainly sketchy on the details, but he had faith that God would provide in some He even knew that God would provide “the lamb for the burnt offering.” While it’s possible that Abraham referred to his son Isaac as the figurative-lamb, it seems more likely that Abraham knew that this act of sacrifice would not end with the forever death of Isaac. Again, Abraham had faith that God would raise Isaac from the dead, if need be – and if there was still a sacrifice to take place, God would provide the literal lamb in order to have it done. Either way, God would provide the sacrifice for Himself.
    1. That is exactly what He did through Jesus Christ!

9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

  1. Notice the faith of Abraham and of Isaac. Despite his youth, he gave no resistance to his 100+ year old father. Sometimes we get the idea that Isaac was a tiny boy, barely older than a toddler at the time of this testing. In all likelihood, he was much older. The same word used to describe him as “the lad” in verse 5 was also used to describe Ishmael, when God heard his prayers (21:17-18). At that time, Ishmael was around 16 years old, so here, Isaac could have easily have been a teenager. No doubt he had strength enough to fight his father, if need be…but he didn’t. He trusted his father, and showed a similar trust in the Lord God as did Abraham.
  2. This was the moment of truth. Once Isaac was tightly bound, unable to move, Abraham took the same knife with which he had slain so many other sacrificial lambs, raised it high in the air, and prepared to kill his beloved son. Tensions and fear are high – Abraham surely trembled at the act, but he was prepared to obey. Seconds seem like years, and then Abraham acts…and is miraculously stopped by the Angel of the Lord!

11 But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” 12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

  1. Can you imagine a more welcome sound than that of the Angel of the Lord at that moment? Normally, a call from the Pre-incarnate Jesus Christ would strike terror into the hearts of men and women, but not this time. This time, the repeated urgent call to Abraham was probably the most joyous sound Abraham had heard in his entire life!
  2. The Angel stopped Abraham from action, calling out his name emphatically, commanding him neither to kill Isaac nor “do anything to him.” There was to be no misinterpretation of the command, no thought as to “maybe I’m just not killing him in the right way.” The Angel of the Lord stopped this act of sacrifice in its tracks, and it wasn’t to proceed any further.
  3. Why? Because the Angel knew the truth of Abraham’s faith. “Now I know that you fear God.” Did God already know what was in Abraham’s heart? Surely He did. But now Abraham knew it, too. The reverent fear of the Lord that Abraham had undoubtedly claimed for himself was made known, and all questions were answered. God had set out to test Abraham, and Abraham passed with flying colors!
    1. Question: Does God test our faith? Sometimes we might be a bit too quick to blame our circumstances upon God imagining it to be a “test.” But other time, who knows? It may just be one. God certainly has the right to test our faith. As the One who molds us and shapes us into the image of Christ, He proves us in trials like the strength of swords is proven and tested through flame. We come out stronger on the other side, because of the testing of the Lord. What He sees fit to do, He does. Our job isn’t so much to question whether every individual situation is a test; our job is simply to trust Jesus is all of it!
  4. Note: The Angel of the Lord IS the Lord God Himself. “You have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” On this more dire of all days in the life of Abraham and Isaac, God did not delegate this communication to any other angel; God personally showed up.
  5. Looking back thousands of years later from the perspective of New Testament Christianity, we see that what Abraham was willing to do, God actually did. Abraham had not withheld his son from God; God did not withhold His Son (His only Son) from us.

13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”

  1. Just as Abraham predicted, God provided the needed animal sacrifice. Whether Abraham was temporarily blinded to the ram in the thicket, or if he simply didn’t see the animal while his thoughts were consumed on his obedience, the Angel of the Lord (Jesus) pointed out the ram already available to be used as a sacrifice. God had provided the lamb, just as Abraham had told Isaac that He would.
  2. God provided…He always will! He is Jehovah-Jireh, Yahweh Yireh ~ YHWH provides / YHWH is seen. The unaltered form of the root word (רָאָה) means “to see/expect,” but in the particular verb stem used here, the word can mean “to appear / be presented.” The Lord God sees the need, and provides accordingly, ultimately presenting Himself as the solution.
    1. God always provides…always. Question: Does this mean that we can kick back, relax, and wait for God to bring us our daily bread & feed us hand-to-mouth? That is a misunderstanding of God’s character and an abuse of His grace. What it does mean is that God sees our needs, and provides according to His will. Yes, there are times in which we trust Him for our physical provision, and it is right to pray to Him as our provider. But that can’t be where it ends. If that’s the extent of our trust in God, then we don’t really trust Him at all. Ultimately, this applies to our spiritual provision. We’re trusting HIM for providing HIMSELF to us in the person of Jesus Christ.
  3. God wasn’t done providing for Abraham and Isaac. The ram of sacrifice took care only of that one instance & their immediate need for worship. But God had a far longer reaching provision in mind. Verse 15…

15 Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son—17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

  1. Abraham’s obedience led to affirmation of God’s covenant. There would be blessing, multiplying, and a Messianic blessing to the world. All because Abraham obeyed, not withholding his son.
  2. Question: Does this mean that Abraham was blessed by God because of his work? God had already promised to bless Abraham in this way. Genesis 12:1-3 – Genesis 13:14-17 – Genesis 15:4-5 – Genesis 17:4-8 – Genesis 18:18…each one of these instances affirmed God’s work and promise towards Abraham. Over & over again, God had promised to act, just as He did again here. God’s work was (and is) one-sided.
  3. So why the emphasis on Abraham’s obedience? Abraham’s obedience showed the quality of his faith. Abraham believed God, and God accounted it to him for righteousness (Gen 15:6), but Abraham’s belief wasn’t merely ritualistic or based in words alone. The quality of his belief was demonstrated in the works stemming from his belief. … James 2:21–24, “(21) Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? (22) Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? (23) And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. (24) You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.”
    1. Keep in mind that James does not invalidate Paul. Romans 4:1–3, “(1) What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? (2) For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. (3) For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”” These are not contradictory statements; they are opposite sides of the same coin. Abraham was justified by God through faith, and the reality of his justification was demonstrated by his works.
    2. In the end, God blessed Abraham based on His one-sided grace. Abraham’s faith was in God, and God was his only hope. That showed itself true through his obedience, and God rejoiced and blessed Abraham even more. The point? Grace is always one-sided. But those who truly receive grace show a response. A “faith” that never responds to grace isn’t faith at all.

19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.

  1. The conclusion of the event is a bit of a footnote, but it’s also a validate of Abraham’s faith. Earlier, he had confidently predicted that both he and his son would return to the men, and they did. Even this note of their travel is a testimony to the grace of God!
  • Abraham’s relatives (22:20-24)

20 Now it came to pass after these things that it was told Abraham, saying, “Indeed Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor:

  1. Who was Nahor? Obviously, Abraham’s brother – last mentioned in Genesis 11. Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran back in Ur of the Chaldeans (Babylon), and Haran (the father of Lot) died there. The remaining family had originally set out with Abram when he first left the land, stopping in the town of Haran where Terah died. Apparently, Nahor remained in the general area (the land of Padan Aram), where he raised his family. 

21 Huz his firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, 22 Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.” 23 And Bethuel begot Rebekah. These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. 24 His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore Tebah, Gaham, Thahash, and Maachah.

  1. This is the only mention of the majority of these individuals. The text is here to set up the events of Chapter 24, in which a bride is found for Isaac. Abraham’s brother Nahor gave birth to Bethuel, and Bethuel fathered Rebekah. Thus Isaac would eventually marry his 2nd cousin (not unusual according to their culture and times).
  2. Is this just family trivia? Not really – it is an acknowledgement of the covenant blessing of God. The promises God made to Abraham did not end in Isaac; more descendants were required to come. The idea that Isaac would have access to a bride who was not a part of the Canaanite people meant that the covenant blessings of God had a chance to continue. Remember that out of all of the genealogies in the Bible, the one that is followed through to the end is that of Jesus. The Bible is completely consistent in showing His pure lineage back through David, through Abraham, and ultimately to Adam.

Genesis 23

  • Abraham’s grief and gravesite (21:1-20)

1 Sarah lived one hundred and twenty-seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. 2 So Sarah died in Kirjath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.

  1. 127 years old is a grand old age to have reached, and yet another sign of God’s kindnesses towards Abraham and Sarah. Sarah was 90 years old when she became the mother to Isaac, but she did not immediately pass away after childbirth; she had 37 years to enjoy her son.
  2. Even so, death still came. Death reigned among men from Adam onward, and Abraham’s own lineage was no exception.

3 Then Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spoke to the sons of Heth, saying, 4 “I am a foreigner and a visitor among you. Give me property for a burial place among you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.”

  1. By this point, Abraham was 137 years old. He first received his call from God at age 75, which means he had spent over 60 years in & around the land of Canaan. Yet even after six decades, he still considered himself to be “a foreigner and a visitor.” Although his wealth was immense, having massive herds and many servants, Abraham still did not yet own any land for himself. His familial ties were still back in Ur, and even though God promised him this land as his inheritance, that inheritance had not yet been fully received (and wouldn’t be for 400+ years to come).
    1. In a sense, Abraham demonstrates what it’s like to be in, but not of this world.
  2. Even though Abraham trusted God for a future inheritance, with the death of Sarah, he had an immediate need for real estate. No doubt Abraham had witnessed the death of servants over the years, and their graves were likely scattered throughout Canaan. But with Sarah, Abraham required something that was set apart – a place where he could lay his beloved bride to rest, and a place where he could one day join her when it came time for him to die. Thus he went to the local landowners to ask permission to purchase land.

5 And the sons of Heth answered Abraham, saying to him, 6 “Hear us, my lord: You are a mighty prince among us; bury your dead in the choicest of our burial places. None of us will withhold from you his burial place, that you may bury your dead.”

  1. Abraham was well-respected by all, seen as a “mighty prince” in the eyes of the community elders. Abraham was by no means perfect, but he lived his life above reproach, and the testimony of his life was evident to all. (A great example for us!)
  2. Question: Were the men offering to give/donate land to Abraham? Not really. They were simply saying that no piece of real estate would be “off limits.” Whatever tract of land Abraham requested, they would be willing to negotiate a price.

7 Then Abraham stood up and bowed himself to the people of the land, the sons of Heth. 8 And he spoke with them, saying, “If it is your wish that I bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and meet with Ephron the son of Zohar for me, 9 that he may give me the cave of Machpelah which he has, which is at the end of his field. Let him give it to me at the full price, as property for a burial place among you.”

  1. Abraham had a place in mind: “the cave of Machpelah,” which belonged to “Ephron the son of Zohar.” Obviously, Abraham had done his research. He didn’t go in unprepared.
  2. Additionally, Abraham requested to purchase it at the full price. He wasn’t asking any special favors, and he didn’t want any question to remain regarding ownership. This was to be a full, legal transaction. (Doing things the right way!)

10 Now Ephron dwelt among the sons of Heth; and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the presence of the sons of Heth, all who entered at the gate of his city, saying, 11 “No, my lord, hear me: I give you the field and the cave that is in it; I give it to you in the presence of the sons of my people. I give it to you. Bury your dead!”

  1. Ephron purports to donate the land to Abraham. No doubt, these were the cultural niceties, and the ritualistic song-and-dance that accompanied purchases between noblemen.

12 Then Abraham bowed himself down before the people of the land; 13 and he spoke to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, saying, “If you will give it, please hear me. I will give you money for the field; take it from me and I will bury my dead there.”

  1. Abraham insisted on the purchase, and insisted that it be done publicly and in the proper order. If it was a gift, then perhaps Ephron could later come back with a claim on the land. Abraham wanted the cave free & clear. No doubts as to ownership could remain.

14 And Ephron answered Abraham, saying to him, 15 “My lord, listen to me; the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver. What is that between you and me? So bury your dead.” 16 And Abraham listened to Ephron; and Abraham weighed out the silver for Ephron which he had named in the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, currency of the merchants.

  1. In all likelihood, the land wasn’t worth anywhere close to 400 shekels of silver; this was simply the first round of negotiation. This was the ancient near eastern equivalent of haggling. Yet to Ephron’s surprise, Abraham didn’t haggle at all. He didn’t debate the price or try to argue it down; he simply paid it as it was listed.
  2. Why? This way, there was no question that it was his. Abraham didn’t just purchase the land; he more than purchased it! He was willing to take a loss if it meant that he could have the land with his integrity, and that is what he did. He was more concerned about the validity of the deal, rather than saving a few bucks along the way.

17 So the field of Ephron which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field and the cave which was in it, and all the trees that were in the field, which were within all the surrounding borders, were deeded 18 to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the sons of Heth, before all who went in at the gate of his city.

  1. Description of the property
  2. Over time, this has become the 2nd holiest site in all Judaism. 

19 And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah, before Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20 So the field and the cave that is in it were deeded to Abraham by the sons of Heth as property for a burial place.

  1. This was the first and only property ever truly owned by Abraham in Canaan. But it was just a small down-payment on what was soon to come!


God provided for Abraham’s family in many ways: He gave Abraham a physical resting place for his wife, and He gave Abraham the possibility for a future pure bride for his son. These were both small aspects of God’s greater covenant promises of a land, a nation, and a Messiah. But even greater than these things was how God provided for Abraham a sacrifice. God saw that Abraham was willing to even offer his only son in worship to God, and in so doing, God saw a heart that reflected His own. God would not hold back from offering His only begotten Son for the sins of the world, including the sins of Abraham. The first sacrifice God provided for Abraham was the ram in the thicket; the ultimate sacrifice He provided was the Lord Jesus Christ.

Trust Jesus, our Provider! Yes, we trust Him for the daily mundane things of the world (food, water, daily bread), but we also trust Him for who He is. Too many people (even born-again Christians) express their faith in Christ for what they believe Jesus will give them. They look for their next blessing, claiming all the promises of God for their physical hands (and bank accounts) right here & right now. That is shortchanging both ourselves & God. What God desires to see in us is not only trust for the present-day physical needs of this life, but a trust in Him for simply who He is. We are to rejoice in God because He IS God, and we can know and believe that He is always good and always good to His word. We can trust Him when we see His fulfilled promises, and we can trust Him when we don’t yet see how His promises can be fulfilled. We simply trust Him, period. That’s what God desires from us, and in that He rejoices!


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