Some time later, after Sarah laughs at the promise laying in her arms, we read about GOD testing Abraham when Isaac was a young man. The story of Abraham taking Isaac up the mountain only really makes sense when you view it with New Testament eyes. It has so many foretastes of Jesus. A father leads his son up a hill where a sacrifice is to be made, the son carries the wood on his shoulders and when the time comes, he doesn’t fight but willingly offers himself. Of course, this is Jesus’ story, but in Genesis, Isaac is not sacrificed because GOD provides a different sacrifice.
On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided. If you read my last couple of posts you will know that I recently walked up Snowdon. It was a hard climb for someone not used to it, but for others that day, they were running a race up it. I expect for Abraham it was a difficult climb. I can imagine the battle going on in his spirit as he ascended the mountain that GOD had chosen for him. His promised son, the thing that he could have prized above all else, was going to be sacrificed and it would be at his hands. His mountain climb was one of obedience and devotion to GOD.
There are mountains that I find myself climbing. What I first thought of as just a walk with GOD can become a difficult climb as He leads me up steeper paths. There are even times when the cloud comes low and visibility is poor. It can be hard to remember why I started the journey and frightening when I feel disorientated. But on the mountain of the Lord it will be provided. A path will be found (2 Samuel 22:37 You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path), a shelter can be sourced (Psalm 27:5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock) and a picnic in the shadows will be laid out (Psalm 23:5 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.)
One of my favourite Psalms is incredibly helpful when the climb gets overwhelming. A Psalm that seems written for an ascent.
A song of ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
There are times in life when GOD asks for a sacrifice and for things to change in our lives; relationships, mission field, attitude, time commitments, desires, dreams … These are often the things that are most dear to us and the most difficult to give up. It is often the biggest stumbling block that I have in my walk with Him. I guess I do not believe that He will provide on the mountain that He has chosen for me to climb. The challenge is to be like Abraham and hold things lightly. GOD had asked for this precious thing and Abraham was willing to give it up.
When Isaac asks where the sacrifice is, Abraham’s response is that GOD himself will provide (v8). Sometimes, when we give these things over to His will, He gives them back …. but sometimes He doesn’t. Abraham was fully aware that GOD would provide an answer to the promise He had made all those years before, this could be in Isaac or or could be in another child. Abraham’s vision was not limited and his heart was incredibly soft towards GOD.
This story appears to hold massive challenges. But really it is as simple as trusting in GOD.
I love that when I am journeying with journaling God shows me new things. Today I get to chew over the truth that when I am at the mountain of the Lord, He will provide. It is a choice to stand on the mountain of the Lord. I could choose another mountain … but with that promise why would I?