Hello friends. So here we are again at the start of a new week – lots to do. Mondays are getting sorted days for me – clearing up from the weekend, putting the clean laundry away, looking at the diary and making a plan, writing a shopping list and, obviously, a blog. The shopping list is usually straight forward – the same supermarket, the same favourite weeknight dinners occasionally mixed up with the need for some depleted household item or provisions for special event. This week it’s pancake day! I must remember to get pancake ingredients and toppings or I’ll be hugely unpopular round here. Last week it was lamb. I don’t usually buy lamb. We eat a lot of veggie meals and a bit of chicken or the sporadic sausage but last week was special. We had some guests to dinner so I pulled out a Sumatran lamb curry recipe as a treat. It required a bit more work than my usual baked potatoes or pasta so I had put some time aside to spend in my kitchen preparing. What I hadn’t planned on though was the multiple trips to multiple shops to find the right cut of meat! It took 3 trips to 3 different parts of town with me wandering around unfamiliar supermarkets in a confused daze muttering to myself “where is the lamb?”
Genesis 22 we find Isaac asking that very same question as he climbed the mountainside with his father, laden with fire wood and not knowing what Abraham was intending to do. This is not a comfortable story to read is it? It challenges our view of God, challenges our view of Abraham and more than that challenges our own hearts as we think about how we might respond to God’s call to give up something precious. I literally sobbed my way through as I worked on the this page while God worked on my heart. I was listening to Brian Johnson’s beautiful song “You can have it all Lord” as I read about Abraham’s spectacular obedience – he was willing to give up his promise, the very answer to his prayers! He had waited and prayed and believed and waited again – his whole life longing to receive Isaac and now after all those decades he was still prepared to let go and give him back. What must that have been like? So provoking to ask myself if I hold the gifts God gives me tighter than the Promise of Himself, the giver of every good thing, the Father of Lights? Abraham feared God. He knew that through all his long journey God’s plan was perfect even when he didn’t understand it. So now he is fearless in his obedience – trusting in God alone.
“When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ ‘Here I am’ he replied. ‘Do not lay a hand on the boy’ he said, ‘Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your one and only son.'” Gen 22:9-12
Honestly, I don’t think I would have responded how Abraham did! I don’t think I would have been that trusting or had that courage to obey. I’d probably have been a Jonah and run in the opposite direction. But then I am wrecked again by the story hidden in the story. We read of a man who made his son carry the wood for the sacrifice up a hill, asking “where is the lamb for the sacrifice?” and his father telling him “the Lord will provide!” God tells Abraham “because you have not withheld your son, your one and only son” and we know that He did not require Abraham’s son because He gave us His own, one and only son. I am forever grateful for the Father’s provision, The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. What a saviour! He alone is worthy of our lives, our gifts, our obedience! When I look at His sacrifice how can I not respond by giving Him my all? Nothing, no gift, no answer to prayer, no miracle I have been given can ever compare with Him!
For more insight on this story please check out Katy’s beautiful page Mountain Provisions. Thanks for reading. Much love Rach x