Tag Archive | sacrifice

The promise

Day 3 of 40 days to Resurrection Day

Suggested activity:  Read Genesis 22:1-19

Abraham’s testing and prophetic statement that “God would provide for Himself a lamb.”

I had a little sheep-herding experience as a kid.  My cousins had a few sheep in a fenced pen, and when they got out, which seemed quite often, sometimes I joined them as we called for their dog and went to round them up.

Thoughts of sheep and lambs take me to the Old Testament.  The history of the Hebrew people begins with Abraham, and he was a shepherd.

The Bible tells us about an old man who left most of his family and all that was familiar to wander an unknown land the rest of his life.   Just because God told him to.

Abraham received and believed some of the most amazing promises.  He became an example of faith.  What does it look like to trust God when you don’t understand the ‘what’ or the ‘why’ but you trust the Who?

It looks a lot like Abraham.  His story begins in Genesis chapter 12.

God’s promises to Abraham didn’t always come quickly to fulfillment.  Some did not come to pass in his lifetime.  And I wonder how he kept the faith?

Sometime in his 80’s, Abraham was told he would have a son and that all of the world would be blessed because of his seed.   Abraham reached 100 years when that son, Isaac, was born, and that’s a long time to hold a promise close to your heart.

The challenge today is to read about God’s extreme directive for Abraham to offer the promised son on the altar of sacrifice.  It is this part of Abraham’s journey that connects us to the story of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

It was a hard command Abraham heard.  Even more difficult to act upon.  We know the ending to the story, but Abraham carried his heavy heart up the mountain along with the wood and the fire.  I cannot even imagine.

Somehow his faith sustained him even under this darkest of circumstances. Before Abraham experienced the final outcome, he uttered a most profound and prophetic statement.   When Isaac asked where the sacrifice was, the offering they would give, Abraham said:

 “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”  

The word here for “God” in Hebrew is Elohim, the Creator and Judge.  This is the One who created the plan of salvation from the very beginning; the One who must judge sin because He is righteous and holy; the One who would provide His own sacrificial Lamb because we can never, ever, ever measure up.

This is the God who promised a Savior, a Lamb who would take away the sin of the world.

Though the fulfillment of the promise was long in coming, it came!

I have some promises I am holding on to with all my heart.  I may not see all of God’s promises completed and fulfilled in my lifetime, but I choose to trust the One who made the promise until it comes to pass.

One thing I know.  When God makes a promise, He intends to keep it.  And He will do whatever necessary to do just that.


Revised and re-posted from March 2014

Valentine’s Day is not about sweethearts

Of course, the media in all of its intrusive forms would make us think Valentine’s Day is for lovers and sweethearts and couples and spouses.  We must buy candy and cards.  We must spend money.  Jewelry and roses are expected.  And if you are not currently in a relationship, or your sweetie forgets you, or you don’t get something expensive, well you just must not be loved so much.

NOT!  Please don’t believe that lie.

love-wordLove is from God.  I’ve been recognizing this more since doing a Bible study by Kelly Minter and gathering weekly with sisters to talk openly and be real about our lives and our relationships.

Anything good in this world, any smidgen of love displayed, any beauty, any joy all comes from the Creator of every good and perfect gift.

His love is displayed in the warm sun, the air I breathe, the faces of my children and grandchildren.  His love is in my husband’s embrace, in the endurance and strength to care for him, in the kindness of medical professionals and visitors to his hospital room.

God’s love is shown by strangers who let me in the line of traffic, by the customer service person who helps me resolve a problem, by my neighbor telling me she is just a phone call away.

God shows His love for me by showering me with gifts all day long, gifts of grace like a good cup of coffee, a gorgeous sunrise, my little dog snuggling close, by a phone conversation with my grandson-too-far-away.

But the very most extravagant love God has demonstrated was the gift of His Son to a world that did not receive Him, did not know Him, did not love Him back.  The greatness of His love was manifest in that He loved us when we were unlovable, unlovely, unholy.  He loved first.

Any good in this world is because He initiated love and lavished that love on the creation, the very ones who turn their back on Him and use His name to curse.  The ones who don’t believe.  The ones who choose their own determined way instead of running to His welcoming arms of forgiveness and grace.

Many stories try to tell us the origin of a man named Valentine, how he was kind and loving and so we celebrate him with a day in February.  We call him a saint.  And then we ask you to spend money to show your love.  Sorry, it’s just not about that.

Love is serving, giving of oneself, sacrificing your own wants for someone else.

Love forgives, does not hold grudges, hardly notices when others do you wrong.  Love is patient and kind.  It’s not jealous and boastful.  Love helps you think of others first and act in loving ways no matter what.  Love longs for truth and right living.  Love bears up under the hardest of circumstances, continues to believe God is good, and trusts Him for power to keep on going in the grace that strengthens.

Because Love does not end.  Not when divorce divides.  Not when loved ones die.  Not when I am wounded by words.  Not when I am separated by distance or misunderstandings or unresolved conflict. God’s love keeps giving, keeps restoring, keeps healing, keeps seeking.

Because God is love.  And love comes from God.  And nothing, no nothing can separate me from His love.  And that is worth remembering on Valentine’s Day.