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God Sees To It

2 January 2014

The past couple of weeks, I have been reading through the Message paraphrase of the Bible. (Please notice that I said paraphrase not translation.) It has been a really cool experience. I have spent a lot of time in the Word so I am familiar with what it says in most places. So it is cool to supplement what I have read many times before with an interpretation that is sometimes easier to understand.

A few days ago I read this passage:

After all this, God tested Abraham. God said, “Abraham!”

“Yes?” answered Abraham. “I’m listening.” He said, “Take your dear son Isaac whom you love and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I’ll point out to you.” Abraham got up early in the morning and saddled his donkey. He took two of his young servants and his son Isaac. He had split wood for the burnt offering. He set out for the place God had directed him. On the third day he looked up and saw the place in the distance. Abraham told his two young servants, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I are going over there to worship; then we’ll come back to you.” Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and gave it to Isaac his son to carry. He carried the flint and the knife. The two of them went off together. Isaac said to Abraham his father, “Father?”

“Yes, my son.”

“We have flint and wood, but where’s the sheep for the burnt offering?”

Abraham said, “Son, God will see to it that there’s a sheep for the burnt offering.” And they kept on walking together. They arrived at the place to which God had directed him. Abraham built an altar. He laid out the wood. Then he tied up Isaac and laid him on the wood. Abraham reached out and took the knife to kill his son. Just then an angel of God called to him out of Heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Yes, I’m listening.”

“Don’t lay a hand on that boy! Don’t touch him! Now I know how fearlessly you fear God; you didn’t hesitate to place your son, your dear son, on the altar for me.” Abraham looked up. He saw a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. Abraham took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. Abraham named that place God-Yireh (God-Sees-to-It). That’s where we get the saying, “On the mountain of God, he sees to it.” The angel of God spoke from Heaven a second time to Abraham: “I swear—God’s sure word!—because you have gone through with this, and have not refused to give me your son, your dear, dear son, I’ll bless you—oh, how I’ll bless you! And I’ll make sure that your children flourish—like stars in the sky! like sand on the beaches! And your descendants will defeat their enemies. All nations on Earth will find themselves blessed through your descendants because you obeyed me.” 

Genesis 22:1-18 (MSG)

There are a few things that stood out to me. For one, I can’t even begin to imagine how Abraham felt when God asked him to sacrifice his son. Being pregnant, and having lost a child, I am honestly not sure if I would be able to do this. I think in the end, I would be able to, but not without lots of turmoil and grief. I mean, God knows best, right? I am going to come back to this in just a minute.

Also, every time I read this, I find myself feeling complete horror on behalf of Isaac. His father tied him up, put him on the altar, and raised the knife… It doesn’t really matter that he didn’t follow through. He must really have trusted his father and God to not have major daddy issues later in life. I can’t be the only one who has thought about this, right? Anyone else?

And I love the last bit there: “All nations on earth will find themselves blessed through your descendants because you obeyed me.” Abraham father Isaac. Isaac fathered Jacob. Jacob fathered a whole brood of children, making up the twelve tribes of Israel. One of those children was Judah whose great, great, great, great (etc a whole bunch of times) grandson was Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, the son of God. “All nations on earth will find themselves blessed through your descendants because you obeyed me.” Wow. And going back to the first observation, this is a perfect human example of what God did. God actually followed through and sacrificed Jesus, His precious son, for our sins. … All nations are blessed. God gave us a little picture of what He was planning way back before Jesus was born. Before his familial line was established through Judah. Wow.

And another blessing, the story isn’t over yet. Jesus is coming back.

Happy New Year!

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