November 25, Saturday

The AMI QT Devotionals from November 20-26 are provided by Pastor Joshua Kim of Church of Southland. Joshua, a graduate of Emory University and Columbia Theological Seminary (M.Div.), serves as the pastor of Access group (singles). He is married to Christina.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Genesis 22:7-14

And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.

9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

At the heart of the gospel message is a decision. A decision by an infinite God who chose to love a people so undeserved, unmerited, and utterly sinful. A decision made without any obligation but to Himself.

Today’s passage records another decision—the moment when Abraham chooses to put his faith into action. Everything has been prepared for the sacrifice. After carefully laying the wood in order, he binds his son and lays him on top of the altar. In this scene, it’s hard to imagine what is going on in Abraham’s mind—he gave Isaac a cryptic message earlier talking about how God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering. Was he talking about Isaac? Was he talking about the ram? It couldn’t have been the latter as the angel had to quickly intervene before the knife struck Isaac. So what was he talking about?

Commentators note that this statement expressed Abraham’s faith that even if it meant that obeying God would result in the death of his son Isaac, God would provide a way. Abraham believed in God’s promise in that Isaac would be his heir and that his seed would become a great nation. He believed God would somehow keep His promise despite seemingly impossible conditions. And we know that indeed God did provide a way. He provided a ram caught in a thicket, but more so, He provided His one and only Son.

So many parts of this story point to the sacrifice of Jesus. Mount Moriah where all this happened is where Solomon will build the temple. Mount Calvary where Jesus is crucified is located just outside of Jerusalem where the temple dwells. “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” What no animal sacrifice could ever accomplish, the perfect Son of God laid down His life as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. What God would not have Abraham do, He did Himself.

When we trek with Abraham, getting inside his mind, wondering what it’s like to be in his shoes and to lay down his promised son on the altar, agonizing with him in making this decision to obey… and when we realize that ultimately God made that very same decision, it leads us to marvel at how great the Father’s love is for us. For God so loved the world, He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Prayer: Father, thank You for the cross. Thank You that from the beginning, You had perfect plan to rescue Your people. What You would not force us to do, You did Yourself, so that we may live. As we marvel at this truth, we worship You in response. Thank You for Jesus. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 25-26

 

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