God Will Provide

When we were kids, my brother and I would go with my dad to church camps each summer to help raise money for our church plant. Dad would be a speaker for the week or the missionary and tell everyone about what church planting is and why it is so important. He was always a hit at these camps. Behind the scenes, all of the camp brats (that’s what they called all of us kids that came with our parents) would be searching out ways to get ourselves in trouble. 

One day in particular, my friend, Eric, and I were at one of the picnic pavillions jumping between picnic tables. We were jumping from bench to bench, climbing over the table, then doing it again. I’m sure there was more to it than that. We were probably pretending that we were on some adventure in some far-off place where we needed to traverse difficult terrain and massive boulders, but that was more than 40 years ago, so we’ll go with jumping between tables. Realistically, we weren’t really doing anything dangerous or something that would get us in trouble. That was… until my little brother showed up.

My brother, Sean, is two-and-a-half years younger than me, and he was always trying to prove himself to me and the “bigger” boys when we were around. On this day, that ended up poorly. Sean saw us jumping from bench to bench and wanted to join in. Sean was only about 6 or 7 at the time, and he was feeling froggy that day. He decided he wasn’t just going to jump from bench to bench. He wasn’t even going to jump from bench to table. He was going to jump from table to table. This is where our story goes awry. The extra three feet needed to cross on that jump was more than Sean could handle, and he faceplanted on the corner of one of the tables, letting out a blood-curdling scream that echoed throughout the camp.

The next 45 seconds were a complete blur as my father, from out of nowhere, swooped in, scooped up my bloodied mess of a brother, and was in the family car heading to the hospital. Eyewitnesses say Dad might have actually been flying like some superhero out of a comic book that day. 

Fathers protect and care for their children. It’s their calling, but what would you do as a father if God asked you to do the opposite? Could your faith withstand that? That’s the difficult situation that Abraham dealt with when God asked him to do something no father would ever want to do.

After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
Genesis 22:1–2

First off, if this was me, I would be heart broken. I always wanted to be a father, and I always….ALWAYS wanted a son. I really thought I’d be a dad by my mid-twenties. However, I was 40 before I even got married, and I’ll be in my 60s when my son graduates high school. Being a dad was a dream, and I don’t know if I could handle God asking me to cut that short. Abraham’s situation was even crazier than mine. He and his wife, Sarah, were elderly and had always been unable to bear children until God fulfilled a promise to them. At 90, Sarah gave birth to Isaac. Abraham was 100! Imagine waiting a century to be able to have kids, only for God to ask you to sacrifice him. What was Abraham’s response?

So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 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?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
 Genesis 22:3–8

Abraham was actually going to follow through on God’s request. He was going to sacrifice his only son simply because God asked him to. Truthfully, this blows my mind. Abraham’s ultimate faith in God was beyond anything this world had seen up to this point. His willingness to pay any price to honor God is the stuff of legend. As he said, he knew that God would provide the lamb. I can’t help but wonder if he trusted that God would provide a way out, because that’s exactly what He did.

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. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 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.” 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.
Genesis 22:9–13

God provided the lamb. At that moment, I can’t imagine the relief that Abraham felt as he was directed to change course, and his son would no longer be that sacrifice. I’m also wondering what was going through Isaac’s mind. In this story, we don’t read where there was a struggle for Isaac. Abraham was an old man, and dealing with a young man who would be fighting for his life would be no easy task, but according to the text, it looks like there was no struggle. Isaac trusted his father in the same way Abraham trusted God. His father told him that God would provide the lamb, so he had faith that his father was right. 

We can learn a lot from Abraham AND Isaac. They had faith in, what could have been, the worst circumstance. They trusted God would provide, and God did. He also didn’t ask Abraham to do anything He wasn’t willing to do himself. Jesus became our ultimate sacrifice and the one perfect Lamb that would give us a hope and a future.

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”
Revelation 5:12

True faith understands that God has the better plan. It looks past doubt and lands on trust. It knows that, no matter the situation, no matter how bleak things may appear, God will always provide.


Rick - April 18th, 2024 at 4:21am

Hebrews 11:17-19

- April 18th, 2024 at 6:35am