“Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will point out to you.” (Genesis 22:2, NLT) Faith and dread must have shared the space in Abraham’s mind as he started out on the journey to his encounter with God. Each step had to get more difficult. It is beyond me to even try to imagine the horror of building a pile of stones for an altar, knowing that I would lay my son on that altar to offer him up to God! But Abraham did what God told him to do! I can easily imagine the tears streaming down Abraham’s face as he attempted to explain to his beloved Isaac that he was only doing Yahweh’s will. He might have said something like, “Son, I do not know why either. I know for sure I heard Him, as I have so many times over my lifetime. This makes no sense, but He directs. I love you so, Son, but I love Him even more.”
Abraham obeyed ‘in faith’ and went to the very moment of offering up his son. Only then did the voice of God ring out. “Lay down the knife,” the angel said. “Do not hurt the boy in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld even your beloved son from me.” (Genesis 22:12, NLT) Only then did this great man of faith find a deeper revelation of God’s nature. In a moment of drama obscured by the plainness of the text, he saw that God had provided a substitutionary sacrifice. 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 Yahweh Yireh (God-Sees-to-It). That’s where we get the saying, “On the mountain of God, he sees to it.” (Genesis 22:13-14, The Message)
Sometimes God asks us to walk through days or months through trials so intense that each step feels like it may be our last! He makes His will known and then falls silent, leaving us without explanation, with only two choices: obey or turn away from Him! In our Wednesday School of the Bible we discussed the story of Genesis 22 last night. In just that little group of Believers there were heart-wrenching stories of times when God pointed the way up Mt. Moriah and waited for obedience so I know it’s a relatively common experience.
Are you trudging up Mount Moriah today, filled with dread, yet pursuing God with all the faith your heart can find? He will be Yahweh Yireh for you. He knows exactly what you need (not what you think you need) and, in His foresight, He has already prepared provisions for you. Walk on! Weep, if you must, but obey. In this time when self-love is so powerful, a lauded characteristic by our culture, we are tempted to try to play “Let’s Make A Deal” with the Lord! We devise alternatives, argue, and even try to manipulate God. But only two stark options – obey or turn away.
The path of obedience to the will of God, despite often leading us to an altar of costly sacrifice, always ends in His blessings – for He is Yahweh Yireh and He cannot abrogate His unchanging nature. Will you trust Him today?
Be Thou My Vision– Hull, Eleanor / Byrne, Mary E.
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Nought be all else to me, Save that Thou art
Thou my best thought, By day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, And Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee And Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, And I with Thee one.
Riches I heed not, Nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, Now and always:
Thou and Thou only, First in my heart,
High King of heaven, My Treasure Thou art.
High King of heaven, My victory won,
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, Whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
Be Thou my shield And my sword for the fight,
Be Thou my dignity, Be Thou my might.
Thou my soul’s shelter And Thou my high tow’r,
Raise Thou me heav’nward O Pow’r of my pow’r.
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