February 17, 2012

I would have loved to have been a bug on a log the day Abraham took Isaac, his only son, to the top of the mountain, built an alter, bound him and prepared to sacrifice him. To hear the Angel of the Lord say to Abraham as he lifts up the knife to slaughter his son like the bull or lamb they would have been offering. Read the account in Genesis 22:9-14

“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. 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.” (Genesis 22:9-14 ESV)

How would it have been to witness this test that Abraham had to endure! Praise God for the bull who just so happened to get his horns caught.

Flash forward to the time of Jesus: Here we are just coming out the intertestamental period, Rome is in control and the people of Israel are oppressed both politically and religiously by the pharisees and teachers of the law. The demand for purity was so great, something needed to be done. Then Jesus comes onto the scene and He speaks with authority. He invites a group of fisherman and Tax Collectors into a relationship with God, into a relationship to something bigger. Then people began to follow the teachings of Jesus and they were freed from the strict adherence to laws. The covenant changed from a covenant of law, to a covenant of grace. This all proceeded the death of Christ on the cross, the death that He died so we didn’t have to, the happy exchange. Suddenly we had peace with God, we were no longer slaves to our sin nature. The law became a standard of living, something we do because we are alive, because we have been raised to “Newness of life” Rom 4:18.

Suddenly things changed, grace abounded.

The point here is not the point I made in the last edition of this post. The point here is that God shows up at the exact perfect time, in every situation. Just when Abraham was about to bring down the knife, to slaughter his only son the Lord intervened and gave a bull. Just when man was the most oppressed, when the nation of Israel was in need of something new, something fresh God sent His only son to die on a cross for our sins.

At the perfect time these things happened.

So what about us? This summer, as I was tired of my myself, of the way I thought other treated me, as I was complaining and seeking so much to be validated, God showed up. Through the voice of a discerning leader and teacher who challenged me to spend a week in silence. God met me in that week, allowed me to feel depression, loneliness and ultimately a communion with my creator that I had never before experienced. He began to mold me, shape my opinions and attitudes, my thinking changed and transformed.

So here we are, we’re in our darkest hours or maybe we aren’t. We’re searching for something, searching for an out for a situation or for solitude, validation, friendship, love the list goes on. We let it eat at us and eat at us and when we can’t take it anymore because we may have been ignoring God or not sure about what He’s saying or whatever the situation God steps in.

If you take anything out of this I want you to know dear ones that if you’re lonely, angry, hurting, if you can’t take it anymore, if you’re afraid, unsure, in need of love, in need of council and fallen people are letting you down God will step in and surprise you. His grace will come flooding into your life and as you endure the trial and persevere through what may seem like an unending trial God will show up and He will surprise you.

Just like Abraham was undoubtedly surprised when he turned to see the bull, just like the Jews were probably surprised to find their savior was a carpenters son who would die on the cross. God will surprise us and change us and transform us and move us to a better place.

Dear friends, let grace surprise you, let God surprise you! Let Him move in you and transform you through His word. Don’t fear when trials come, don’t get down when you think you can’t make it. God is there, guiding you, never allowing you to face more than you can handle then holding us and healing us as He carries us through!

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