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Friday, July 15, 2011

Faithful Friday: Abraham

This past Sunday, our pastor gave a great sermon about Abraham, who is one of my favorite Old Testament fathers. The sermon began in Hebrews 11:17-19, talking about Abraham in the "hall of faith." (He also referenced Genesis 22 a lot.) Abraham left his home and followed God's leading into a totally foreign land. God tested him by asking him to sacrifice his only son, the son that Abraham was promised and through whom God would bless him. This circumstance is what the sermon was about...
Abraham counted on God, in Genesis 22, to bring his heritage. God called him, and Abraham responded, "Here am I." He said yes to God, and God's leading in his life. Now, Abraham lived in a region of the world where sons were often sacrificed to a pagan god. Israel was confused if God wanted them to do this. The prophet Micah asked God, what do you require of us? And God said, "Love mercy, walk justly and humbly with your God." The greatest sacrifice is to give up your one and only son, and that was (maybe is?) the same as in pagan religion.

There is a call on men throughout history to sacrifice sons as a soldier in battle. Patriotism is devotion to the "patros," or fathers, those who came before us, with their sacrificial living and their sacrificial dying. In Genesis 22:2, God asks Abraham to "Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac...,"-- the one given as a possession to him by God. God gave Abraham the choice to make. The son whose name meant "laughter" and brought much joy to his home, and the one that you love-- God was asking to give as an offering. And not just any offering, but the entire sacrifice to be consumed. God had promised him, and Abraham may have been tempted to hold tight to Isaac. It was a huge trial, required much faith on Abraham'a part. 
God had told Abraham that through Isaac the seed would be reckoned (Gen. 21:12). THE Almighty God was speaking to Abraham, and though the act God was asking him to do was contrary to his dreams and promise, Abraham obeyed. Another thing to ponder is that Isaac was probably not complacent in it all, he was strong enough to carry the load of wood, of marriageable age, old enough to be a soldier. He could have resisted or run away, but like Jesus, he allows his father to bind him, and does his father's will. In Genesis 22:5, Abraham tells his servant, we will go, worship and we will come back to you. These are strong verbs that indicate Abraham's trust and certainty.
In Hebrews 11:19, Abraham received his son back from the dead, showing that "I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld your one and only son." (Genesis 22: 12) 1 Corinthians 10:13 says God will make a way out of temptation for us, so that we can endure it. God provided an animal for Abraham to sacrifice on the mountain instead, and Moriah is what Abraham named that place-- meaning, "The Lord will provide." On that same mountain in Jerusalem, years later, God provided another son to be sacrificed for us-- Jesus! 
What a great God we serve! And what a great example to me-- that Abraham would give up his one and only son to and for God. I am not sure that I would be so faithful and willing to sacrifice my son for God like Abraham. It is definitely something to ponder, making me devoted to God and my 'forefathers' in the Bible! Would I be so obedient? Hmmm....
This was a great sermon at our local church, I hope you enjoyed my notes about it. I blogged about another good sermon here.

This is part of the Faithful Bloggers blogging prompts: What dad in the Bible do you most admire?

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