Good Morning! My name is Paul Herrold and I was asked to give you a devotional thought from the book of Genesis, chapters 21-22.
KEY VERSE: Genesis 22:15-18 And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:… I will bless thee,…And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
REFLECTIONS: This story takes place before the nation of Israel was a nation. At this time it was only a promise to Abraham. The problem with being the father of a great nation is that you must have offspring, and that is where Abraham and Sarah found themselves – barren, wavering, and impatient. So they did what most of us would have done, and took matters into their own hands. Abraham took Sarah’s handmaiden as his wife and had a son, Ishmael. The problem with Ishmael was that he was not the son of promise. Fast forward 10 years, and after Abraham and Sarah’s reaching the point of it being humanly impossible to have a child (that is often when God shows up), Isaac is born. Isaac is now somewhere between 14 and 20-ish years of age, and Abraham is told by God to do the unthinkable: sacrifice Isaac. My response would have been, “It took me 99 years to have this kid and now you want me to kill him, and don’t you know if I sacrifice Isaac, my wife is going to sacrifice me?!” Not so with Abraham. His years of waiting for Isaac to be born and the impossibility of a 99-year-old man and a 90-year-old woman having a child only amplified his faith. Abraham believed GOD Gal. 3:6. Abraham believed that Isaac was the one through whom a great nation would be birthed, therefore he believed that if God wanted him to sacrifice his son then God could and would raise him from the dead.
There are two people with great faith in this story: the guy with the knife and the guy on his back looking up at a knife. Isaac’s faith often goes without saying, but in my mind his responses to his father show great faith. We don’t know all the details, but Isaac was a young man, and if he had chosen to fight his 115-year-old father who was about to tie him up, kill him and then burn his body, he could have done it and got away. How and why would a young man lay down his life and help his father sacrifice him to the Lord? One word: TRUST. Isaac trusted his father and his father’s God to the extent of his life. Trust has everything to do with the object of your trust. Once Sarah and I did an obstacle course where she had to lead me blindfolded through a series of obstacles. Just being stupid, I jumped on her back to have her carry me the rest of the way. Needless to say she did not have the ability to carry my weight and we collapsed. We laugh about it now and I think we laughed about it then, but I would not put my trust in her to carry me again because she does not have the ability. The God of Abraham and Isaac is the same God we serve today. He is still Jehovah Jireh (which means the Lord will provide) and can handle the full weight of all our needs, cares, problems and anxieties. So bring them to Him, He wants them. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
My parents use to take old 15-passenger vans to Mexico. (When they crossed the Rio Grande they became 25 passenger vans—they know how to load them south of the border). They would then give the vans to a native pastor to use in his ministry. On more than one occasion my dad would kiddingly call these gifts “junk for Jesus”. Now I have no doubt that God desired him to give the van to our Mexican brothers and it did glorify God, but too often I’m guilty of giving God my left overs, my “junk for Jesus”. The truth is, He wants our best! Why?! Well, often it is our “best” that comes between us and God, and anything that comes between us and God is by definition an idol. (God is like the government: He hates competition). What is it that God wants us to place on the altar? Possessions, occupation, children, position, future. That is my list of things I struggle to lay down. What is yours?
Thank you for being a part of Route 66 Bible Challenge. Thanks for reading, and you have a blessed day!
In Christ, Paul
WHEN YOU GOT SAVED: 1983
FAVORITE BIBLE VERSE: Romans 6:13
FAMILY: Sarah, Chloe(11), Caleb(7), Carter (6)
DREAM VACATION: Trip to Holy Land
MINISTRY INVOLVEMENT AT VBC: Deacon, Disciple-town