The Lord provides - 24 June 2020

By Ben Fourie

The story about Abraham having to sacrifice his son, Isaac, as a test of his faith, is one of the most difficult passages to understand in the Bible. It is so completely contrary to what we have seen and heard about God in the Bible up to this point. Human sacrifices, and especially those of children, were not unknown amongst the heathen nations living in Canaan, but God called Abraham from Ur with the specific purpose of becoming the father of a nation that would not worship idols but serve only one God. This nation would abandon human sacrifices and other rituals of idol worship.

To get stuck in a debate about how it is possible that God could put anyone to such an impossible test, is to miss the most important moment of the story. We can, after all, not question God and His motives for doing something, but we can find peace in the knowledge that he is Yahweh Jireh, the Lord who provides. Provide in this sense is not to receive ordinary blessings like our daily sustenance: it is something on a much deeper level. Some translators say that, in this context, it means the God who appears. He literally came onto the scene to provide for Abraham’s biggest need: a substitute sacrifice to set Isaac free. He is God who intervenes or takes action when the need is at its greatest.

This all happened more than a thousand years before the birth of Jesus Christ, but there is a parallel in the two stories. Jesus on the cross is how God intervened and provided for our deepest need: a substitute sacrifice for our sins.

Prayer: Like Abraham, we cannot thank you enough for your love that provides an answer to our deepest need. Amen