It feels sometimes, I say to the girls in my small group tonight, that we're working our way through this half of Genesis too quickly. I can't absorb all the things I'm learning or even figure out what I'm supposed to be learning we're going so quickly. Five chapters a week might not seem like a lot, but when your God is putting allusions to the gospel in every chapter you don't want to miss a thing.
It's Abraham we're parked on now, and have been for a few weeks. And something stuns me tonight while I eat my tomato basil sandwich on the veranda of the corner bakery: a test from God.
You know the story: God asks him to sacrifice his son, his only son, Abraham consoles himself with the possibility of secret plan that has yet to unfold, God provides the lamb, etc. All of my life whenever I think about this passage I think "where is God testing me to see if I'll be faithful? Where is he waiting for me to mess up or not obey quickly enough so that He can gently or not so gently push me back on the right path to sacrificing all that I hold dear? What is He going to ask me to give up now?"
God wasn't testing Abraham to get a gauge on his faith. He was providing a circumstance in which the only way out was a picture of God's promise made good. It wasn't about Abraham's faith, though that helps with the story of it all, we need that to keep us on the edge of our seats, to keep us guessing what will happen next.
Well, I'll tell you what happens next: exactly what Abraham knew would happen next. God's promise would be just as good on the way down the mountain as it was on the way up the mountain.
Because His word does not return void.
I think about that so much. I think about the seeming voids in my life. No this. No that. Nothing of this. No sign of that ever happening.
The truth is that God doesn't exist in a void and neither do I. His promise is true today and His promise is true tomorrow. Abraham knew that and that's why it's not a story about how Abraham wrestled with sweat on his brow, hemming and hawing his way to Moirah, shaking as he bound his son to an altar and raised a knife above his head. That's the picture of Abraham I've always had. That's the flannel board story I see in my head. I see a shaking, wondering Abraham.
But I think what God really wants us to pull from that passage is that He wasn't testing Abraham, he was letting Abraham test Him. He was saying to Abraham, "Try me? See if I'm faithful. I am. I'm everlastingly faithful."
But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting
to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children.
day six of 30 day challenge put down by one Jason Alan Churchill Thorburne Morris.