Today's Lectionary Text
After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.” Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.
When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill 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, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
In this story from Genesis, God obviously wants assurance of Abraham’s loyalty. What an extreme test of faith! But Abraham doesn’t question God. He got up early in the morning and set out to follow the directions given him. When his son asks about the missing lamb, Abraham is already sharing his faith: “God himself will provide …” God supplies our needs. Faith.
During the months of this present pandemic, the anger and hatred, and challenges of nature, it has seemed to me that God is testing His children. What sacrifices can you lift up in faith during these trying times, knowing that “God himself will provide …”? Income due to the loss of a job, the loss of loved ones to illness and other tragedies – can we still find ways to worship our Lord and Savior? Can we love God above everything else? Really?
With the challenges facing the churches, I’ve been wondering if God’s children will truly remain faithful to Him. God has provided many ways for congregations to worship Him: via computer, as well as in person recently (with modifications). Can we learn through our “new normal” types of worship what God does and does not require of us in our relationship with Him?
Yes, I believe this is a test of our faith as people who proclaim themselves to be children of God. Let’s show that faith to people who need to see how God remains faithful to those who remain faithful to Him.
--Ginny Lind, Secretary/Lay Servant
Eastmoor UMC, Marion KS
(Written with ideas from “Holiness of Heart and Life”, The Wesley Study Bible, 2012, p.30)
Prayer for Reflection
God of Abraham and our father, too: Help us to remember that it takes extreme obedience to show faithfulness to you, especially during difficult times such as these. Give us gentle reminders of your presence when we tend to forget you are there in the midst of our trials. Amen.
This Week's Lectionary
This Week's Liturgical Color