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Be encouraged because God provides

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‘And my God will meet all of your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 4:19)

God provided!

Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac and named the place, ‘God will provide!’ (Gen. 22) The story in Genesis 22 is one of the most dramatic and most significant episodes in Genesis. The command to sacrifice Isaac, the sadness of the climb of Abraham and Isaac to the place of sacrifice, the painful binding him and laying him on the altar and the last minute intervention from Heaven makes this story one of the most excellent stories in the Bible.

Faith and hope

In Gen. 22 we read of the last test of Abraham’s faith, which is comparable to the original call to leave his home and family. Although we are told it was a test for Abraham, God’s command was totally real. It was on Isaac that all the promises of blessing depended for their fulfillment. Torn between love for his child and obedience to God, Abraham faced a very difficult choice. We see how faith and hope triumphed over fear and doubt until the knife was raised to slay Isaac. In this way Abraham showed that he was willing to put God’s call above every other commitment and at that moment the test ended.

A lamb was prepared!

A lamb was sacrificed in place of Isaac, and the angel declared that Abraham’s act of obedience changed the status of the promises. They became sworn guarantees to countless descendants, the capture of land and blessing on him and, through him, on all the nations of the world. In Gen. 22:16-18 we read the last words spoken by God to Abraham in Genesis, and their implication should not be neglected. From now on there was no doubt about the fulfillment of the promise of God. The fulfillment of Abraham’s faith was the lamb (Gen. 22:13, but its ultimate fulfillment is the Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36).

God’s sacrificial love

For the New Testament, there is more to the sacrifice of Isaac than the supreme example of someone committing himself to obey God completely (Heb. 11:17–19). It is a picture of God’s sacrificial love. Just as Abraham gave his only son as a sacrifice, so also the Father ‘did not spare his own Son’ for this world. (Rom. 8:32a; John 3:16) The place where the Lord Jesus, God’s Son died is the place of God’s provision. As the lamb died in Isaac’s place, so also the Lord Jesus gave His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). The Lord Jesus paid the full price to release us from the bondage of sin and death.

God provides!

‘…but gave him up for us – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?’ (Rom. 8, 32b). If God gave His best gift of His beloved Son to bring us to salvation, He will certainly also give whatever is necessary to bring to fulfillment the work begun at the cross of Calvary! We can be encouraged because God did not stop providing! He is the God of Abraham and He is our God, too! The Apostle Paul in the Epistle to the Philippians knew this truth and it was the reason that he was encouraged and he was able to encourage others. He was sure: ‘And my God will meet all of your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 4:19).

Dr. Czeslaw Bassara (czeslaw7@eta; www.proword.eu)

 

James N. Spurgeon wrote:

'A job is at your choice; a ministry is at Christ's call. In a job you expect to receive; in a ministry you expect to give. In a job you give something to get something; in a ministry you return something that has already been given to you. A job depends on your abilities; a ministry depends on your availability to God. A job done well brings you praise; a ministry done well brings honour to Christ.'

This ministry is to bring honour to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

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