1.11.2010

Jan 11

Genesis 22-23
Psalm 11
Matthew 13

10 comments:

Jon said...

I thought I was going to comment on Abraham giving up all he had in Issac, but at the end of Matthew I was struck at the verse "Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor."

It's so easy to ridicule or undermine those we see everyday, while forgetting how special they really are. The best example is a spouse, that we know so well and become so used to, that we forget why we fell in love with them in the first place. Its almost as if the people who should appreciate them the most, having seen how far they have come, are the ones who can never forget their slips or inadequacies. Only in their own house are they without honor.

Liz said...

Really really struggling with the Old Testament reading today. I've heard this story so many times, and read it many times as well. But today I just can't wrap my head around EVER being in a place of faith where I would be prepared to sacrifice one of my children. Not that I am expecting God to ask that of me, but I just can't relate to what Abraham was prepared to do.
I try my hardest to be a woman of faith who loves her husband and children, but always loves the Lord before anything else. But the thought of actually sacrificing a child?
I feel like I need some further study and prayer about this passage. Just really feeling unsettled by it. Have the feeling God is speaking to me through this, just not sure about what yet. Any insight you guys have into this passage, much appreciated!

Liz said...

Been doing some reading. Came upon an interesting thought about Issac. Abraham has literally HEARD God speak to him about doing this, and has every reason to believe that his previous claims about Issac will come to pass (Abraham's line will continue through him, etc. etc.). Issac didn't. You have to wonder what is going through Issac's head as he's getting tied up and prepared to be sacrificed. If he knows what's going on then he has faith that is staggering, not only in God, but in his father. If he doesn't know what's going on then he's probably pretty freaked out. I like that Abraham says that God will provide the offering when Issac asks about it. I totally get that it parallels God's own sacrifice of his Son, but I'm not sure how Issac's knowledge/or lack of plays into that parallel. Am I making too much out of that aspect?

It's so ambiguous as to whether Issac knows what is going on while they are traveling to the mountain! Hmmm. This passage really has me thinking, but still don't know where its leading me!

Laura said...

Liz, I can't provide much insight, but I know that one of the reasons that concept is difficult for me is that I always, always think, "How does he KNOW God was talking to him?" I know, totally LATE to be wondering that, since God's been speaking to him for a long time. But it somehow always strikes me during this passage. Abraham says "Here I am." so calmly, so willingly. I always think, "Gosh, what if I had my son all up there and prepared to kill him and I wasn't SURE that is what God had asked me to do at all?" I have a hard time imagining how clear God's voice and will must have been to Abraham. I am praying that God open my ears to hear him so clearly. That's always been hard for me.

The Beckster said...

Okay, I just read the last 8 days worth of reading today because I got completely behind! Now I am hoping to read each day so that I can really absorb, and give it the time it deserves.

The story of Isaac and Abraham has always been the most disturbing story to me, and my sister. We always talked about it growing up, how could he have been willing to kill his own son? Why would a good and loving God ASK that of someone to prove their faith? But as I am reading, it occurs to me that this is perhaps a parable, just like the parables Jesus told to teach people important lessons. And maybe the parable is about having trust in God in the most unthinkable, tragic, unbelievable of situations. Many people in this world have had to watch their children bear unthinkable suffering, or lose their children to terrible circumstances. And it must be hard to think God is with you the whole time, actually having an outcome on the other side that demonstrates the opposite of what you believe to be. I don't know if any of that makes sense, but just thinking out loud. And interesting, that this Lld Testament story is paired up with the New Testament reading on parables.

Also, I was struck by how true Jon's words are. I completely see that, thank you for adding those thoughts.

Emery Jo said...

This passage is so beautiful in so many ways to me.

First... all the imagery of Christ. The wood on Issac's shoulders, the three day journey, the lamb. How amazing is the Bible that it is all so intricately woven together over thousands of years? How can people not be blown away by that... not see the power held within its covers? It is astounding.

This is my thought about the sacrifice that God called Abraham to: I don't think this story is meant to be a 'put yourself in his place' kind of a story. I think if we do that, we will miss the point and the depth and richness of it. God will never call us to tie up our sons and sacrifice them on a mountain. And yes, we are called to give God all, and Issac can represent those things that we love most dearly on this earth, but more than all of that I think this is a story about GOD and what He did for US.

God gave up His Issac for YOU. No one stayed His hand.

I think this is a beautiful story that helps us see just how deep God's love is for us. And, again, it is dripping with Grace.

Christopher Clark said...

Lord, by your great mercy and grace, cultivate the soil of my heart. Dig up the rocks and crush them with your might. That they may not hinder your word from taking root in my heart. Remove from the dirt, the thorns of deceit of which are rooted shallow in empty promises. Let your words land in fresh, good, soil; that I may understand them and by doing so may bear fruit that would yield an abundant harvest by the power of the Holy Spirit who is my helper and in by the blood of Christ Jesus who has saved me from death.

Amen

Liz said...

Thanks for all of your awesome comments everyone! Doing a little more reading, talking with my husband, praying, and reading your thoughts has really helped me sort this one out!
I think it's so interesting how each and every one of us picked up on a different aspect of this story. For me I think God is trying to point out some things about my parenting and faith. I really have a hard time not being a worrying parent. In other words, I have a hard time turning my children over into God's care. Abraham did this in such a huge way, but I struggle to do it in the everyday mundane ways! I think between this reading and the Matthew reading about worry from the other day are both pointing to something I need to be working on in my faith.

There's so much more in the passage, and it has spoken to me about many of those things in the past. I love that God uses his word in new and fresh ways every time we read it. He speaks directly to us every single time we spend reading his Word!

Emery Jo said...

Liz- that is awesome! I agree- I love how the Bible is never stagnant! Every time I read something, it feels new. I will be praying that you will be freed up from worry through this year's study.

I would love to see ALL women (and men!) be able to dance on the chains of worry that seem to bind so many of us so tightly!!

bethany said...

Liz-
As I was reading through your thought processes on this, I thought of my parents and decisions they made in raising me.

My parents were missionaries when I was really young (ages 3 to 13). They left their families in the United States to raise me and my siblings in France. This kind of upbringing cost me a lot. I was never close to my grandparents or cousins. I had really limited community, I had to learn a new language and go to a strange school all by myself. I had to deal with teachers who would yell and scream and hit us (which is normal in France), and I never got a choice. I was bitter about that for a long time, because I just wanted to be a regular kid. I have a lot of bad memories from those 10 years because they were HARD.
But now, as I've grown up and tried to make my faith my own, I realize that my parents were doing what God told them to do, even if it cost me. They were laying my comforts on the altar right next to theirs without asking my permission. And I am so glad. They taught me not so much with their words, but with their lives what it means to follow Christ. And I also know that I can deal with a lot more than I initially think I can because God gives us the strength to do what He asks of us.

I really believe that Abraham knew God was going to make a way out for him when he was going up that mountain with Isaac. He even told his son "God will provide the lamb", just as He did. Abraham had seen God's faithfulness over and over again in his life and trusted Him. God always sees the big picture, even when we don't understand.

Emery-your reminder of Jesus gave me chills. We have a God who would take His own son and actually go through with His brutal sacrifice on the cross for the sake of having a relationship with us! How great is our God!