“Why don’t you come sit with me first?” A gentle reminder from the Lord is felt in my heart almost daily. There is no force or guilt involved, just a gentle expression of love from a father to his daughter. It feels silly to think I have ever turned him away. But I have.
In the many times I have come willingly, putting him first before my day starts, I am reminded why it is so good to spend time with my father. It’s not that he’s trying to make me abide by his rules. No, he wants to bless me. Whether it’s through a revelation or a hint of his presence, I am undone by his love.
So today I was led by my devotion to read the old story of Abraham’s testing. Will he sacrifice his son for God? I have read this story a few times already and learned it in church; I know this story well. I find that when God leads us to read a story we know so well, he often wants to reveal a new reason for writing that story.
I started on verse 1 of Genesis 22 but it wasn’t until verse 12 that God showed me something. “He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.” Your ONLY son…hmmm, where have I heard this before? “For God so loved the world that he gave his ONLY son…” (John 3:16) There’s a connection here.
At the very moment I read those verses I was blown away. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son for him knowing that one day HE would be sacrificing his son for Abraham. This foreshadow is mind-blowing. It’s like God was wondering, is it possible for man to love me as much as I love man? God knew that Abraham’s sacrifice couldn’t save the world for eternity. Abraham’s sacrifice couldn’t wipe away the religious task of sacrificing a lamb for the atonement of our sins. It simply showed God the amount of love man could possibly hold in his heart. As destructive as sin naturally makes us, Abraham proved, for all mankind, that we are still made in God’s image and thus can selflessly love just as much as God can.
I mean, just a short while back, God had basically given up on man. He was done. To think if Noah and his family weren’t God-fearing, where would that leave us? Non-existent? Possibly. I don’t know, but I do know how the story really went. And many, many years after Abraham laid the wood and willingly put his son on the altar in submission to God, God willingly put his son on the altar made of a wooden cross. God eternally banished the religious practice of sacrificing a lamb for the atonement of our sins with the life of his own son. Not only did Abraham prove the great love man is capable of having in his heart, he also felt God’s pain before God did. A part of me thinks, God wasn’t just testing how much Abraham feared God, God also wanted to see if his creation was worth sacrificing his own son for. Abraham’s one act of faith showed him that we are.
As I realized all this, I am more wooed by my father once again. I am so blessed. It is clear that his desire to spend time with me is not just for him, but so very much for me.