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Genesis 22

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

TUESDAY, AUGUST 15

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 22

Yesterday we read about the birth of Isaac as the miraculous fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah.  Although it took many years between the time that God first promised them a child and the time a child was actually born, God is never late nor is He ever early.  He is always right on time.

So Isaac was born.  The promise is fulfilled.  Abraham and Sarah can relax.  And then we get to chapter 22.  God told Abraham to take Isaac to Moriah and offer Isaac as a burnt offering.  I cannot imagine the horror that must have gripped Abraham when he heard this.  I can’t imagine the hesitation he must have struggled with.  I can’t imagine the obedience/disobedience he must have wrestled with.  But all we are told in verse 3 is Abraham got up and headed toward Moriah to do what God had instructed him.  Earlier in this story we read that Abraham believed God.  This is incredible evident here.  This is some crazy believing from my perspective.

As you get a bit further into the story, you will see where Isaac was struggling with what was going on.  He realized there was no lamb for the offering.  It is at this point in the story that the Gospel begins to be unveiled.

In verse 6, we find Isaac carrying the wood that would be used for the burnt offering.  This obviously prefigures Jesus carrying His cross to Golgotha.  In fact, Isaac and his father are going up a mountain.  Jesus’ crucifixion also took place on a hill.

In verse 8, after Isaac asks about the “lamb”, Abraham answers with the idea that God will provide for Himself the lamb.  And again, this obviously prefigures the incredible fact that God provided Jesus as the “Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world”.  

From there the story goes on to Isaac being bound and placed on the altar.  (Jesus was nailed to the cross.)  And Abraham raises the knife to do the unspeakable and unimaginable.  It is that pivotal moment in the story that the angel of the Lord appears and stops Abraham.

When we come to verse 13, the focus of the story changes a bit but the Gospel is still the main thing.  A ram is suddenly discovered.  The description is that the ram was caught in the thicket.  This word literally refers to brambles or thorns.  So at this point, we see the crown of thorns around the head of Jesus.  And the ram is offered as the sacrifice.

This offering of the ram is a wonderful picture of the substitutionary sacrifice that is at the heart of the Gospel.  Jesus went to the cross in our place.  He was and is our substitute.  God allowed His Son to die in our place for our sins.  And because allowed that to happen, He graciously allows the resurrected Savior to be our source of life abundant and life eternal.

What an amazing Gospel!  What a glorious Savior!

Posted by Joe Ligon with 0 Comments

Genesis 21

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

MONDAY, AUGUST 14

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 21

The story of Abraham and Sarah continues on in this chapter with some remarkable circumstances.  Abraham and Sarah would conceive and bear a child.  In actuality, this was more than the birth of a child.  It was a fulfillment of God’s promises.  Abraham and Hagar had conceived some 14 years earlier and Ishmael was born.  But he was not the child of promise.  Ishmael was the result of the natural procreation process. 

Romans 4:17-21 tells us that sometime after Ishmael was born, Abraham’s and Sarah’s bodies were “as good as dead”.  That means that they were no longer physically able to produce or have children.  It was at that time that God saw to it that Isaac would be born to Abraham and Sarah.  In other words, Isaac was not conceived because of Abraham and Sarah.  He was conceived and born as the fulfillment of God’s miraculous promise and power.

The name Isaac means “laughter” or “he laughs”.  This could go back to Genesis 18:12 which says Sarah laughed to herself when she heard the heavenly visitors say she would have a son.  As you finish the story in Genesis 18, it is obvious that Sarah laughed out of disbelief.  She believed she was physically unable to conceive and bear a child. 

But when you get to Genesis 21:6, it seems that Sarah’s laughter of disbelief has turned into laughter of great joy.  She believed that others would laugh with her (not at her anymore because she had been barren but with her) because she was able to have a child.  Every time she called Isaac’s name, she was in effect reminding herself of what was once her disbelief now being her great joy. 

In verse 8, Isaac was weaned.  From history we know that means he was probably about three years old.  Abraham throws a huge party and it is then that Sarah sees Ishmael laughing.  His laughter is probably not for joy in the life of young Isaac.  Most believe Ishmael was mocking Isaac.  Interestingly enough, Ishmael was around 17 years old when this occurred. 

Sarah was indignant about all of this and demanded that Abraham send Hagar and her teenage son away.  Abraham resisted until God told him that not only would He make a great nation (Israel) from Isaac’s descendents.  God also told him that He would make a nation from Ishmael because Ishmael was Abraham’s child as well.  The nation(s) that would come from Ishmael was the Arab people.

As Hagar and Ishmael journeyed through the wilderness, they ran out of water.  Hagar was quite convinced they would both die there.  As you might imagine, Hagar wept (verse 16).  But notice in verse 17 that God heard and responded to Ishmael’s voice instead of Hagar’s.  God’s promise to Abraham was through Ishmael not Hagar.  Therefore, it was Ishmael that God reacted to.  It is true that God spoke to Hagar but the main purpose in speaking to her was to remind her that He had promised to make a great nation out of Ishmael’s descendents.

Looking back through this part of the story, it becomes most obvious that if Abraham had not listened to and succumbed to Sarah’s idea that he have a child with Hagar, the history of the Middle East and the world would be different.  Perhaps significantly different. 

But Abraham did listen to her.  He did have a child with Hagar.  And the history of the world is what it is.  It is easy to be disappointed with and even disgusted with Abraham and Sarah.  But we must be careful not to miss the point that even through all the twists and turns of the story, God was most faithful.  He did what He said He would do.  Despite, the sinfulness of the characters of this story, God was still faithful.

Posted by Joe Ligon with 0 Comments

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