February 13 – Day 44 A very hard story . . .
After these events, God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” Abraham answered, “I’m here.” 2 God said, “Take your son, your only son whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah. Offer him up as an entirely burned offering there on one of the mountains that I will show you.” 3 Abraham got up early in the morning, harnessed his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, together with his son Isaac. He split the wood for the entirely burned offering, set out, and went to the place God had described to him.
4 On the third day, Abraham looked up and saw the place at a distance. 5 Abraham said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will walk up there, worship, and then come back to you.”
6 Abraham took the wood for the entirely burned offering and laid it on his son Isaac. He took the fire and the knife in his hand, and the two of them walked on together. 7 Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father?”
Abraham said, “I’m here, my son.” Isaac said, “Here is the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the entirely burned offering?” 8 Abraham said, “The lamb for the entirely burned offering? God will see to it, my son.” The two of them walked on together.
9 They arrived at the place God had described to him. Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He tied up his son Isaac and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. 11 But the Lord’s messenger called out to Abraham from heaven, “Abraham? Abraham?” Abraham said, “I’m here.”
12 The messenger said, “Don’t stretch out your hand against the young man, and don’t do anything to him. I now know that you revere God and didn’t hold back your son, your only son, from me.” 13 Abraham looked up and saw a single ram caught by its horns in the dense underbrush. Abraham went over, took the ram, and offered it as an entirely burned offering instead of his son. 14 Abraham named that place “the Lord sees.” That is the reason people today say, “On this mountain the Lord is seen.”
15 The Lord’s messenger called out to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I give my word as the Lord that because you did this and didn’t hold back your son, your only son, 17 I will bless you richly and I will give you countless descendants, as many as the stars in the sky and as the grains of sand on the seashore. They will conquer their enemies’ cities. 18 All the nations of the earth will be blessed because of your descendants, because you obeyed me.” 19 After Abraham returned to the young men, they got up and went to Beer-sheba where Abraham lived.
Comment: I added italic for emphasis on Abraham’s response to God. I cannot imagine how this scene would be played were one to enact it. But I see Abraham in slow motion, dragging out the moment his every step in deep anticipation of God’s rescue. As a modern parent I see what could have happened, and shutter. In Hebrew narrative, the drama is meant to emphasize God’s saving rescue. In Abraham we also see John 3:16 – For God so loved the world . . .
The Gospel of John 14:15-31
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 I will ask the Father, and he will send another Companion, who will be with you forever. 17 This Companion is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world can’t receive because it neither sees him nor recognizes him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be with you.
18 “I won’t leave you as orphans. I will come to you. 19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live too. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them loves me. Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” 22 Judas (not Judas Iscariot) asked, “Lord, why are you about to reveal yourself to us and not to the world?”
23 Jesus answered, “Whoever loves me will keep my word. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Whoever doesn’t love me doesn’t keep my words. The word that you hear isn’t mine. It is the word of the Father who sent me. 25 “I have spoken these things to you while I am with you. 26 The Companion, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I told you.
27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid. 28 You have heard me tell you, ‘I’m going away and returning to you.’ If you loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than me. 29 I have told you before it happens so that when it happens you will believe. 30 I won’t say much more to you because this world’s ruler is coming. He has nothing on me. 31 Rather, he comes so that the world will know that I love the Father and do just as the Father has commanded me. Get up. We’re leaving this place.
Comment: John 14 is my favorite chapter of the Bible and presents such a contrast to some of our hard readings in Genesis. Thank you Jesus!
Psalm 31:1-15 (Good News)
I come to you, Lord, for protection;
never let me be defeated.
You are a righteous God;
save me, I pray!
2 Hear me! Save me now!
Be my refuge to protect me;
my defense to save me.
3 You are my refuge and defense;
guide me and lead me as you have promised.
4 Keep me safe from the trap that has been set for me;
shelter me from danger.
5 I place myself in your care.
You will save me, Lord;
you are a faithful God.
6 You hate those who worship false gods,
but I trust in you.
7 I will be glad and rejoice
because of your constant love.
You see my suffering;
you know my trouble.
8 You have not let my enemies capture me;
you have given me freedom to go where I wish.
9 Be merciful to me, Lord,
for I am in trouble;
my eyes are tired from so much crying;
I am completely worn out.
10 I am exhausted by sorrow,
and weeping has shortened my life.
I am weak from all my troubles;[b]
even my bones are wasting away.
11 All my enemies, and especially my neighbors,
treat me with contempt.
Those who know me are afraid of me;
when they see me in the street, they run away.
12 Everyone has forgotten me, as though I were dead;
I am like something thrown away.
13 I hear many enemies whispering;
terror is all around me.
They are making plans against me,
plotting to kill me.
14 But my trust is in you, O Lord;
you are my God.
15 I am always in your care;
save me from my enemies,
from those who persecute me.
Prayer: “I am God’s child, deserving of love and respect, and God will use me to change the world.”