Abraham went and took the ram
and offered it up as a burnt offering
instead of his son.
1. Letting go
God promises Abraham offspring, waits till he's 100 years old to finally give him one son, then asks him to sacrifice that son. That's a pretty big ask. We need to face the question Abraham did: What do you want more: God, or the things you want from God? Even if those things are very good, they're not God. What are the blessings you hang onto tighter than you hang onto God? Can you let go? Will you?
...”You can have all the world, give me Jesus...”
God is personified in this story. God doesn't really make specific “promises” of certain delayed outcomes (like having offspring—or being married or surviving disease...) then “keep” them. God also doesn't ask us to do one thing, planning all along to have us do something else. God is love, and love doesn't make deals or play tricks. God does not withhold blessings, though it often takes them time to unfold, and it takes us time to see them. Like the sun “promises” to shine by always shining, God “promises” to care for us and provide for us by always doing so. Do you trust that? Will you trust that even at the risk of losing a great deal?
...”There's no better way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey..”
A God who asks Abraham to kill his own son just to show his loyalty sounds like a really sick Mob boss. But when this story first arose, maybe 3500 years ago, child sacrifice was quite common. “Abraham” isn't an individual; he's the community. This is the story of how the ancient Hebrews outgrew child sacrifice. God never did want them to sacrifice children, but it took a long time for them to see that and find a better way: just sacrifice animals, not people. This is a story about how religion changes. How has God changed your religion? How might it still be changing?
… “Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me...”
—June 27, 2017