Devotions on Genesis 21:1-3; 22:1-13–Abraham Sacrifices Isaac
September 11-17, 2017
Monday, September 11, 2017–Abraham Sacrifices Isaac
“The Lord dealt with Sarah as he had said” (Genesis 21:1).
Promises are important to keep. We all know how devastating broken promises can be. They can destroy relationships. On the other hand, if a person has a reputation of keeping promises, it is easy to place our trust in him or her.
Sarah’s walk with God had been long and often challenging. Through all those years, the Lord had kept the promises that God had made to Abram and Sarai. All of them, that is, except one. Now, near the end of Sarah’s life, God was keeping this final promise.
God is a God who keeps promises. At times we may think God has made promises that God hasn’t really made. These include living a comfortable life; being pain and problem free. God has promised to always love us, always be present in our lives and always forgive us. God never breaks God’s promises.
Lord, thank you that you are the rock of our lives on whom we can depend. Amen.
Tuesday, September 12, 2017–Abraham Sacrifices Isaac
“Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age” (Genesis 21:2)
Kendell had applied to several colleges and she had been accepted to most of them. She had not, however, been accepted to the college that she really wanted to attend. That college told her that she had been placed on a waiting list. She prayed and the months passed. Nothing happened so Kendell resigned herself to attending her second choice. Two months before the start of classes, Kendell received a letter that announced she had been accepted to her first choice.
We never can figure out God’s timing. It always seems to be very different from ours. Sarah waited decades for God to keep God’s promise and for her to bear a child. Whatever God’s reasons, God did keep God’s promise. Sarah did bear a child and God was glorified. God moves the same way in our lives—in God’s own time and to God’s glory.
Lord, grant us the patience we need to wait for you to move at the right time. Amen.
Wednesday, September 13, 2017–Abraham Sacrifices Isaac
“Now Sarah said, ‘God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me” (Genesis 21:6).
In today’s terms, Sarah’s pregnancy was an “at risk” pregnancy. Sarah was well beyond childbearing years and there were a lot of things that could have gone wrong. Her extended family of relatives, workers and slaves worried about her and the unborn child all of those months. When she gave birth and new life began, it was a time for celebration—a time for laughter and singing.
When God moves, it is a time for celebration. Prayers are answered. Hopes become a reality and struggles cease—at least for a little while.
Lord, thank you for your steadfast presence and constant movement in our lives. Amen.
Thursday, September 14, 2017–Abraham Sacrifices Isaac
“After these things God tested Abraham” (Genesis 22:1).
Tests are never fun, especially pop quizzes. It’s one thing to study hard for a test, gain command of the material and then take a test that is able to show your knowledge of the material. Pop quizzes are different. They don’t measure how much you know of a subject, but rather if you are retaining the material that you are learning. Abraham was given the granddaddy of all pop quizzes.
Abraham had been walking with God for many, many years. God had given Abraham land, wealth and even a son. Also, God was keeping the promises that God had made with Abraham and Sarah so long ago when God had first called them. God decided to see if Abraham had learned the lesson: Would the gift (Isaac) be placed above the giver? Would Abraham be able to trust that God would continue to provide?
As followers of Jesus, we are tested frequently. The purpose of these pop quizzes is not to make us fail, but rather to assure that we succeed. God wants to remind us that God is number one in our lives and that God will continue to provide for us in the same manner that God always has provided for us.
Holy Spirit, move in our hearts and lives that we may grow in faith and love and be able to pass the pop quizzes that we encounter. Amen.
Friday, September 15, 2017–Abraham Sacrifices Isaac
“So Abraham rose early in the morning” (Genesis 22:3).
Like the rest of us, Abraham struggled in his walk of faith. When in Egypt he feared Pharaoh. Abraham asked Sarah to tell Pharaoh that he was Sarah’s brother. Pharaoh took Sarah into his harem and left Abraham alone. Another time, Abraham waited scores of years to have a child. When Sarah didn’t conceive, Abraham decided to have an heir through Hagar, Sarah’s servant. Sometimes Abraham had no problem trusting God and at other times the trust wasn’t there. Sound familiar?
In this story, Abraham appears confident. He doesn’t put off the test, instead he rose early in the morning in order to begin his journey. Abraham seems confident that God will provide the sacrifice.
We begin our days, like Abraham, confident that we will overcome the challenges and pass the pop quizzes of life. If we fall or fail, God does not desert us. Rather, God continues to be by our side, helps us get up, shake off the dust, and start anew. When we succeed, God celebrates with us, pats us on our backs and says, “Come on, there’s more ahead for us.”
Lord, you have given us the gift of faith. Enable us to use it well so that you are honored and people experience your love and grace. Amen.
Saturday, September 16, 2 017–Abraham Sacrifices Isaac
“God himself will provide the lamb” (Genesis 22:8).
On that mountain top, there was no flock of sheep nearby. Still, Abraham believed that God would provide. Abraham had good reason to believe this. God had provided for him, his wife Sarah and their entire household for the decades since they had responded to God’s invitation to follow God to the Promised Land. God had proven that God was trustworthy.
No matter what our situations in life, God will provide. God will provide us with the love, grace, forgiveness and hope that we need. God will provide us with the strength and courage that are required of us to persevere. We do not need to look to ourselves and ask ourselves if we are capable. Our faith is not in ourselves, but rather it is in God who is capable and will provide.
Lord, thank you that you will provide whatever we need today and in the days ahead. Amen.
Sunday, September 17, 2017–Abraham Sacrifices Isaac
“For now I know that you fear God” (Genesis 22:12).
Jennifer had been asked to her first high school party. Her parents debated whether or not Jennifer was ready to handle such an occasion. They decided that there was only one way to find out if Jennifer was ready and that was to allow her to attend the party. They sent Jennifer off that evening with a long litany of “don’ts” and “watch outs.” Jennifer returned home later that night after having a good time at the party while also following her parents directives. Jennifer’s parent’s feelings that she could handle herself at a party were turned into facts.
God knew Abraham’s heart. Sometimes, though, what’s in our hearts doesn’t get translated to our outward actions. On that mountain, so long ago, Abraham demonstrated that he lived out what he said he believed. As followers of Jesus, the same challenge—to practice what we preach—is before us. Living lives of integrity, shows God that our words and actions back up our faith. Our words and actions also reveal the sincerity of our hearts to the people around us.
Lord, may you always be first in our lives and may our words and deeds show this. Amen.