God Provides

Genesis 22:9-14

When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied.

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

Introduction

Before God created the first mankind, He prepared everything needed for mankind to live on earth. Adam didn’t wait many months for trees to bear fruit. Fruits were ready to eat when God created the first man. That was the first illustration that God provides.

The Lord told Adam in Genesis 2:16-17, 16You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.

The first instruction was freedom to eat whatever Adam desired from any tree in the garden. It implies that all fruit trees in the Garden of Eden were edible or good for food. Adam should be satisfied living in the garden.

Except from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (“K.O.G.A.E.” tree), the Lord specifically told Adam to eat from any tree in the garden.

Why eat? Why not work, play, sleep, travel or take selfie of creation?

Food represents provision and sustenance. God provides and sustains our needs. By faith, we trust that God prepared all we need for righteous life. When He calls us, He sustains our needs to accomplish His purposes.

When Abraham obeyed the Lord, he believed that God will provide for what he needed. He told his son that God will provide even before it happened. He experienced God’s provision that’s why he resolved to obey.

1. Resolve

       9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

Reaching Mt. Moriah practically exhibited Abraham’s resolve to obey.

Abraham was more than 100 years old. His old age should have been a tolerable reason to disregard the Lord’s command. Travelling for three days to the mountainous terrain of Moriah, they must have been very tired, ehy?

The ultimate test of faith is not relaxing. It requires determination and definite decision to get through it. Abraham was determined to obey.

When they reached the region of Moriah, Abraham made an altar, placed the wood on it, tied up Isaac, placed him on top of the wood, and reached his knife to slay his son.  When Abraham reached and took the knife to slay his son, it affirmed more obviously that he resolved to obey God.

Someone suggests that when Isaac carried the wood for burnt offering, it illustrated Christ carrying His cross. Nonetheless, God prevented Abraham to sacrifice Isaac but God the Father allowed His Son Jesus Christ to die.

Abraham trusted that God’s order was designed for his betterment. God let His Son to be sacrificed for our sin.

It says in Hebrews 2:9, Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

Jesus obeyed God the Father even unto His death because He knew the reward waiting for Him. As we grow in faith, we grow in obedience to God also, and we grow in our hope that God will reward our obedience.

If God tests you and say, “Sacrifice your love ones,” would you obey? Listen: God won’t give the same command He gave to Abraham. He won’t ask anyone to sacrifice their one and only son again, why? His command to Abraham was specifically and uniquely designed for Abraham only.

The Scripture has no record that God gave exact order that He gave to Abraham but Christ has similar command for anyone who believes Him.

He says in Matthew 19:29, 29And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.

To leave love ones and assets practically tests faith for believers.

This test reveals how much resolve and determination believers have.

Christ has exemplified what He requires us to do.

Paul wrote in Philippians 2:6-8, Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

Apostle Paul wrote and believed this revelation he received from God.

In obedience to the Lord, Paul left his prestigious life in the office of Pharisee after he put his faith in Christ. He testified in Philippians 3:8, What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ. 

We want to obey the Lord but we delay it, why. When our faith in Christ grows mature, we also grow in our resolve to obey Him. We realize that obedience to God is much precious than following our natural instinct. 

Dollar Bills

One Christmas, someone held $50, $20, $10, and $5 bills and asked a child to choose one. Older people told the little boy to pick the $50 bill but he picked $5 bill. For the child, blue $5 is more appealing than red $50 bill.

Mature people knew that $50 bill is more valuable than the blue colour of $5 bill. Similarly, when we mature spiritually, we would know that obedience to the Lord is far more valuable than our natural instinct.

Abraham has proven that obedience has practical benefits. Isaac was not hurt. God provided a ram for burnt offering. An angel confirmed that Abraham feared and revered the Lord.

2. Revere

11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. 12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

God knows that Abraham reveres Him. Abraham has resolved to obey even the toughest test of faith. He never complained. He never argued when God told him to sacrifice his son. Obedience is reverence to God.

The biblical term “fear” is reverence that is practically displayed when we obey the Lord. When Christ’s Spirit is active, He convicts us to fear God.

The term “fear” is expounded in Deuteronomy 10:12-13, 12 What does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?

To fear the Lord is to obey, love, and serve Him, and observe His commands. Fear of God is designed to benefits believers. His decrees are stipulations and guidelines to receive blessing God prepared for obedience.

It says in Matthew 18:2-4, He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 

The Lord Jesus called, and the child came and stood before the crowd. He used the obedient child as object lesson to teach the right attitude of citizens of heaven. Believers obey like the child. No hesitation to come and stand before the crowd when Jesus called the little to Him.

Humble obedience has no hesitation, no argument, just trust. Some people are misled by doing something to prove that they believe God.

Good Idea

Good ideas are not necessarily acceptable to God. It is written in Matthew 17:1-5, 1Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

Did God imply that He did not need from Peter any suggestion of what to do  The voice of God commanded to listen and obey His Son Jesus and not make any suggestion even if they are good ideas.

To build 3 shelters for Jesus, Moses and Elijah was bright idea of Peter. He did not even think of asking the help of James and John when Peter said, “I will put up 3 shelters!” Did he want to impress the Lord, Moses and Elijah? Did Peter want to impress them with good idea?

How many are disappointed and don’t want to participate in the ministry because their ideas have been rejected?

God didn’t say, “I don’t like your good idea, Peter!” It’s not rejected. He just wanted them to listen first to His Son. If the sun was shining bright, Peter’s suggestion was good but not appropriate at that time, not needed.

Our approach to church ministry, family business, or career path, it is necessary to pray before making plans and decision to know the proper timing when to implement great ideas that God may bring into our mind.  To know the will of God prevents unnecessary waste of effort and time.

When Abraham resolved to obey God, he has determined what to do. When they reached the region of Moriah, he made an altar, put firewood, placed his son on it, and started the sacrifice but God prevented him.

Abraham did not argue why God stopped him. He turned around and saw a ram. God replaced Isaac with a ram for burnt offering.

3. Replace

13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

Abraham has resolved. He has decided in his heart to obey God even if it meant to sacrifice the child he loved the most. God knew how much Isaac meant to Abraham. He prevented Isaac to be sacrificed, and provided a ram for Abraham to sacrifice as replacement for burnt offering.

When God provided for Abraham’s offering, does it mean that God provides for our offering? When our faith is active, we give offering to God because we believe that our offering to God has actually come from Him.

It says in Galatians 5:17, 17For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.

It also teaches in Romans 8:5-8, Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

God wants to receive only things that originated from Him. He does not want anything that originated from us, why? Anything that originated from human is unpleasant to God. Things originated from human are sinful.

But wait! When God stop Abraham, was Isaac not pleasing to Him that He provided a ram for burnt offering as replacement for Isaac?

Or, does it teach us that God would take care of our love ones if we sacrifice them just to obey Him?

We are possessive and protective to our family. We work doubly hard to secure the future of our children.

Can we be more caring than God?

Can we love our children more than God love our children?

Can we secure their future more than God can secure them?

Billy Graham

At the age of 99, Billy Graham died (Nov. 7, 1918—Feb. 21, 2018).

When asked if Billy could live his ministry life over again, he replied, “I would speak less and study more, and I would spend more time with my family, I would also spend more time in spiritual nurture, seeking to grow closer to God so I could become more like Christ.”

His wife Ruth said, “Those of us who were off traveling missed the best part of our lives – enjoying the children as they grew.”

Billy admitted, “I now know that I came through those years much the poorer both psychologically and emotionally. I missed so much by not being home to see the children grow and develop. One thing I have absolutely no regrets, however, and that is my commitment many years ago to accept God’s calling to serve Him as an evangelist of the Gospel of Christ.”

Billy Graham was never an ideal father that we can dream of. He was an absentee father. His children have their share of youthful naughtiness but all of them have grown up serving the Lord that many parents may envy.

With Billy’s resolve to serve God, the Lord gave him a very supportive and prayerful wife. Billy desired to have more time with his children, but God’s plan was far better than anyone can think or imagine. His ministry still affects many people’s life.

When we resolve to serve the Lord, He will take care of our children, He will provide for their need better than we can do, think or imagine.

<‘))):< ltsii/2018 >:(((‘>

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