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Posts Tagged ‘Hope’

sparrow

I had a great morning yesterday.

I spent the morning in the garden, cleaning up an area where the roses needed a trim.

I had, intentionally, planned to do anything that resembled work (though the garbage can full of clippings and weeds might indicate that work did occur).

It was in the garden that I experienced the most joy. Earlier in the day, I had listened to a song produced by my daughter’s friend, that I loved in my youth, “His Eye is on the Sparrow”. As I wandered through the thorns of the roses the song was still in my mind, on my lips (thank goodness not a human pair of ears were within listening range, for I am only a large group singer).

The garden was a mess. The last time I had weeded and trimmed was mid March. The weeds had gone to seed, the roses were bundles of withered mess.

I sing, because I’m happy
I sing, because I’m free
For his eye is on the sparrow,
And I know he watches me.

The words played in my mind the whole time. The longer they played, the more daringly I sang (no one was home, and our neighbours live a safe distance to avoid ear damage from my version of singing). As the moments ticked on, the affirmation of security in the truth of those lyrics created the beauty of sanctuary in my weeds.

And that is what my life is often full of … weeds, and the need to have what is withered, what is worn and draining energy snipped, pruned and carried away. But, whatever state my heart and life are in, I have a heavenly father who is also the master gardener of my soul and life, and he watches over me.

“Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me”

 

“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent?
And yet not one of them will fall to the ground
apart from your Father.
“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
“So do not fear;
you are more valuable than many sparrows.”

Matthew 10:29-31

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“Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said,

“but where is the lamb or the burnt offering?

Abraham answered,

God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”

And the two of them went on together.”

Genesis 22:7-8

abraham_isaac_11I was reminded of the story of Abraham the other evening, as I was catching the first part of the Bible mini series (a five-part mini series, shown on Sunday evenings on the History Channel … but I watched it on YouTube).

Maybe it is the pictures, the artwork that has been created, but I envision Isaac to be thirteen (like my own son), and Abraham to be in his mid-seventies (like my father-in-law).

Together they had taken a three day trip that was announced by Abraham’s heavenly, and Isaac’s Earthly fathers.

Once the servants were left behind, it was just Abraham and Isaac … father and son … beginnings of a nation that could end on top of the very mountain they were climbing.

Isaac knew that blood, innocent blood, must be spilled and poured out, for their offering to be worthy of the One who would forgive them. This was the only way that their sin-filled lives could be made clean.

The sacrifice of a pure and spotless … perfect … lamb was not something that the people of the time (or any time) relished. The spilling of the blood of one of God’s creatures was not something that the people took joy in doing. The did it because they knew that they were sinful, they knew that they needed forgiveness, they knew that their every opportunity for survival was in the hands of their Creator.

When Abraham responded to Isaac, with assurance and confidence, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son,” I think he was revealing something important about two relationships …

He had faith in God, that He would provide the lamb, just as He had provided all that was in Abraham’s life. His continued steps forward tells us that if the lamb that God provided was the son at his side, he was still willing to move toward that alter.

His response to Isaac did not result in Isaac asking the question “how would God provide?” To me, this tells us that the father and son relationship between these two was deeper than just a blood relationship, but that Isaac trusted his earthly father …

much like Abraham trusted his heavenly Father.

They reached the place that God had told Abraham about, and he built an alter.

Then they lay the wood for burning on top of it.

Everything was ready for the sacrifice …

Except

the lamb.

I can imagine Abraham looking around, eyes searching for something, anything else to sacrifice, except for his son.

I can imagine Isaac also searching …

and maybe wondering …

At some point the truth would have been revealed … how I wish that the Bible tells us of that conversation.

I do know, from what I have read, that up until little more than a hundred years ago, or so, people did not expect long lives, filled with ease and comfort. Life was hard, it was common for death to come early, and in tragic ways … and that was just life.

Isaac was thirteen’ish

Abraham was seventy-five’ish

Although the Bible does say that he laid Isaac on the alter, I do not think that he, in his older age, could have done so if Isaac was squirming and fighting, and moving around. My son of similar age to Isaac, certainly could put up a good physical fight against his grandfather, of similar age to Abraham!

Isaac had to have submitted to his father’s authority, and

allowed his father to tie him up

to lay him on the alter

I can only imagine the look in their tear-filled, fear-filled eyes.

I can only imagine their hearts,

beating in unison

praying in unison

for another pure, spotless lamb to be provided

I can only imagine the trust that this young man has in his father to lay there

I can only imagine the trust that this old man has in his Father-God to take hold of the knife

“But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven,

“Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

“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.”

Genesis 22:11-12

And there, caught up in a thicket, was a ram.

He provided the lamb …

Freeing the responsibility of Abraham, of us, to provide it.

And He still provides the lamb,

blood spilled out on a cross

A God who knows that it is only by the spilling of the blood of the pure, and spotless … perfect that our sins could be erased.

And there was only one lamb who was

pure enough

spotless enough

perfect enough

His Son.

God’s Test-Isaac Part 1

Read Full Post »

“Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said,

“but where is the lamb or the burnt offering?

Abraham answered,

God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”

And the two of them went on together.”

Genesis 22:7-8

abraham_isaac_11I was reminded of the story of Abraham the other evening, as I was catching the first part of the Bible mini series (a five-part mini series, shown on Sunday evenings on the History Channel … but I watched it on YouTube).

Maybe it is the pictures, the artwork that has been created, but I envision Isaac to be thirteen (like my own son), and Abraham to be in his mid-seventies (like my father-in-law).

Together they had taken a three day trip that was announced by Abraham’s heavenly, and Isaac’s Earthly fathers.

Once the servants were left behind, it was just Abraham and Isaac … father and son … beginnings of a nation that could end on top of the very mountain they were climbing.

Isaac knew that blood, innocent blood, must be spilled and poured out, for their offering to be worthy of the One who would forgive them. This was the only way that their sin-filled lives could be made clean.

The sacrifice of a pure and spotless … perfect … lamb was not something that the people of the time (or any time) relished. The spilling of the blood of one of God’s creatures was not something that the people took joy in doing. The did it because they knew that they were sinful, they knew that they needed forgiveness, they knew that their every opportunity for survival was in the hands of their Creator.

When Abraham responded to Isaac, with assurance and confidence, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son,” I think he was revealing something important about two relationships …

He had faith in God, that He would provide the lamb, just as He had provided all that was in Abraham’s life. His continued steps forward tells us that if the lamb that God provided was the son at his side, he was still willing to move toward that alter.

His response to Isaac did not result in Isaac asking the question “how would God provide?” To me, this tells us that the father and son relationship between these two was deeper than just a blood relationship, but that Isaac trusted his earthly father …

much like Abraham trusted his heavenly Father.

They reached the place that God had told Abraham about, and he built an alter.

Then they lay the wood for burning on top of it.

Everything was ready for the sacrifice …

Except

the lamb.

I can imagine Abraham looking around, eyes searching for something, anything else to sacrifice, except for his son.

I can imagine Isaac also searching …

and maybe wondering …

At some point the truth would have been revealed … how I wish that the Bible tells us of that conversation.

I do know, from what I have read, that up until little more than a hundred years ago, or so, people did not expect long lives, filled with ease and comfort. Life was hard, it was common for death to come early, and in tragic ways … and that was just life.

Isaac was thirteen’ish

Abraham was seventy-five’ish

Although the Bible does say that he laid Isaac on the alter, I do not think that he, in his older age, could have done so if Isaac was squirming and fighting, and moving around. My son of similar age to Isaac, certainly could put up a good physical fight against his grandfather, of similar age to Abraham!

Isaac had to have submitted to his father’s authority, and

allowed his father to tie him up

to lay him on the alter

I can only imagine the look in their tear-filled, fear-filled eyes.

I can only imagine their hearts,

beating in unison

praying in unison

for another pure, spotless lamb to be provided

I can only imagine the trust that this young man has in his father to lay there

I can only imagine the trust that this old man has in his Father-God to take hold of the knife

“But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven,

“Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

“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.”

Genesis 22:11-12

And there, caught up in a thicket, was a ram.

He provided the lamb …

Freeing the responsibility of Abraham, of us, to provide it.

And He still provides the lamb,

blood spilled out on a cross

A God who knows that it is only by the spilling of the blood of the pure, and spotless … perfect that our sins could be erased.

And there was only one lamb who was

pure enough

spotless enough

perfect enough

His Son.

God’s Test-Isaac Part 1

Read Full Post »

“Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said,
“but where is the lamb or the burnt offering?
Abraham answered,
God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”
And the two of them went on together.”
Genesis 22:7-8

abraham_isaac_11I was reminded of the story of Abraham the other evening, as I was catching the first part of the Bible mini series (a five-part mini series, shown on Sunday evenings on the History Channel … but I watched it on YouTube).

Maybe it is the pictures, the artwork that has been created, but I envision Isaac to be thirteen (like my own son), and Abraham to be in his mid-seventies (like my father-in-law).

Together they had taken a three day trip that was announced by Abraham’s heavenly, and Isaac’s Earthly fathers.

Once the servants were left behind, it was just Abraham and Isaac … father and son … beginnings of a nation that could end on top of the very mountain they were climbing.

Isaac knew that blood, innocent blood, must be spilled and poured out, for their offering to be worthy of the One who would forgive them. This was the only way that their sin-filled lives could be made clean.

The sacrifice of a pure and spotless … perfect … lamb was not something that the people of the time (or any time) relished. The spilling of the blood of one of God’s creatures was not something that the people took joy in doing. The did it because they knew that they were sinful, they knew that they needed forgiveness, they knew that their every opportunity for survival was in the hands of their Creator.

When Abraham responded to Isaac, with assurance and confidence, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son,” I think he was revealing something important about two relationships …

He had faith in God, that He would provide the lamb, just as He had provided all that was in Abraham’s life. His continued steps forward tells us that if the lamb that God provided was the son at his side, he was still willing to move toward that alter.

His response to Isaac did not result in Isaac asking the question “how would God provide?” To me, this tells us that the father and son relationship between these two was deeper than just a blood relationship, but that Isaac trusted his earthly father …

much like Abraham trusted his heavenly Father.

They reached the place that God had told Abraham about, and he built an alter.

Then they lay the wood for burning on top of it.

Everything was ready for the sacrifice …

Except

the lamb.

I can imagine Abraham looking around, eyes searching for something, anything else to sacrifice, except for his son.

I can imagine Isaac also searching …

and maybe wondering …

At some point the truth would have been revealed … how I wish that the Bible tells us of that conversation.

I do know, from what I have read, that up until little more than a hundred years ago, or so, people did not expect long lives, filled with ease and comfort. Life was hard, it was common for death to come early, and in tragic ways … and that was just life.

Isaac was thirteen’ish

Abraham was seventy-five’ish

Although the Bible does say that he laid Isaac on the alter, I do not think that he, in his older age, could have done so if Isaac was squirming and fighting, and moving around. My son of similar age to Isaac, certainly could put up a good physical fight against his grandfather, of similar age to Abraham!

Isaac had to have submitted to his father’s authority, and

allowed his father to tie him up

to lay him on the alter

I can only imagine the look in their tear-filled, fear-filled eyes.

I can only imagine their hearts,

beating in unison

praying in unison

for another pure, spotless lamb to be provided

I can only imagine the trust that this young man has in his father to lay there

I can only imagine the trust that this old man has in his Father-God to take hold of the knife

“But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven,
“Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
“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.”
Genesis 22:11-12

And there, caught up in a thicket, was a ram.

He provided the lamb …

Freeing the responsibility of Abraham, of us, to provide it.

And He still provides the lamb,

blood spilled out on a cross

A God who knows that it is only by the spilling of the blood of the pure, and spotless … perfect that our sins could be erased.

And there was only one lamb who was

pure enough

spotless enough

perfect enough

His Son.

God’s Test-Isaac Part 1

Read Full Post »

“Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said,

“but where is the lamb or the burnt offering?

Abraham answered,

“God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”

And the two of them went on together.”

Genesis 22:7-8

2I was reminded of the story of Abraham the other evening, as I was catching the first part of the Bible mini series (a five-part mini series, shown on Sunday evenings on the History Channel … but I watched it on YouTube).

This story of Abraham and Isaac is one of my favorite stories in the entire Bible. It provides sufficient drama, intrigue, secrets and integrity to hold ones attention fully, and leaves you in awe, but still wondering when it is through.

Isaac intrigues me in this story. Although the Bible only records one interaction between he and his father, it is reasonable that there were many more …

perhaps discussing the humorous individuals in their camp of people

perhaps discussing the ewe about to birth

perhaps discussing the servant who always forgets to bring the morning meal on time

For Isaac, we presume that this trip was not out of routine, but a normal, common and regular movement of life.

Three days to journey.

Three days for this son, this son whose age we do not know (estimated to be anywhere between 5-30), to walk and talk with his aging father (well over seventy-five) who seems to be hanging onto every word Isaac speaks, and yet a million miles away at the same time.

On the third day of the journey, “he (Abraham) said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

WE … no reason for Isaac to doubt, to wonder, to worry.

But then, as Abraham is laying the wood for the burnt offering (tied together with the ropes that would hold the offering to the alter, no doubt) onto the back of his son, Isaac asks his father, “dad, we have the wood, we have the fire, but there is no lamb to suffer for our sins.”

Isaac knew that blood, innocent blood, must be spilled and poured out, for their offering to be worthy of the One who would forgive them. This was the only way that their sin-filled lives could be made clean.

Abraham responded with assurance and confidence again, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”

And doesn’t He always?

God, through the grace that only He can and does offer, provides.

He provides the redemption

He provides the forgiveness

He provides the lamb … his son.

Tomorrow, I will finish this mini-series on the testing of Abraham, with more about the lamb.

*This is a re-post, of a re-post, from a few years ago. The story of Sarah, Abraham and Isaac have always captivated me.

Read Full Post »

“Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said,
“but where is the lamb or the burnt offering?
Abraham answered,
“God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”
And the two of them went on together.”
Genesis 22:7-8

2I was reminded of the story of Abraham the other evening, as I was catching the first part of the Bible mini series (a five-part mini series, shown on Sunday evenings on the History Channel … but I watched it on YouTube).

This story of Abraham and Isaac is one of my favorite stories in the entire Bible. It provides sufficient drama, intrigue, secrets and integrity to hold ones attention fully, and leaves you in awe, but still wondering when it is through.

Isaac intrigues me in this story. Although the Bible only records one interaction between he and his father, it is reasonable that there were many more …

perhaps discussing the humorous individuals in their camp of people
perhaps discussing the ewe about to birth
perhaps discussing the servant who always forgets to bring the morning meal on time

For Isaac, we presume that this trip was not out of routine, but a normal, common and regular movement of life.

Three days to journey.

Three days for this son, this son whose age we do not know (estimated to be anywhere between 5-30), to walk and talk with his aging father (well over seventy-five) who seems to be hanging onto every word Isaac speaks, and yet a million miles away at the same time.

On the third day of the journey, “he (Abraham) said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

WE … no reason for Isaac to doubt, to wonder, to worry.

But then, as Abraham is laying the wood for the burnt offering (tied together with the ropes that would hold the offering to the alter, no doubt) onto the back of his son, Isaac asks his father, “dad, we have the wood, we have the fire, but there is no lamb to suffer for our sins.”

Isaac knew that blood, innocent blood, must be spilled and poured out, for their offering to be worthy of the One who would forgive them. This was the only way that their sin-filled lives could be made clean.

Abraham responded with assurance and confidence again, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”

And doesn’t He always?

God, through the grace that only He can and does offer, provides.

He provides the redemption

He provides the forgiveness

He provides the lamb … his son.

Tomorrow, I will finish this mini-series on the testing of Abraham, with more about the lamb.

*This is a re-post, of a re-post, from a few years ago. The story of Sarah, Abraham and Isaac have always captivated me.

Read Full Post »

“Then God said,

Take your son,

your only son, whom you love

—Isaac—

and go to the region of Moriah.

Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.””

Genesis 22:2

Those emboldened words make my heart skip a beat. That a loving God, Creator God, would ask such a thing of a father who has been told for so many years that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky?

abraham-and-isaac-on-mount-moriah-275x206

I was reminded of the story of Abraham the other evening, as I was catching the first part of the Bible mini series (a five-part mini series, shown on Sunday evenings on the History Channel … but I watched it on YouTube).

Although the Bible does not give an emotion-filled account of Abraham’s choice to listen to, and obey the message from God, I can only imagine the agonizing that he felt, that he experienced when God commanded him to sacrifice his son, through whom Abraham had believed God would fulfill his promise to make him the Father of many nations.

Abraham was an old man when this story enfolded. He probably appreciated the blessing of awakening each morning, still able to watch his son grow and still able to teach him how to be all that it is to be ‘man’. The son through whom Abraham’s name would continue to live, long after his earthly end.

To have put this hope for the future of his name upon his son might have caused Abraham to forget where his hope really was … in El Shaddai  … ‘God Almighty’ or ‘God the All-Sufficient One’. Maybe, as he was looking to the end of his life, Abraham was looking more to Isaac as the All-Sufficient One?

Whatever the reason for this ‘test’, God knew what Abraham would choose to do when He said,

Take your son,

your only son, whom you love

—Isaac—

and go to the region of Moriah.

Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

God was not looking for Abraham to shed the blood of his son … blood that was his (and Sarah’s) . God was looking for Abraham to prove his commitment … to put his money where his mouth was.

What a test!

Reading this account of Noah and Isaac reminded me of 1 Corinthians 10:13:

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.

And God is faithful;

he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.

But when you are tempted,

he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

Although God’s instruction to Abraham was not a temptation, the principle is still the same;

God will allow us to have struggles, temptations, testings … but never more than He knows we can handle (sometimes I wish He did not have so much faith in what I can handle) … and He IS faithful … He will provide a way out!

*This is a re-post, of a re-post, from a few years ago. The story of Sarah, Abraham and Isaac have always captivated me.

Read Full Post »

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