Week 22: God Who Provides

Monday: Genesis 22

Tuesday: Matthew 22

Wednesday: Nehemiah 12

Thursday: Acts 22

Friday: Genesis 22, Matthew 22, Nehemiah 12, Acts 22

Reflections

Monday, Genesis 22: 

I can’t ever read Genesis 22 without tearing up. Abraham’s obedience is astounding. So is His trust in God, and the certainty with which he says, “God will provide the lamb,” in the face of an unfathomable situation. I long for this kind of trust and certainty of who God is.

And then, even more amazing than the obedience of Abraham is the provision of God. It gives me chills thinking about that ram in the thicket. Because I know that God is still the God of that kind of provision. He provided Christ, the promised Lamb, the sacrifice needed to redeem me. And if He can provide that, then surely I can trust and believe He will provide everything I need.

Spend some time today reflecting on Romans 8:32 – “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

If He has provided His Son, the ultimate sacrifice, the greatest gift, He will not fail to provide what you need in this season, friend. He doesn’t always give us what we want, but we can rest securely knowing He will provide exactly what we need for our good and His glory – every single time.

Tuesday, Matthew 22:

Our God prepares good things for His children! Because we are His, we will receive an invitation to the wedding feast. And the very best way to express our gratitude for this promise is to love the Lord and to love others. This is the sum total of what He wants from us and what He wants for others here on earth – love. All the commandments point back to this. We don’t love so we can find favor with God, we love because we have found favor with God, and living in His grace gives us what we need to love sacrificially in big ways and in little everyday ways.

Spend some time today praising Jesus for your invitation to the wedding feast of the Lamb in eternity.

How does this knowledge equip you to better love Him and love others?

Wednesday, Nehemiah 12:

If the wedding feast doesn’t give us a clear enough picture of Heaven – here’s another one. These priests and Levites are people who have devoted their whole lives to God and His people. And here they are, named. They each have a place and they each give praise to God and respond to each other’s praises to God – what a picture of the Kingdom! This is what Heaven will be, a place prepared for each individual, each known and loved by God, each responding to one another in praise, worshipping together with one voice. They joyfully dedicate all they have done to the Lord who has provided for them, who has made it all possible. What a glorious celebration!

Are you cultivating this kind of Kingdom culture and experience here on earth as it is in Heaven?

Practice today sharing your praise of God out loud with friends, family or neighbors. Respond in praise as they share theirs. Worship together, laugh together. This is a little glimpse of eternity!

Thursday, Acts 22:

I love Paul’s testimony, and even more, I love the boldness with which he shares it. He doesn’t share with shame or guilt, but as a clear indication and proof of what God can do with a life turned toward Him.

God has chosen us – you! – no matter your past, no matter your guilt or shame, to know His will and to see the Righteous One, Jesus! If we know this good Father, who provides us His Son and all other good gifts, how can we not tell the world?

Are there parts of your story that you are ashamed of?

How can those be a testimony to the goodness and provision of God that encourages others?

Friday Reflections:

I already mentioned that I love the story of Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah. Such a story of courage, obedience, and God’s clear provision.

The chapter starts by saying God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

“Here I am,” Abraham replied.

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.”

The Scripture says that early the next morning, Abraham got up and loaded his donkey.

Can you imagine? There doesn’t seem to be any argument here. He just loaded up his donkey? I don’t know about you, but I am certainly not this quick to respond when God asks something of me, and I especially don’t think I would be if He was asking for my child.

Can you imagine the pain and confusion of Abraham as he loads his donkey with firewood? As he treks up the pebbly mountain with his beloved son walking beside him? This is the son whom he prayed for. This is the son that God Himself promised to him, to make him a great nation. He had promised an everlasting covenant to this son and his descendants. And now He would take him away? 

And yet, faithfully, courageously, he loads up that donkey and he climbs the mountain.

Have you ever been there? Looking at your own plans, the things you thought God had promised you and just wondering, “Why, Lord? How can this be good, Lord?”

Do you wish you had this kind of blind and crazy trust, this kind of resolute courage?

Me, too.

I envision Isaac plodding along next to his father, the firewood on his back. Genesis says that Abraham carried the knife and the fire, and I wonder if his hands trembled with the unknown, with the weight of the task that the Lord had asked of him.

Isaac is uncertain.

“The fire and the wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

Abraham answered, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”

I just can’t get over Abraham’s certainty. It is a bold claim he makes, seemingly unwavering, and he says it before he can even see any proof of it: God will provide the lamb. He seems so sure.

Do I believe this? That whatever the mountain is, no matter how steep or seemingly hopeless, though the pebbles slip under my feet as I trudge onward, God will provide? That no matter what I’ve been asked to sacrifice, God will provide? God will provide the strength, God will provide the grace, God will provide the way?

That’s courage, isn’t it? To look up at our mountains, whatever they are and trust Him and proclaim that God will be enough, because He will provide Himself.

Abraham builds his altar and piles it with wood. He binds his son there and reaches out his hand to slay him. His trust in God to provide a way out is unimaginable. And just as he lifts his hand, he hears a voice from heaven call his name, stopping him, instructing him to lay aside his knife.

 “And Abraham looked and there in the thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns.…”

Sometimes we feel like the one carrying the knife, climbing that mountain with our faces set against the wind and wondering all the long way why God would call us to this, how He could ask this thing of us.

Where is your Mount Moriah? Maybe it’s your church, your ministry, or just your family and your home life and you feel like you’ve hit a wall, a climb so steep, and you’re so exhausted, you aren’t even sure you want to do this anymore.  Or perhaps your Mount Moriah is your relationships – with your spouse or your children or your closest friends.  It’s lonely on this mountain road, trying to be faithful to what God is asking of you. What is God asking you to lay on the altar? 

Do you think it could be that what God is after most is our surrender? The laying down of your life and your plans and the opening of your hands to His? Could it be He doesn’t want your leadership skills or your productivity or your big plans as much as He wants you? Just you.

Maybe, the greatest courage is to lay it all down. To look up the mountain and tremble with fear but don’t let it stop you.  Do it anyway, knowing God’s way is better and that ultimately He will provide the very best – His Son, the sacrificial Lamb. God will give us a ram in the thicket.  He will give us Himself.    

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