HOJN Edge #1

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HOJN Edge #1
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HOJN Edge #2
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HOJN Edge #3
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NTC Edge #1
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NTC Edge #2
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NTC Edge #3
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NTC Edge #5
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NTC Edge #6
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"The Edge" features creative perspectives and reflections associated with the subject matter presented on the Current Lesson page.


Study Series: HOJN
Historical Overview of the Jewish Nation

Edge #1: April 12, 2000

Scriptural Background

Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." He said, "Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you." So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you." Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together.  Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, "My father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." And he said, "Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" Abraham said, "God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." So the two of them walked on together.

Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.  Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.  But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am."  He said, "Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me."  Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son.  Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, "In the mount of the LORD it will be provided."  Then the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, "By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice." So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham lived at Beersheba.
(Genesis 22:1-19 NASB)

Abraham raised his eyes and looked up.  Only then did he see God's provision.  Only then did he see God's plan.  Only then did he see God's promise unfolded.  Not that he didn't trust in God, no, he believed without seeing.  No wonder it is written "Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." (John 20:29  NASB)  He took his precious little boy - the one that he gave life to, the one he watched take his first step - and in obedience gave him back to the one who created him in the first place.

Sounds like an extraordinary day?  Perhaps, but perchance it was that Abraham had already given his child back to the Lord from the moment of conception, and subsequently each and every day of his life.  After all, was it not the Lord that formed his inward parts, weaving him together in his mother's womb?  (See Psalm 139:13-14.)  Abraham was acting in obedience, and in all things he was giving thanks, and the Lord did indeed bless him and his family thereafter.  Why?  Because Abraham held nothing back.

We hold on to so much - so much that has such little value, so much that we clinch tightly in our fist.  "Mine!" we charge.  But is it really?  We can't let go of what doesn't really matter but we sure expect his blessings.  But what about letting go of what does matter?  Where did it all originate?  Our children - such a depiction of value!  And such a reflection of God's creation.  Our hearts rejoice in them and mourn with them, and never wish harm upon them.  We are created in such a way as to nurture and protect our children, to love them and guide them.  They are precious to us and they are ours - or are they really?  The thought of letting one go is incomprehensible!  But Abraham was prepared to even let go of his son;  he had nothing left to give.  God had already demonstrated his faithfulness by keeping His promise to give him a son.  It was Abraham's belief in this promise that was credited to him as righteousness.  (See Romans 4.)  And it is our belief in the promise of God's one and only son "who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification" (Rom 4:25 NASB) that will be credited to us as righteousness.  "And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord" (Luke 1:45 NASB), spoken of Mary, the mother who watched as her own son was crucified. . . by you and by me. . . for you and for me.

Look up.  You'll be amazed at what you see - His provision, His plan, His promise.  He may never ask you to give up your child, at least not in such a way as He asked of Abraham,  but He does long for you to give up your life so that you may indeed  have life.

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Scripture quotations marked (NASB) are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission.