Genesis 22:14 “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.” (NIV)
I like to see people enjoying their families, whether it is at church, in a park, or even on Facebook. To look at the delight and love that parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts bestow upon children of all ages are wonderful gifts and they make me happy to be in the world today. I grew up in poverty and experienced some very sad circumstances, but the best of my memories from childhood are of those times and moments of joy, happiness, and love that my parents, relatives, and siblings shared.
I find the biblical story of Abraham almost sacrificing Isaac in Genesis 22 very difficult to embrace and comprehend. I’m thankful for the happy ending, but I’m troubled by the unquestioning devotion Abraham gives to God. It seems like uncontrolled religious fanaticism to me and I wonder how that strange and bewildering moment affected the future relationship between father and son. The fact that we don’t have many events recorded about Isaac’s later life, as compared to both Abraham and Jacob, makes me think that Isaac could have been a very subdued and introverted person due to the emotional trauma he experienced by almost being sacrificed by his dad.
I know that the story appears to be a scriptural precursor and dramatic prophecy of Christ’s sacrificial crucifixion at Calvary, with God and Jesus filling the roles of Abraham and Isaac respectively, but even that doesn’t diminish the perplexity I feel about the original Abrahamic episode. It does, however, leave me with a healthy repugnance of religious fundamentalism of any faith on Earth, which can tragically mutate into an inhumane cruelty and even insanely justify killing other people in the name of God.
Point to ponder
How do I display my faith to my family?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to receive God’s work of salvation as described in the Bible, even when some things and events really mystify us. Keep us faithful to Your ministry on Earth, but protect us from becoming over-zealous and unloving. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.
Today’s image is one of John’s Good Friday drawings called “Redeemer.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click this link: Redeemer.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. You can read the church website at www.erinpresbyterian.org. The congregation would be delighted to see you at our Sunday worship services at 11:00 AM or at any other time. J