To many, the account of Abraham offering up Isaac to God in Genesis 22 is one of the hardest stories in the Bible to read and comprehend. You don’t have to be a parent to feel the anguish Abraham must have felt, to question how he could attempt such a heartbreaking act, and even to doubt the goodness of God.
In addition to the emotion it raises, there are several unanswered logical mysteries as well. What did Abraham tell Isaac they were doing? Was Isaac really that gullible? The fact that Abraham had Isaac carry the wood up the mountain indicates that Isaac was stronger than Abraham. How did Abraham wrestle him onto the altar? Furthermore, the surrounding information indicates Isaac would’ve been an adult, probably near 37 years old. Just how did Abraham get him to go along with this preposterous plan? There are enough holes in the report to make us wonder if we’re really hearing the whole story. (more…)
In our review of Numbers 11, we’ve seen how rejection of God’s provision (Part 1) and replacement with their own desires (Part 2) forces God’s presence out of the Israelites’ wilderness camp. But that’s not all. The story includes details that provide clues about something more God had planned.
In His mercy, I believe God hid a blessing in the midst of the incident for those who would pursue the path He laid out. While, there’s no account of any of the Israelites doing so, it serves as a lesson to us today of how God provides us a way to correct our path when we’ve gone astray. It’s a testament to God’s patience and tenacity in His pursuit of us and shows us how to stay in His will and presence. It’s a revelation the Israelites missed. (more…)
I find that the more I study God’s character, the better He gets. He is awesome, holy and righteous, yet loving and patient with us at the same time. He never stops pursuing us; He desires for us to be in His presence continuously, so that He can reveal more and more of Himself to us. The tabernacle in the wilderness described in Exodus is a place where we see this character in God.
Whenever I heard, “Jesus died for your sins,” I often thought, “What sin did I commit that would deserve death?” I’m a good person; I keep the 10 commandments; I try to love God and love my neighbors as myself. Then I heard, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23). So I asked, “Which sins can I die from?”
For a long time I understood this to mean that if I live sinfully, I will live separate from God, not enjoy His abundant life, and maybe eventually die from a destructive lifestyle. All of those are true, but later I asked, “What did it mean to those who first heard it shortly after Yeshua’s death?” (more…)
“But [He] made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:7-8
This is God Himself in the flesh, being crucified as a criminal by those He created, in order to pay their penalty for them. That’s humility–and more, a concept for which we have no frame of reference.
What was He hoping to achieve? The answer was another astonishing realization: (more…)
At one point, I committed to praying on a weekly basis for several of my friends and family to come to faith in Yeshua as their savior. I did so for six months. Once I started praying, I began looking for signs of a change in their spiritual perspectives, and for opportunities to speak with them about Yeshua. This story is another example of how prayer changes not only the lives of those for whom the prayer is offered, but the one praying as well.
During those six months, I saw miraculous things. (more…)
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8a
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…” Matthew 7:12a
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2
“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” Matthew 10:32-33
I have come to think of these verses as my road map. (more…)