Originally published at the Biblical Recorder.
Bible Studies for Life lesson for March 4, 2018
Focal Passage: Genesis 22:1-14
Felt needs are important. We work in order to earn money to provide shelter, food, and clothing. Day to day we are hungry, thirsty, tired, frustrated, disappointed, discouraged, etc. and act to meet those needs. Sometimes, our felt needs can overwhelm us. In our text, Isaac said, “We have the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham and Isaac had a need—a need they felt. Abraham responded, “God will provide.” Do you have Abraham’s kind of faith in God’s provision? Søren Kierkegaard, a Dutch philosopher/theologian of the 19th century, famously interpreted Abraham’s’ faith in this text as a “blind leap.” In Kierkegaard’s estimation, Abraham closed his eyes, stepped out, and happily landed in a place of God’s provision. I believe Kierkegaard’s claim is glaringly wrong. Abraham’s faith in God’s provision was anything but blind. God led Abraham, forgave Abraham, cared for Abraham, and gave Abraham and Sarah a child far after their days of childbearing were past. Abraham’s faith in God’s provision was based on years of God demonstrating his faithfulness. In that desperately poignant moment when Isaac was tied down on the altar, Abraham trusted God to the point of obedience. Then God stopped him and showed him a ram caught in a thicket. This story teaches us two things about God’s provision. First, there is nothing we can sacrifice, give, or do to earn God’s provision. When God stopped Abraham, he did not send him home. It is important that we see that Abraham and Isaac still sacrificed, still worshiped. God provided them to a ram to sacrifice so they could worship God. Second, we access God’s provision through faith. It was Abraham’s faith in God that led him to obey. If we want to experience God’s provision, we must have faith. God has already provided on the grandest of scales. He gave us just what we needed when he sent Christ to the cross. We access his provision by faith. And when we believe in the provision of God through Christ, we have a basis for trusting God to provide our felt needs as well (Romans 8:32).