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During the Covid 19 pandemic, whilst our church building is closed, we are featuring a message from our minister on our front page.
MESSAGE FROM OUR MINISTER - SUNDAY 28 JUNE 2020
Genesis 22: 1 – 14 NIV
1 Sometime later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied.
2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram[a] caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 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.”
In the Scriptures, Abraham is called God’s friend because of his faith – his trust and obedience. When we read this, we see Abraham’s level of faith and his friendship with God as something beyond our own possibilities. Do not be discouraged, for Abraham grew in his faith not by giant leaps but step by step. And we can do the same if we too keep our trust and faith in God.
The person whose faith has been severely tested yet who has come through the battle victoriously is the person to whom even greater tests will come. The finest jewels are those that are the most carefully cut and polished, and the most precious metals are put through the hottest fires. We can be sure Abraham would never have been called the “father of all who believe” (Romans 4:11) had he not been tested to the utmost.
In Genesis 22:2 God said to Abraham, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Then we see him climbing Mount Moriah with heart heavy and yearning yet humbly obedient. He climbed with Isaac, the object of his great love, who was about to be sacrificed at the command of God, the One Holy God whom Abraham faithfully loved and served.
What a lesson this should be to us when we question God’s dealings in our lives. Will Abraham’s faith not stand forever as strength and a help to all God’s people? Will his trial not be a witness to the fact that unwavering faith will always prove the faithfulness of God? The answer is a resounding yes! And once Abraham’s faith had victoriously endured its greatest test, the angel of the LORD spoke to him and said, “Now I know that you fear God” (Genesis 22:12). The LORD said to him, in effect, because you have trusted me through this great trial, I will trust you, and you will forever be “my friend” (Isaiah 41:8). The LORD promised Abraham, “I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. .... and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me” (Genesis 22: 17 – 18). It is true, and always will be, that “those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith” (Galatians 3:9).
In this trying and testing time, let us keep our faith strong and remain abundantly blessed. Amen.
Rev. Asif Das.