Abraham answered:  God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son” and the two of them went on together” Genesis 22:8

“It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice……”  Hebrews 11:17

“Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders  and the sin that so easily entangles.” Hebrews 12:1

Hmmm, this can be a hard one.  Miraculous outcome surely, but the premise upsets us.  Using a child as a sacrifice?  Burning a child?  Isn’t that one of the great sins of the people who lived in the promised land prior to the Israelites and one of the reasons they were cast out?  It seems so cruel.  I think I’ll just pass over this section.  Ugh.  But then it is brought up in the New Testament; in Hebrews?  It is brought up as a shining example for us to follow? I.S.M.H. (I shake my head).

I think it goes back to Our Heavenly Father’s perfect understanding about how we, His creation, learn best.  For example, I can read about the concepts of a lever and a fulcrum (a lever bar exerts a force to move a load by turning on a pivot or a fulcrum….yeah right).  However, once I actually pick up a crowbar and pry up a board that has been nailed into something, then I understand.  Or, I can read about combining ingredients together; but, it is not until I actually experience it, that I see how eggs, flour, milk and sugar can become a cake.  In Hebrews, the author is trying to say that is the way it is with faith.  Not only Abraham, but also Moses, Rahab, David, Gideon and many others, he mentions to show examples of people living out their faith and the blessings that came from that.  And the true moral of the story is, if they did and received those blessings, then we should as well.

God knows we use phrases like:  experience is the best teacher, or seeing is believing, God also knows that, although not perfect, there are people who will act in faith upon the promises that God has given them.  Our Father’s hope is, that we will read, not only the concept, but also the living example that goes with it and it will strengthen our faith as well.  God knew Abraham’s faith.  God knew that Isaac was not going to be sacrificed that day.  God knows we need an example.

So here’s a question; definitely for me but I think for you and all believers as well.  Am I willing to be part of that “cloud of witnesses”?  I may be facing some challenging circumstances.  I may have come up against an obstacle, a giant that I don’t think I can overcome.  I may be in a situation, where I have called upon all of my earthly intellect, used up all my earthly strength and can only see defeat.  Do I continue to search for worldly resources?  Do I just give up and surrender?  Or do I drop to my knees and with all the faith I can muster declare:  “God, Himself will provide……….” and then I press on.  I press on “together with God” in the sure belief that He is all powerful and His promise is true.  That the same Heavenly Father who loves me so much that He gave His only Son, Jesus Christ, for my redemption, will never forsake or leave me.  I will triumph through Him.  Finally, it is not about bringing glory to me in that triumph.  It is about being a lesson, a blessed lesson, to those who are hurting and lost, for those who have turned everywhere they can think of but up.  To humbly exclaim to all people, look and see what Our Heavenly Father will do for the least of His creation, me; and if He will do for me, He will certainly do for you.  If you will only believe.  We have a choice about how we look at those clouds and how much we try to avoid them.  May it be that we see the Light.  Not just the silver lining, but the Light of Love streaming from that cloud, the Love of Jesus Christ our Savior; the Light of Our Heavenly Father streaming down to and for us.  And may our response be, use me Dear Father.  Use me to praise Your Most Holy Name.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we pray for You to pour out Your Strength upon us today.  We humbly confess that, in our lack of faith, we feel defeated and abandoned by the challenges we face.  Forgive us Merciful Father and give us the spirit of faith that will allow us to rely completely on You.  Thank you Father for giving us the lessons from the past of how You have blessed the faithful over and over again.  May it be that You will use us to be lesson to others of Your Steadfast Love and Mercy.  That through our faithfulness Your Most Holy Name will be praised.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen