Today we continued reading Abraham's story and came to the climax of his faith journey... when God asked him to take his only son Isaac and sacrifice him.
I cannot even imagine how difficult that must have been to hear... the son that he waited decades for... the son that he understood to be the blessing that God promised.
And the craziest part about the story is that Abraham said "yes"... and he took his son up the mountain, built an altar, and was ready to do what God commanded when God stopped him. God stopped him and said that He could see that Abraham's faith was genuine. He could see that Abraham truly put his trust in God.
And then there, in the bushes, was a ram. He provided a ram for the sacrifice and Abraham, in turn, named that place "The LORD provides".
The phrase that stands out to me and is repeated in the story is "Here I am". When God called out Abraham's name, he responded with those three words. When you look all throughout the Bible, this phrase is repeated over and over again... and what it is saying under the surface is so much more than just here. I. am.
Those three words represent a willingness to come to God, to trust Him with what He is about to ask, to respond when he calls.
When we say "here I am" to God, we are offering ourselves as living sacrifices (like Abraham did when he was willing to take his son to the altar for God)... it's saying to God "I trust you, even when I don't understand."
How often do we say these words to God? I believe that God doesn't just ask for this type of commitment in certain circumstances, but in EVERYDAY life. I think that God wants us to commit every day to Him, being willing to say "Here I am" today... "I am trusting you" today... "Whatever your will is for me" today... "No matter what"... today.
As we celebrate this season of Christmas, and surround ourselves with decorations, songs, events, gifts, lights, people... may we also be reminded that all of this is about something SO MUCH BIGGER.
Let's take the time to thank God for HIS provision... for the MANY ways that He has blessed us and provided for our needs... BUT may we also be sure to remember that the greatest provision God has given us is Jesus. He has provided a way of salvation.
He is THE lamb that became OUR substitute.
What a humbling and awesome gift!