Mark Hart aka BibleGeek (LifeTeen) on Abraham + Isaac (Genesis 22:2-4)

For a few years now I have been subscribed to the mailings of "BibleGeek" (Mark Hart) of the US (and international) youth ministry organisation LifeTeen. He often comes up with fresh invigorating takes on familiar bible passages, relating them to personal anecdotes/experiences and aspects of modern living that people can easily relate to... which is just what Jesus himself did with his parables.

I've started re-reading some of his newsletters that I've collected. I'll post a few on here as I feel they are well worth sharing.


Spread the WORD - 23/07/04


“Then God said to Abraham: ‘Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a sacrifice’. Early the next morning Abraham saddled his donkey, took with him his son Isaac, and
set out for the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham caught sight of the place from afar.” – Genesis 22:2-4


SITUATION EXPLAINED
Have you ever felt as though “the walk” that God has put you on is too difficult for you? Ever felt like the pain or hardship of the day was too great to bear?


SOLUTION OFFERED
There were few things that I enjoyed more as a young boy than playing baseball. There were few things I enjoyed less as a young baseball player than getting hit by an opposing pitcher’s fastball. It happened frequently, as I was a left-handed batter and the aspiring stars on the pitchers’ mound(s) didn'’t exactly have “pinpoint accuracy”. In short, I expected to get hit almost every time I stepped into the batter’s box.

Once the ritual of getting “beaned” by the fastball had commenced and the baseball’s “Rawlings” logo had unceremoniously been “tattooed” across my upper body, I would painfully begin my WALK down the first base line. It was at that moment that I, like clockwork, would hear the voice of my unsympathetic coach hollering, “It’s alright. You’re okay. Just walk it off!”

It didn'’t seem to really matter to the coach that I was in pain, only that I got walked and got on base. That walk was far more painful for me than it was for the coach. Sometimes I feel the same way about my faith walk, to be honest. There are some days that are just plain hardsome days that I feel like looking up to my Heavenly Coach and saying, “Do you not care about the pain I’m in?” I believe that my pain is proof that He doesn’'t care or think much of me, when, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. How do I know that God is NOT unsympathetic? How do I know that God not only loves me and thinks of me a lot, but that He thinks a lot OF me? Well, that’s where our good friend Abraham comes in

Today'’s passage from Genesis takes us back to one of those Biblical stories where, because “we know it so well”, we often miss important details. This story is four thousand years old and is as well known as any in the Old Testament. It is a wonderful story about Abraham’s faithfulness to God; it’s not a tribute to an unloving father. Sometimes, though, we need to look at it again, to see how it still relates to us in 2004. Read it again. I’ll wait.

Did you notice verse four, where it said “on the third day Abraham caught sight of the place”? Obviously, it being the THIRD day has all kinds of obvious Scriptural significance, but there’s a real subtle lesson within this story, too, if we think about it more deeply.

Abraham took his son and walked for THREE days, knowing what God had asked him to do. Think about that for a minute. Imagine how difficult that would be. If God asked you to sacrifice your only child (one whom you had prayed to God for years to give to you) would you have the internal strength or trust not only to decide to do it, but to then pack up and WALK? Could you go to bed that first night looking into the eyes of your unsuspecting child, knowing what you would have to do? Could you walk in the searing heat of the sun the entire next day, again, realizing that each step forward was one step closer to your only son’s final breath? Could you sleep a wink on that second night, realizing that would be the last time you would see your child fall asleep? Could you keep walking? Do you think you would “have it in you”? Apparently God knew that Abraham did.

We all know the rest of the story (if you don’t, read it, it’s great). I love this story. I love the fact that Abraham, though in pain, trusted enough in God to “walk it off”. He dealt with the pain, realizing that God, His Creator and the giver of all his blessings (his son included), would see him through. Even more impressive is that God thought so much of Abraham, as to test him in that way – realizing that Abraham had the faith and had the strength to withstand the trial. God rewarded Abraham’s example of faith, by blessing his family for generations to come.

God tries us, still today, in very similar ways. Sometimes He calls us to do things that are difficult and uncomfortable things that may even seem impossible. He doesn'’t trick us. He doesn'’t ask us to “walk three days” and THEN tell us. No, we know what He is challenging us to do or to let go of, before we begin the walk.

If you are actively trying to grow in your faith you, no doubt, have seen or identified areas of your life that need to change. Maybe it is a relationship that leads you away from God and needs to end. Maybe it is an addiction. Maybe it is ambivalence. Maybe it is self-hatred. Maybe it is ignoring the vocation God calls you to explore. Maybe it is laziness in prayer. Maybe it is someone to whom you owe an apology. Maybe it is something entirely different but still spiritually suffocating.

These areas would not be clear to you if the Holy Spirit were not already moving within your heart. God would not call you to walk if He didn’'t KNOW that you could make it with His help. He doesn’'t set us up to fail, but calls us knowing that we can succeed. He realizes, too, that when His children trust and are faithful and DO succeed, it will inspire others to walk their walks, too even four thousand years later (as this story inspires me and, I hope, you).

God is not calling you to understand, but to walk. Are you willing? The journey of everlasting life begins with a single step and then another. Keep walking, just keep walking. He will reward you in the end. Don’t give up. Walk it off. He is with you, always.


SALVATION GIVEN
“Then God said to Abraham: ‘Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a sacrifice’. Early the next morning Abraham saddled his donkey, took with him his son Isaac, and
set out for the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham caught sight of the place from afar.” – Genesis 22:2-4


The coach knows it hurts sometimes, but every step is a step closer to HOME.


Bible Geek

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