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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Blessings of the testing (Genesis 22)

As we saw yesterday, God's requirement of Abraham that he offer up his son was a very hard and unusual testing for Abraham. We know the story and are aware that God had an alternative plan all the time. Abraham did not know this until he had reached the climactic moment and God called from heaven instructing him not to slay his son.

One blessing that Abraham received was further confirmation of previous promises. Much of what is said here had already been said before to Abraham, especially about the number of his descendants and the universal blessing that would come. A new detail is that his seed would triumph over all enemies. What occurred with Abraham is a sample of what happens to tried believers after the test has been completed. Jesus draws near and soothes away the pain of the trial by applying his sweet promises with greater clarity and detail. The Saviour who seemed so far away draws near and comforts his servant during a time of precious fellowship.

Further, the test gave to Abraham an insight into the future Father/Son transaction that would take place centuries later at Calvary. I like the suggestion of several commentators that the background to this event was a prayer made by Abraham for information about how his seed would be a source of blessing to the world. If this conjecture is true, and it would be very unlikely for Abraham not to have thought about it, the Lord gave him a personal lesson into the significance of Calvary. In a sense, at Moriah, Abraham saw the purposes of God the Father as far as giving his Son was concerned. He saw the pain of the Father as he gave his Son, and he saw the pleasure of the Father in providing his Son as the substitute for sinners.

Finally, the testing gave to Abraham a message to pass on to others. This message is seen in the name he gave to the location, Jehovah Jireh, which means that the Lord will provide, no doubt linked to his own words in verse 8: God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.Abraham could tell others that his God never brings a test without providing a means of release. In addition he could tell them that the Lord would yet provide his own Son to be the Saviour of sinners, the One who would bring universal blessing to untold number of generations in the future. 

Many did listen to Abraham because we are told in verse 14 that others were repeating his words centuries later: as it is said to this day, On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.Lets listen to him. 

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