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Learning that God Will Provide

June 16th, 2014

Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.

Genesis 22:8

Significant lessons were learned by Abraham along the journey of life, and God deemed it appropriate to spend a few chapters of His Holy Word telling us about some struggles, conflicts, and even some poor decisions that Abraham experienced before we come to chapter 22 about the sacrifice of Isaac. The sacrifice of Isaac was certainly a high point in Abraham’s personal experience with God, but the maturity that he required to pass this supreme test was not gained overnight. It was learned through these other events recorded in the Bible, and, of course, through other events as well that God left out of His Word.

The same is true with us, that we are prepared by God to face the great tests by learning about His faithfulness in the smaller moments. And a remarkable truth should not be missed here – that even failure can be instructive, if we will stop to consider how we failed, repent of our failure, and recommit ourselves to God.

Failure with Abimelech: As Abraham had done with in Egypt several years before, he dealt faithlessly with his wife Sarah, passing her off as his sister, rather than his wife, out of fear for his own life. We can presume from this that Sarah was a beautiful woman and even in the later years of her life, and we also gain insight into the culture of the time, that women were considered as inferiors. That so much is included in the Bible about women shows God’s opinion is different from the world’s in this regard, and that God always exalts women and affirms their humanity, equality with men, and their dignity, as well as their usefulness to His purposes.

But Abraham had a weakness, and despite his courage and his adventurous spirit, he demonstrated cowardice here. In both instances God protected him and the men he had suspected of treachery were unworthy of the suspicion. The lesson we should learn is that God is with us and can protect us even when we deal with unbelievers. God provides for His children even through those who do not call on His name.

God Provided with the Birth of Isaac: At last the long awaited promise was fulfilled and Sarah and Abraham in their old age had a child. We cannot know all of the reasons for the timing of God, and often it seems the promises He has made linger too long – some, of course, such as peace and joy, can be claimed immediately through our faith, but others, such as His watchcare and provision for our physical needs, or an opportunity to be used in a significant way, come at His timing. All the promises of God are “Yes” in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 1:20), but all are not fulfilled immediately, nor can they be. We must wait each season for the new provisions of nature, but we can keep in our hearts the promise of scripture as we wait, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness” (Lam 3:22-23).

God’s Protection over Ishmael and Hagar: Another lesson of God’s grace in his own failure. Abraham and Sarah had conspired together to do the wrong thing in seeking to gain offspring through Hagar, Sarah’s handmaid, even though it was a common custom of the time. Eventually, after Isaac’s birth Sarah could no longer stand their presence and Abraham had to send them out. But God still protected them, and Abraham could look back and see how God had provided even for his blunders. The grace and kindness of God are not fragile things, rather they are strong attributes of God and as Redeemer He is always coming along behind us and cleaning up our messes.

Recovering the Rights to Beersheba: God provided peace to Abraham with Abimelech again, over the dispute over the well at Beersheba. Abraham had dug the well and by the culture of that day, had the rights to do so. Abimelech’s men, unknown to him, had seized the well and threatened off Abraham’s men. But God provided the peaceful means to reconcile and protected Abraham’s rights to use that which was rightfully his. Cannot we see this attitude in Paul at Philippi as he stared down the magistrates or the city council that had had him and Silas illegally beaten and imprisoned? (Acts 16:35-40) We are not wrong to assert our legal rights as God’s people – even though some times God will lead us for the sake of the Gospel to give up those rights. Even Christ gave a rebuke to being slapped by a servant of the High Priest Annas (John 18:22-23).

So we are also prepared for our greatest testings through the simple things of life, through seeing God’s hand at work every day. We mature and learn faithfulness for the great moments of testing, trial, and opportunity, by exercising it in the seemingly smaller moments of life, as Jesus said, “He who is faithful in a very little thing, is also faithful in much” (Luke 16:20). Our duty today is to trust Him, to confess our faults and place our failures in God’s hands, and to rest today’s blessings, challenges, opportunities, responsibilities, and even its burdens, into His hands also and to leave them there. If you want to be prepared to do something great for God learn to give Him each day, and to see His mercies and faithfulness at work each day. Oswald Chambers wrote, “Drudgery is the touchstone of character,” and touchstone means a test or criterion for determining the quality or genuineness of something.

Gleanings from Genesis ,