A picture of Abraham holding a dagger above Isaac alarmed my granddaughter. “Nana, what is that man doing?” Rachel asked. I explained as best I could to a six-year-old that God was testing Abraham’s obedience. Actually, as I’ve studied, I’ve learned God was “proving” Abraham was a man of faith....
Dear Lord, strengthen my faith, my confidence in your promises, so that I stand firm no matter the temptations or tests that come my way. Amen.
The passages this week highlight several different themes. Abraham is put to the ultimate test. There is no denying how terrifying God’s request must have been, yet Abraham ultimately is commended for his faith. We will not face this same challenge, but are there things dear to our hearts that God is asking us to give up? The psalmist is in deep despair and weary from awaiting God’s deliverance, yet even now there is confidence. Paul continues to instruct the Romans about the necessity of living a new life, no longer being slaves to the desires of the flesh. Jesus teaches that when we receive those doing his work, we receive him. When we interact with pastors, missionaries, or nursery workers, do we treat these servants as Jesus himself?
Read Genesis 22:1-14. What has this familiar story meant to you in your faith? How do you embody or struggle against this type of obedience and trust?Read Psalm 13. When has your lament allowed you to move from anger with God to praise? How long did that process take?Read Romans 6:12-23. How does the definition of death as a life cut off from God rather than a biological reality change your understanding of this passage? How might incorporating this definition of death change your life?Read Matthew 10:40-42. Who is in your wider community of witnesses? How does their example prompt you to turn to others in service?
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