Author: The Rev. Dr. David Bridges, Priest
April 12, 2021
In the Bible book of Genesis,
chapter 22, we read the story of God asking Abraham to offer his son, Isaac, as
a burnt offering sacrifice. Abraham and Sarah had been promised a son, even
though they were both nearly 100 years old.
Isaac was a very precious gift of God. Being asked to
offer that special child on an altar of sacrifice would have been a most
devastating request. However, Abraham did not seem to hesitate, although he
must have been deeply troubled.
As the story continues, it seems that Isaac did not
resist being tied-up and placed on the altar of sacrifice. Abraham was just
about to plunge the knife into his son when an angel appeared and stopped him,
saying, “Do not harm the boy, for now I know you truly fear God.” (v. 11,12)
I have always wondered what it would take for a father to
sacrifice his son, and what it would be like for the son to submit to the
sacrifice. After all, if your father were 100 years old, it wouldn’t seem hard
to get free and run away.
So what does this story mean for us? God will never
literally ask us to sacrifice our children, or ask them to submit to a
sacrifice, but, we are being asked to sacrifice something; our deepest intentions.
What are the thoughts and attitudes we hold dearest? What
are our deepest wishes and intentions? Are we totally focused on our wants and
desires? Are we focused only on “self” and not on the bigger picture of how we
fit-in with the world around us?
If our deepest intentions are focused only on self, we
cannot focus on the kingdom of God and its work of redemption and
reconciliation. Self does not leave room for God; it pushes-out Godly thoughts
and crowds our minds with the noise of darkness.
The evidence of the prominence of self is partly visible
through the acts of violence and hatred being displayed openly; almost daily.
The deepest intentions of many among us are turmoil and destruction. And, killing
does not seem to shock us much anymore.
When we hear about these senseless acts of violence
occurring so often, the events seem to run together in a gruesome continuum. We
may be closer to another civil war or revolution than ever in our lifetime.
Reasonableness is disappearing. Productive dialog is
extinct. Sensibleness has left the building. Violence reigns. We may be
experiencing the end of civilized society. All of this is in-line with prophecy
and the promises of Jesus.
The only answer is the kingdom of God. Jesus has
conquered sin and death, but the seeming majority of our societies don’t care.
Self is so prominent that the kingdom has no place in the majority of hearts
I pray that your deepest intentions will be shifted
toward God. Not some empty religious mumbo-jumbo, but a real spiritual
encounter with the real risen Christ.
Blessings and Peace to you