JANUARY 21

Today's Bible Readings
     Genesis 22
     Nehemiah 11
     Matthew 21
     Acts 21
 
MEMORIZE TODAY
            “Then he said, ''Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." (Genesis 22:2)
 
THE SUPREME TEST
            None of us could imagine a more severe test than God gave to Abraham, commanding him to take the life of his beloved son. There was no other way Abraham could interpret this command, but he instantly set about to obey God. God was about to teach Abraham some incredible lessons. In the beginning all he knew was to obey God in this command that seemed so unreasonable.
            Perhaps the greatest lesson here is that Abraham was prepared to do anything for God. He was there to obey God no matter how illogical it seemed.  You might ask yourself today, ''Am I willing to obey God no matter what?''  Be careful!  Don't be presumptuous as Peter when he said, ''I am willing to do anything, even to go to prison and death."  (Luke 22:33)  Abraham did not make any such statement -he simply remained true to God and God was purifying his faith. Notice God said, “take now”, not later.  Often, when we hear a word from God we debate it and try to find excuses for not doing it immediately.
            The next verse tells us, ''Abraham rose early in the morning and went to the place of which God had told him”. (Genesis 22:3)  Abraham did not confer with all the counselors, but set about to immediately do the command of God.
Abraham did not choose the sacrifice because God had already chosen it. Our position and task are not to be chosen by us but by God Himself. If God has made your cup sweet, drink it with grace, or even if He has made it bitter, drink it in communion with Him. God is working in us to reach His highest goals until His purpose and our purpose become one. In Genesis 22:9, we see that Abraham built the altar and bound Isaac on the altar. Can you imagine the drama of that scene and the heartbreak of Abraham? This was Abraham's own flesh and blood, and he was about to make him a sacrifice.
He was giving up to God in an act of worship that which was the dearest of all things to him.
            “And we know that God wants a living sacrifice.” (Romans 12:1) This is all that is acceptable to God. As we look back, we know that God is about to provide the sacrifice, but Abraham was not sure just how God was going to provide. He was actually ready to kill his son. He must have thought that God would raise him from the dead. In verse 5 he told his servants ''wait here and we will come back to you .'' As he made this living sacrifice to God, he was certain that God would provide.
            My friend, it is only through the discipline of obedience that I get to the place where Abraham was and I see who God is. God's promises are of no value to us until, through obedience, we come to understand the nature of God. He will always provide. He did then and He will now. That's why, in verse 14, Abraham called the name of the place Jehovah Jireh - the Lord will provide. Abraham discovered through obedience that where God guides, God provides.
 
PRAY FOR THE WORLD
Africa's urban population has more than doubled in the past 10 years. Most people in the cities live in dire poverty, unemployed and in the midst of a growing infection with HIV virus. The church in Africa has found it difficult to make a great spiritual impact upon the cities. Pray today for urban evangelists and church planters who have the enormous task of reaching the cities of Africa.
 
A WORD FOR YOUR WORLD TODAY
''The only saving faith is that which casts itself on God for life or death."
Martin Luther