Sunday, February 2, 2014

"Pictures of Redemption"

Day #37:  Daily Bible Reading Plan - February 3rd

Scripture Reading:  Genesis 20 - 23 ...

Those who believe in Jesus Christ should read Genesis regularly as a reminder of how we got from Abraham to Jesus to the Church to today.  God had chosen and called Abraham and promised that he and his wife, Sarah, would have a son in their old age.  Moses, the author of Genesis, recounts stories of Abraham and Sarah, even pointing out Sarah's death and WHERE she was buried ... in the land that would belong to the descendants of Abraham ... more than 4,000 years later!!!

The people around Abraham recognized that God was with him and sought his favor.  Even in a foreign land the presence and power of God was displayed in Abraham's life ... but not only for the people in Abraham's day.  In Abraham's life, the presence and power of God was displayed for US, so that WE would know the God of Abraham.

God leaves nothing to chance ... in Abraham's life ... in your life.  Step-by-step God unfolds His plan - a plan that includes you and me as believers today.  One of the most beautiful pictures of redemption, of God's plan to redeem lost sinners, is found in Genesis 22.  You probably know the story ... the true story of God instructing Abraham to offer his son, Isaac, to God as a sacrifice.  This was the son God had promised to Abraham and Sarah, the one through whom Abraham's descendants would be counted, numbered by God.  How could Abraham imagine that this would turn out well?

Because Abraham believed God at His Word.  I love how the writer of Hebrews reveals what only God could know, in Hebrews 11:17-19:  "By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice.  He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice His one and only son, even though God had said to him, 'It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.' Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death."

God tells us what Abraham was thinking:  "If God has called me to do this and if He has promised that my descendants will be numbered through Isaac, then if God allows me to offer him as a sacrifice, God will HAVE to raise Isaac from the dead!"  But God did even more than that!  God revealed His plan to save the entire human race when Abraham said, "God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering" (22:8).  God will provide!

Later, God would give Moses the regulations for the Day of Atonement ... the offering of the sacrifice that symbolically removed the sins of the worshipers at the Tabernacle and then the Temple.  We know now that all of this pointed ahead to Jesus, the perfect Lamb, being sacrificed on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins.  God's promises.  God's picture of redemption ... Abraham's God ... OUR God!  More than a story.  Abraham was at the beginning, but the story isn't over!!  Pictures become realities ... and WE are saved!!

"OUR Father in heaven, I thank You for Your wisdom and grace in planning to save us from our sins and make us part of Your family for eternity!  As You worked in the past, so continue Your work in us, Your people today, for Your glory!  In Jesus' name, Amen"

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