Monday, August 8, 2016

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Promise of Provision

Rev. Dr. Philip Varghese
Program Manager
Sinai Mar Thoma Center

14 So Abraham called that place “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

Once a person approached his Pastor with a special request for prayer. He wanted the Pastor to pray to God that he may be relieved from a promise he had made a few years ago. When this young man was seeking a job, he had asked this Pastor to pray for him. When he got the job, he approached the Pastor and told him that he would offer to God 10% of his salary. It was not difficult to pay $1,000.00 out of his salary of $10,000.00 at that time. But now, after a decade, his salary was $600,000.00, he considered that his tithe was too much and hence he wanted God to relieve him from his promise. The pastor replied that he would pray to God to reduce the salary that the young man may be able to keep his promise. I don't know what happened next.
Abraham had believed God and left his people and his father's household to go to the land which God had promised to show him.  God had promised to make him a great nation.(Genesis 12:1f). It was a journey in faith and in obedience. Abraham had his ups and downs in his faith journey because of the influence of the people he loved (Sarah, etc.). He succumbed to their plans to get things done when waiting for the fulfillment of God's promise seemed to take too long. As we know, that led to rivalry and disharmony at home.
Abraham learned from his past failures and  instead of remaining in misery he moved forward. In today's reading we can see that Abraham acted immediately, without any hesitation, to obey what God had asked him to do. He was asked to give back to God what precious gift God had given him-his only son whom he loved most. Parents can imagine the feelings Abraham might have had when he traveled to the mountain top carrying the fire and the knife, with young Isaac carrying the firewood by his side. Was this innocent child, whom God had given him, his  to nurture only for a few years? The heartbreaking question which Isaac asked, " The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"(v.7) Any loving parent would find it hard to give an answer which Abraham, the 'Father of the faithful' gave, "God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son"(v.8). Only a true believer can give such an assuring reply. God provided a lamb for the sacrifice in that wilderness. Jesus said to Martha, "if you believe you will see the glory of God" (John 11:40)
Abraham did not brood over his failures. He overcame it. He had no reluctance to do what God had asked him to do, because he knew that God is a God who keeps promises.
What lesson does today's reading teach us? Let us try to examine our lives in the light of this passage. Do we really trust in God? Do we really believe that God will provide for our needs if we rely on Him? How much have we drifted from our faith journey?


O God, help us to trust You and realize that You are in control even when the future appears dark. Help us to give sacrificially and know that real giving involves pain. Amen.

God loves a cheerful giver.