10 March 2012
By being Obedient to God, Abraham received a huge blessing and became the Father of Many Nations—Extracted from the Book of Genesis, Chapter 22:
1 God put Abraham to the test. 'Abraham, Abraham!' he called. 'Here I am,' he replied.
2 God said, 'Take your son, your only son, your beloved Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, where you are to offer him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I shall point out to you.'
3 Early next morning Abraham saddled his donkey and took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. He chopped wood for the burnt offering and started on his journey to the place which God had indicated to him.
4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.
5 Then Abraham said to his servants, 'Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I are going over there; we shall worship and then come back to you.'
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering, loaded it on Isaac, and carried in his own hands the fire and the knife. Then the two of them set out together.
7 Isaac spoke to his father Abraham. 'Father?' he said. 'Yes, my son,' he replied. 'Look,' he said, 'here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?'
8 Abraham replied, 'My son, God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.' And the two of them went on together.
9 When they arrived at the place which God had indicated to him, Abraham built an altar there, and arranged the wood. Then he bound his son and put him on the altar on top of the wood.
10 Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to kill his son.
11 But the angel of Yahweh called to him from heaven. 'Abraham, Abraham!' he said. 'Here I am,' he replied.
12 'Do not raise your hand against the boy,' the angel said. 'Do not harm him, for now I know you fear God. You have not refused me your own beloved son.'
13 Then looking up, Abraham saw a ram caught by its horns in a bush. Abraham took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son.
14 Abraham called this place 'Yahweh provides', and hence the saying today: 'On the mountain Yahweh provides.'
15 The angel of Yahweh called Abraham a second time from heaven.
16 'I swear by my own self, Yahweh declares, that because you have done this, because you have not refused me your own beloved son,
17 I will shower blessings on you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven and the grains of sand on the seashore. Your descendants will gain possession of the gates of their enemies.
18 All nations on earth will bless themselves by your descendants, as a reward for your obedience.'
Isaac is the prefigure of Jesus Christ:
Isaac carried the wood for his own sacrifice to go up the Mountain of Moriah cf.
Jesus Christ carried His own cross up to the place called “the Skull” to be crucified, as a sin offering to save the world.
Note that God the Father eventually did not let Abraham offered his son Isaac, but this loving God has let his Son to be offered and to be crucified as a sin offering to save us, that was how He showed His great love for all of us...
Just imagine anyone of us in Abraham’s position, when we hear such an instruction from God, we would have dropped dead...
Isaac was the promised son given by God to Abraham when he was 100 years old and his wife Sarah 90 years old, born out of a promise, not under any normal circumstances. God had told Abraham before Isaac was born, ‘And I shall maintain my covenant with him, a covenant in perpetuity, to be his God and the God of his descendants after him.’
(see Genesis, Chapter 7:1-22).
Abraham must have felt a knife being pierced into his heart when Isaac asked, ‘'here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?'. Poor Abraham, God had blessed him very wealthy in possession; but instead of his possessions, God wanted him to have his precious son offered as a sacrifice, he must have experienced a deadly sorrow that would have killed him. However, even in this great pain, Abraham had chosen to be obedient and to have trust in this loving God and knew that despite his deep sorrow, God would turn everything good again. And sure enough, eventually his precious son Isaac was spared…
The Scriptures shed some light in this matter, in the sermon- the Hebrews, Chapter 11:17-19 :
By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac,
his only son,
Some of us could have experienced something similar but not of such a great impact. For example, we may have planned and worked hard for our dreams and aspirations, and finally we achieved and did well… Then, somehow, somewhere, deep in our hearts, we knew that God was calling us to do something special with Him, using the beautiful talents that He has given us... Are we willing to put aside some of our time to do that something special with Him? Know that He has never called any one of us to be “a mediocre” , everyone of us were born to achieve a “unique purpose on earth” , something so special that He only wants you to do it with Him, but the end result may not be great wealth, fame or popularity, are we going to obey Him to do this work with Him and to be happy or are we going to reject His unique plan for us and be unhappy forever? Know that He is the only One who made us and He knows better how we could be very happy…
Just look at our favourite Saint Joseph, he was faithful to God’s calling in his entire life, and now he is one of the most blessed Saints and all of us just want to be his children... 8-)
God loves us - Extracted from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans, Chapter 8:
31 If God is for us, who can be against us?
32 Since he did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for the sake of all of us, then can we not expect that with him he will freely give us all his gifts?
33 Who can bring any accusation against those that God has chosen? When God grants saving justice
34 who can condemn? Could Jesus Christ? No! He not only died for us - he rose from the dead, and there at God’s right hand he stands and pleads for us.
The Lord of All does not stand in awe of greatness - Extracted from Wisdom, Chapter 6:1-11
Listen, kings, and understand; rulers of remotest lands, take warning; hear this, you who have thousands under your rule, who boast of your hordes of subjects.
For power is a gift to you from the Lord, sovereignty is from the Most High; he himself will probe your acts and scrutinize your intentions.
If, as administrator of his kingdom, you have not governed justly nor observe the law, nor behaved as God would have you behave, He will fall on you swiftly and terribly.
Ruthless judgement is reserved for the high and mighty; the lowly will be compassionately pardoned, the mighty will be mightily punished.
For the Lord of All does not cower before a personage, he does not stand in awe of greatness, since he himself has made small and great and provides for all alike; but strict scrutiny awaits those in power.
Yes, despots, my words are for you, that you may learn what wisdom is and not transgress; for they who observe holy things holily will be adjudged holy, and, accepting instruction from them, will find their defence in them.
Look forward, therefore, to My words; yearn for them, and they will instruct you.
10 March 2012