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January 8, 2023 - Genesis 22-23

Abraham fully trusts God! Instructed to give his only son, Isaac, as an offering on Mt. Moriah, Abraham made the preparations, and he and Isaac and his servants set off. Nearing the place, Abraham said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you” (22:5). Fully intending to kill Isaac, still Abraham expressed certainty that both he and Isaac would return from the mountain. When Isaac asked about the sacrifice, Abraham replied, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son’” (22:8). And, indeed, with Isaac on the altar and the knife in Abraham’s hand, poised above his son and ready to strike, God spoke from heaven: “’Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.’ And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son” (22:12-13).

Jesus has taught us: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37-3). Online, I read a brief prayer: “Lord, I give to You my whole mind, heart, soul and strength. Help me to love You above all things and in all things and, from that love, help me to love those whom You have put in my life.” It strikes me that when we love God supremely (the first and greatest of the commandments), then all our other relationships fall into place and we love rightly and those relationships flourish.

My God, accept my heart this day,

and make it always thine,

that I from thee no more may stray,

no more from thee decline.

Before the cross of him who died,

behold, I prostrate fall;

let every sin be crucified,

and Christ be all in all. -- Matthew Bridges (1848)

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