Minimalist Bible: The Covenant—Abraham's Faith Test Part 3
|Written by Chad -|
God has given me the idea to pursue a personal design project of creating minimalist posters to share the awesome stories of the Bible. If you missed out on previous posters, don't worry, I have created a landing page where you can easily catch up. Check it out here.
This poster series comes from the book of Genesis. It is a story filled with tests of faith, promises and miracles. I'm excited today to reveal The Covenant: Abraham's Faith Test Part 3, part eleven of an eleven part series.
The Covenant: Abraham's Faith Test Part 3 continues in Genesis 22:13-19 (NLT) which says, "Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means 'the Lord will provide'). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: 'On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.'
Then the angel of the Lord called again to Abraham from heaven. 'This is what the Lord says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.'
Then they returned to the servants and traveled back to Beersheba, where Abraham continued to live."
The GRACE that flows through us.
Any good electrician or plumber out there understands the importance of a conduit. In life, we are like conduits, too. As a good conduit, we allow positive things to "flow" through us. For example, when we give positive feedback on a unique dish a friend made, help out at a local comunity event, encourage a coworker who looks down and out, or simply smile as you walk around the grocery store. There are also many ways to be a bad conduit, but I don't want to waste my time on such a list, because that would be no fun.
The reason I bring up the word conduit regarding this passage is because both Abraham and Isaac were acting as conduits of God's grace to each other after the whole "I'm going to sacrafice you to the Lord" situation. In my last post, a dramatic series of events had been building and Abraham courageously obeyed his conviction to raise a knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. Suddenly, in the last possible moment, God used an angel to shout, "STOP!" ...Let's imagine the scene surrouding this now suspended action. If it had been a movie, the dramatic background music would be immediately silenced and the soft whistling of wind in the distance would be the only thing audible above the breathy panting in the foreground. In that brief, very awkward moment, the sun would be glimmering off the sharpened blade and you'd be locked into the frightened glares between Isaac and Abraham.
In this moment, I'm sure the instinctive thoughts of Abraham and Isaac were clogging their conduits in a way. "What the.... Is this actually happening right now?!?" may have crossed their minds. Isaac probably had some strong resentment toward his dad since he was looking at him from the other end of a knife intended for his death. Abraham may have been feeling extreme guilt about almost killing his one and only son or doubt that what he was about to do was a good idea. But just then, a ram showed up! This response from God acted as spiritual Drain-o to unclog their conduits. Relief flooded the situation as grace flowed through again, washing away any resentment, guilt or doubt between the two of them.
This ram was more than a replacement sacrifice for Abraham. It was a symbol of God's grace. What's even more incredible, is that Jesus is portrayed as a ram in the New Testament. Just like the ram in this story was the perfect sacrifice for Abraham, Jesus is God's gracious gift to us; the perfect sacrifce for our salvation. Jesus acts as the plumber in our lives, unclogging our conduits of all the muck and confusion, making way for grace—the same grace He showed us—to flow endlessly to the people around us.
I've been reading Jesus Is ____ by Judah Smith. In one of his chapters about grace, he nailed it on the head.
"When you look in the eyes of grace, when you meet grace, when you embrace grace, when you see the nail prints in grace's hands and the fire in his eyes, when you feel his relentless love for you—it will not motivate you to sin. It will motivate you to righteousness.
When we meet grace, it becomes the fuel of our faith. We pray, we read our Bibles, we worship, and we live the purest lifestyle we can because we love a person. Allegience to a doctrine can only last so long, but relationship trumps everything. We'll do anything for someone we love."
God's grace is the best thing that has ever happened to creation. Because of it, we should be inspired to be good conduits of that same grace to everyone we meet. We can't allow feelings of resentment, guilt, doubt, human shortcomings or failures to clog up our conduits. Embrace Jesus, God's perfect gift, allowing him to make way for the free flow of blessings.