Hebrews 11, 17-19
Something to read
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, 'In Isaac your seed shall be called,' concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.
New Revised Standard Version
To read the King James Version, click here
Something to think about
This is one of the most poignant stories in the whole of literature. Isaac was the miracle baby. Sarah had laughed herself silly when she heard that she was going to have a baby. She was well past the age for having a child.
But God stepped in and she gave birth to a boy who was appropriately called Isaac – which means laughter in Hebrew. Just imagine having a child called Laughter! The joy of Abraham and Sarah must have been incredible, and yet now God is asking the elderly father to offer his son as a sacrifice.
Amazingly, Abraham did exactly what God asked him to. He prepared his son for sacrifice - and he did so because he was utterly confident of God and of his ability to do what was right.
As we serve God today, we need to remind ourselves that we can be confident of God and certain that he will do what is right. He will often ask us to make sacrifices, but we can do so joyfully because God wouldn’t ever mislead us.
If he asks us to give up our job, our home, our money, our time or our security we can be sure that he will be faithful, and will provide everything that we need. Abandoning ourselves to God, as Abraham did, is in fact the most secure thing that you can ever do with your life.
Something to do
You don’t need to wait until Lent to give something up! Why not think of something that you can give up today, and then use the money or time saved to bless someone else. You could, perhaps, give up watching a television programme and visit a needy neighbour or give up a meal and send the saved money to Christian Aid.
Something to pray
Lord, forgive us that we are so reluctant to make sacrifices. Show us how liberating it is to hand over all that we have and all that we are to you.
We thank you for the example of Abraham and pray that you will help us to live our lives by faith this day. Help us to share the whole of our lives with you.
We thank you for the example of Jesus who gave everything for us. Help us to live this and every day for him, for we pray this in the glorious name of Jesus our Saviour and Lord, Amen.
Today's contributor is the Rev Jonathan Edwards, former General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain.