Abraham and ONE God

Feb 25, 2024

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In today’s first reading we find Abraham responding to God’s call to take his only son Isaac up the mountain to sacrifice him to the Lord.

Can you imagine this?

This seems to make no sense at all.

This son of their old age for Abraham and Sarah was the fulfilment of God’s promise. How can God be asking that Isaac now be sacrificed by Abraham who cherishes his only legitimate son?

But this is exactly what Abraham knows God to be asking.

Abraham takes Isaac to the place of sacrifice.

The fire is set.

Imagine the setting – and then hear the young (perhaps 7-8 year old) Isaac ask: ‘daddy, the fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’

Abraham replies with a simple and pained: ‘God will provide.’

As Abraham raises the knife to sacrifice his son, the Angel of the Lord stops him.

Now God really knows that Abraham really believes in ONE GOD.

Let’s try to appreciate more deeply the significance of this event.

If someone had watched my life very closely over this past week, I fear that they might not see the evidence of my life this week to pointing to my belief in One God.

On Tuesday I was totally preoccupied with a project that has been hanging over me for some time. I fear that earlier last week it might have looked as though this project was my God. On Thursday I was a bit anxious and worried about a few things, and grateful that reflection sessions with the Waimakariri parish gave me a good focus with rich inspiration from the many people who attended the sessions.

There are many things that I allow to become my God in an average week.

Let’s consider this definition: anything (or anyone) I cannot let go of has become my God. Abraham knew that to possess even his loved son Isaac, more than to desire God’s will, is a path away from freedom and towards captivity.

The extent to which I ‘possess’ any thing (or attitude, or fear,) or person, is the extent to which I am not free.

The extent to which I am not free is the extent to which happiness will elude me. Abraham, who believed in one God, and who lived for the one God, was a free man. He was a happy man. He is our Father in Faith. And faith is about freedom.

Abraham relaxed into God’s plan, and had more of all he longed for than he could ever have achieved with his own plans and energies. Relaxing into the will of God is the path to a more full life than we could even imagine.

Why then do we grasp at anything that promises a moment of satisfaction, when eternal love and life is offered to us?

Simply because we are not free.

Our fears and compulsions drive us. In our hopes and dreams we settle for what is available.

A small baby, when held in close embrace, often reaches out and grasps a finger as if they have already picked up (in their few days of life on earth), that one needs to hold on to be secure.  Of course we don’t mind – the baby is welcome to hold on if this is the game they want to play. But whether or not they hold on makes absolutely no difference to their security. In our embrace a baby is totally secure

And the same is true of us and God. This was the confidence of Abraham’s faith. We have nothing to fear. Everything is given to us.

Let us relax into the embrace of God.

5 Comments

  1. Lovely reflection, thanks, John. However, I think it important to remember that God will invariably make us wait in order to test our faith in Him, in His promises. He made Abraham wait until he had raised the knife to kill Isaac, and only then did He intervene. Because waiting and overcoming fear is the hard part, the tough part of proving faith in God and His promises.

    Reply
  2. Much to think on reading this, thank you Father

    Reply
  3. Yes our God can certainly make us wait to ensure our trust in him – we bought our forever home on His promises before we sold our old one… We prayed daily for it to sell & bless someone, we were so panicky as we prepared to move out that our prayer became’ Jesus we trust in You’ over & over again, The old home sold a few days before we moved out, to a family that had loved it when we bought it 14yrs prior. Praise the Lord!

    Reply
  4. Word reminder: relax. Thanks, John.

    Reply
  5. Thank you for the very helpful link to the reading!

    Reply

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