Day 10, January 10, 2021
Scriptures: Genesis 21-23, Matthew 4
Theme: On the Mountain of the Lord, He provides!
In Genesis 21-23, we have life and death. The life of Isaac, the potential death of Isaac, the life of Sarah, the death of Sarah. In the midst of life and death, Sarah finds her joy complete in what God has given her. She has had laughter. She never thought she would laugh, and those who knew her well, they certainly would not attribute joy and laughter to her name.
But she has a son, in her ripe old age of 90 and she delights and laughs with joy, that God has provided her a son.
Abraham would have a test come some years after the birth of Isaac. The leading question, will the Lord again provide? The test on Abraham is to see if he will sacrifice his son Isaac. The question I’m sure perpetually on the mind of Abraham is, “will the Lord provide?” God provides a ram, caught in the thicket. They named the location, “The Lord Provides.” A big question of why this is necessary remains with us. But certainly having the recent narrative fresh in our minds, Abraham has had problems trusting in the provision, power and presence of God. He doesn’t trust God to provide a son, so he sleeps with Hagar. Doesn’t trust in God’s provision, power and presence in Egypt, and tells others that Sarah is his sister, and not his wife. There is stark evidence that Abraham is having difficulty trusting God. For all the times he believed in the Lord, there are equal, if not more times that he failed to trust. I suppose we know what that is like.
In today’s New Testament reading of Matthew 4, we see Jesus, tempted in the wilderness. The aim of this temptation, I see a fairly similar test that was given to Abraham. That temptation being, at its most foundational level, questioning: “Will the Lord provide?” Test one: Turn these stones into bread. It begs, “Will the Lord provide for my hunger?” Test two: Will the Lord provide protection if I were to jump from the temple? It asks, “Will the Lord provide His protection?” Finally, Test three: Will the Lord provide power or should I take the easy path? It leans in to Jesus’ identity, “will the Lord provide me power or do I achieve it through some other means?”
And Jesus, deeply and intimately familiar with the story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the life of Israel, Jesus knows the Lord will provide. He can trust Him! And he puts it on display. And will display that trust in the provision of God through the rest of his earthly life and ministry. Even unto death.
And from that time on, Jesus began to preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God. The good News that God is providing a way forward for us all. A way of comfort and strength, a way of God’s power, presence and provision in our everyday lives. Shortly he will tell us to “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and everything will be provided” (My paraphrase of Matthew 6:33). This is Good News. The Lord Provides. He did for Abraham, He certainly did for Jesus, and in the kingdom of God, He will for you too.
The Lord will Provide!
Jordan Ickes, Minister of Etna Green Church of Christ.