Provision: Our Need In God's Time

Provision: Our Need In God's Time

by Dan Neighbors

Provision. So often, in my life I’ve thought of the idea of provision as being God giving me all the things to make me comfortable. Food to eat (not just any food but what sounded good in that moment), clothes to wear (not just any clothes but what I felt I looked good in), a home to live in (not just the building but all of the things inside of it to aid me in my comfort)… I could list many more things that I had placed under the category of God’s provision.

Sunday, during our 9am hour, we studied Genesis 22 where God asked Abraham to do something inconceivable. He asked Abraham to sacrifice his one and only son. And, do you know what happened in the passage? Abraham got up early, packed his things, got some wood, and left his home with his beloved son in order to be obedient. But, how? How did Abraham muster up the courage to do this torturous task? Abraham already believed God to be Yahweh…Jehovah…I am that I am…the God who is… Abraham already believed God to be the purposeful Creator who did nothing by accident, kept His promises, and provided for every need. He knew God to follow through—with the promise to make him a great nation through Sarah, the promise to be with him, and the promise to provide just as He had provided land and other needs. So, when asked to do something so great as sacrifice his son, I believe Abraham looked back on all God had done and promised and set his mind to obeying while leaving the task’s results up to the God of all.

Scripture tells us that this journey to the mount took three days. Three days of travel. Three days of thinking. Three days of talking with his son. Three days of mulling over what was to come. Three days to wrestle over the issue with God in his heart. But, in those three days, Abraham did not lose his resolve. Once at the mount, he told the servants to stay where they were and that he and the boy would return once the sacrifice was made.

Believing God for His provision in His timing, Abraham prepared the sacrifice and went forward with the task without hesitation. When asked by his own son where the lamb for the sacrifice was, he simply answered that God would provide. At the climax of the story, Abraham’s son on the altar, his knife in his hand, his arm stretched high above his head, God spoke. God provided.
“If you have been around Emmanuel for any amount of time, you have probably heard that phrase, substitutionary atonement, in reference to what Christ has accomplished for us in his death on the cross. But what does it mean? The book of Genesis gives us a helpful picture of the concept in what may be the first instance of it in the Bible: “And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son” (Genesis 22:13). The ram was offered “instead of” Isaac; the ram died instead of Isaac, that is, on behalf of Isaac. This is the heart of substitutionary atonement and is the same theological concept at play in Christ’s death on the cross. When we say that Christ died an atoning death as our substitute, we just mean this: Christ died for our sins instead of us. To keep it simple, you could call it instead-of atonement. Praise God that Christ died for our rebellion instead of us!”

I appreciate that thought James Opperman, one of the teachers for the young families class, shared on Sunday. “Instead of” atonement. See, the provision of the sacrifice was exactly what Abraham needed but only came at the time that Abraham needed it. Nothing about the command God had given was comfortable. And, even in God’s provision, I would assume that Abraham did experience relief from not having to complete the sacrifice of his son. God wasn’t asking Abraham to be comfortable—He was asking him to trust Him. This trust of God through difficult, uncomfortable obedience can only come out of a heart that knows God. As we know Him more, we trust Him more.

As we go throughout this week, may we seek to know Him by looking for who He is in Scripture, rejoicing in the promises we’ve seen Him fulfill in our lives and others lives, and lift His name high because He provided the ultimate sacrifice “instead of” us. God be praised!

As you consider the thoughts above, here are a few resources to help you better worship God this week. As always, you can see our updated resources for each week on our Resource Page. We also sell (at cost) family resources to take home and accompany our studies through the gospel project like family devotionals and worship music. If you are interested in any of these, visit our Family Resource Center on Sunday in the EKIDZ Wing.

Abraham & Isaac [Gospel Project Kids Video]

Abraham & Isaac [R.C. Sproul Teaching]

The Sacrifice of Faith [R.C. Sproul Teaching]

God’s Promises [Sovereign Grace Kids Worship]

I Will Wait For You [Shane & Shane Worship Song]

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