Tuesday 14 January 2014

TFTD - 12 January 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

12 January 2014

Genesis 22; 23
Psalms 26; 27; 28
Matthew 14


Today we have read that significant chapter in Genesis 22 in which Abraham obeys the LORD by being prepared - without hesitation - to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. The progressive tests of faith which Abraham "passed" resulted in ever greater promises being made to him.

Did you notice how, the very first time God makes a promise to him, it is "I will make of you a great nation" [Genesis 12:3] and "in you all the families of the earth will be blessed." They started as families and developed into nations. Remember Abraham lived at a time when they lived longer lives than now; some family groups would have been extensive.

It is not until Abraham had shown his faith by leaving all behind to travel to an unknown land that God extended his promise to include his "offspring" [Genesis 12:7] Then, after he has built an altar to the LORD and travelled to Egypt and back gaining wealth and prestige and had separated from Lot that the promise is extended to him "forever" and told he will have descendents as innumerable as the sand. [Genesis 13:15-16]

Abraham then receives a vision from God in the night, and is now told his descendants will be as innumerable as the stars (signifying, we suspect, spiritual descendents). There is a significant verse, "And he believed the LORD and he counted it to him for righteousness" [Genesis 15:6] But of course he had believed him before! However, this is the ultimate, the far reaching, challenge of belief. It is our challenge to!

At the age of 99 his name is changed from Abram to Abraham with all the significance of what that means [Genesis 17:5-8] and "an everlasting covenant" is established. Then, the events we read of today happen - almost 40 years have elapsed since God first revealed himself to Abram in Ur. God sees Abraham as now being ready for the ultimate test of faith. Notice the final promises that are then made, "your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice" [Genesis 22:17-18] How significant the words of Jesus, "Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad" [John 8:56]. Let us share Abraham's vision and also be glad. To do that, we must experience our own journey of faith.
- DC

Thought for the Day

12 January 2014

"... These apostles were humble men, conscious of their failings, and anxious to receive the enlightenment which could save them from repeating the same errors. They were prepared to co-operate with their teacher and to learn in gratitude from him. One of those present after the resurrection and whose understanding had to be opened was the apostle Peter. He knew how much he owed to his Lord ... we do well to let his last recorded words in the New Testament echo in our hearts and minds:

"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen" (2 Peter 3:18)."

- T.J. Barling
The Heaven Was Opened (1986)

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