Genesis 22:1-2, 6-14 – Provide
After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you…Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.
When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
One of the prayers I often lift up for others is for God’s provision. I know there are so many places right here where we are and throughout the world where there is need – for healing, for food, for clean water, for justice, for “a ram in the thicket.” I have heard it said many times that God isn’t often early, but is often just in time, as we see in this passage here. I took this shot last night at a Christmas event at the congregation my wife serves. A big ol stack of pizzas were delivered and everyone came around them to have dinner – they were emptied in just a few minutes it seemed. I am sure that the ram in the thicket looked to Abraham like a towering pile of pizzas when he was hungry (of course he didn’t know what pizza was at the time, but…).
Voskamp talks about how God always provides and always has a ram in the thicket, always has a stack of pizzas when the group is hungry. I have experienced this at times in my life, but not as an always. I know the family soft Michael Brown and Eric Garner aren’t feeling like God provided justice in recent weeks. I know that the child who just died from starvation – her family doesn’t feel like God provided. I could keep going. But I can also point to times where that ram has shown up just in time – times where a miraculous resource has come just in the nick of time.
But this morning, I do pray for those who are still waiting for the ram to appear in the thicket…