Friday, December 26, 2014

Here I Am---Genesis 22:9-12---Making the Invisible God Visible

Here I Am---Genesis 22:9-12


When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter 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, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me." 
Genesis 22.9-12 | ESV


"Here I am." It's a key repeated phrase in this story. A phrase that implies a readiness to obey and respond, much like our "Yes, sir." Abraham is so ready to obey. So "here I am"-ish, throughout this story, that many through the years have been caused to pause and wonder: where's the argument? Where's the Abraham who argued not once but two, three, four, five, SIX times for the sparing of strangers in Sodom? Such chutzpah and protest there, but not even a whimper here? Add to this the fact that it is in this story that we have the first occurrence of the word "love" in the Bible. "Go over your son, your only son who you love." The Hebrew word picture captured in the trilateral root we translate "love" - aleph-hey-bet - is "strong-breath-house" - it's panting with desire or affection after someone, and it's the essence of true friendship - and Abraham can't even muster a single objection for the son he loves - especially when this is an instruction that fits more the moon god of Ur he left behind rather than the Friend he's been walking with in the desert for the past four decades or more? Some conclude maybe he did, it's just not recorded; others that he quickly figured out that God would raise Isaac from the dead to fulfill the promises made about him (the Hebrews author argues for this in Hebrews 11:19); still others that though Abraham passed the obedience test he failed the relational test and failed to engage God - as if God were trying to pick a fight, and Abraham just limply rolled over and played doormat - ultimately showing more passion to spare strangers than he did to spare his own son.

Maybe. Maybe it's all of the above on some level.
We weren't there.
But we are here.
We are here with our own test, our own trial, the one challenging us to take an outward and an inward journey, the outward going of obedience and the inward going of relationship and friendship. Which means the real question is what does "Here am I" sound like for you and for me?


So how about it? What does "here am I" sound like and look like for you in the midst of whatever test you may be facing?


Lord, help me not to answer "here I am" too quickly or too casually. Help me to embrace the full inner and outer journey in response to your call and challenge in the midst of whatever test or circumstance I may be facing. Give me the grace to fully engage you in what I face at this moment, rather than simply carrying out a mission or obeying orders. Let me look harder, live deeper. Through Christ

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