What is Truth? (Part 2)

“Abraham!” God called.
“Here I am,” Abraham responded.

And God 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 sacrifice, on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

So Abraham rose early, saddled his donkey, cut wood for the burnt offering, and went out. And on the third day, Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place from afar. “Stay here with the donkey,” he said to his servants. “The boy and I will go over there to worship and come again to you.”

And Abraham took the wood for the offering and laid it on Isaac, his son, his only son, whom he loved. The son carried the wood for the sacrifice. The father carried the fire and the knife.

I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?

“Father?”
“Here I am, my son.”
“Where is the lamb?”
“God will provide for himself the lamb for the burnt offering.”

My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

And when they came to the place God had told him, Abraham built an altar and laid the wood in the right order. He bound Isaac and placed him on the altar, on top of the cut wood. And the Father reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his beloved son.

But a voice from heaven – the angel of the LORD – called out.

“Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” Abraham replied.

“Don’t do anything to the boy,” the voice said. “Now I know that you fear God, for you have withheld nothing, not even your only son, from me.”

And Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham offered the ram as a burnt sacrifice instead of his son.

My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

And two thousand years later, in a garden outside Jerusalem, on the night he was betrayed, Jesus told his disciples, “My soul is consumed with sorrow to the point of death.  Wait here and keep watch with me.” And going on a little farther, Jesus fell facedown and prayed, “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?

And as his servants waited for him – as they struggled to stay awake – Jesus would lift his eyes in the dark of night and accept God’s will that he was to be the ram in thorns. He would offer himself to God, willingly, as God’s provision to the covenant children of Abraham.

My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

Jesus accepted the cup and embodied God’s answer to mankind’s deepest fear: From where does my help come from? Who will keep my life? Who and what is true?

Can there be another way? Jesus prayed. All things are possible for you.

But unlike Abraham, the faithful one would lift up his eyes and see no divine provision behind him. He would hear no loud voice from heaven announcing his rescue, despite his obedience. Nothing would stay the dreadful, final, and awful finish. The shedding of blood. The breaking of an innocent body. The tears of a just and merciful Father weeping over his son, his only son, in whom he was well pleased.

God himself will provide a lamb. Forgive them, for they know not what they do.

The lamb of God looked up from his whole-hearted prayer, sweating blood, and knew that the wood had already been arranged for a burnt offering. Soon he would be bound and laid over the wood on a crude and man-made altar. He would be a sacrifice of worship – holy, pleasing, and acceptable – to God.

It is finished. 

A few hours from Gethsemane, bound and brought low, Jesus stood before Pilate as a crowd gnashed their teeth in the street outside the court. Crucify him! Crucify him! But the lamb of God, God’s own son, resolute and humble, stood without any blemish before the LORD of heaven and earth.

For this reason, I was born.
For this purpose, I came into the world.
My father, the LORD of heaven and earth, will not let my foot be moved.

Abraham put his whole trust in the promise of Yahweh – the truth – that God’s goodness and mercy would not fail when it mattered most. And so Abraham rose early and saddled his donkey. God will provide for himself a lamb. Wait here with the donkey, for we BOTH will return to you soon!

Jesus put his whole trust in the promise of Yahweh – the truth – that God’s goodness and mercy would not fail when it mattered most. And he rose early on the third day to complete God’s will on earth as it is in heaven. Wait here and watch for me! I will return to you soon!

What, then, does this mean to the children of God in this age? It means that God’s goodness and mercy will not fail when it matters most. It means that we can trust the voice, and will, and eternal care of God, the LORD of heaven and earth.

It means God is worthy of our withholding nothing precious from him.

Jesus of Nazareth is the goodness and mercy of God. He is the promise of God kept to every generation. He is the truth of God made visible; touchable.  Jesus is the love and provision of our Heavenly Father made human, the Lamb who withheld nothing and was slain.

And only the willing sacrifice of Jesus, only the blood of the Good King’s son, has the power to conquer the king of Lies who rules every age with fear and dread, deceit and death. Only the power of God – the LORD of heaven and earth – could raise up his beloved son to glory. And that same power will raise up a new people, a new family, a new heavenly race, who number more than the stars in the sky.

So look up church!
Our help comes from the LORD.
He will not let your foot be moved.
He will keep and guard your life!

“What is truth?” Pilate still says, washing his hands of reproach and responsibility. And in response, God’s people stand humble and firm. God’s beloved – his church – lifts up her eyes, and looks hard at the cross.

Our help comes from the LORD. He is our Keeper. Our Deliverer. Evil and Death will not prevail against his kingdom of light and life. Not our will, but your will be done, LORD, on earth as it is in heaven.

This is the truth, church: Because of the work and faithfulness of Jesus, we are free.

We are free, not to find ourselves, prove ourselves, comfort ourselves, or express our own truth (no matter how righteous or compelling we find our truth to be). But we are free to take up our cross, to carry the wood of our Father- cut and consecrated – and follow Jesus in true and living worship.

We are free to become a holy and living sacrifice. We are free to say, “Here I am” to God’s voice, and free to offer our most precious things in this world as worship, withholding nothing.

And even though our souls might be consumed with sorrow, even to death, we are free to fall face down and remind God of his promise. He is our Keeper. He will not let our feet be moved. He will not leave us alone. We are not helpless or forsaken. Our help comes,  not from the wisdom, or principalities, or powers of this age, but from the hand of our father, the LORD of heaven and earth.

“Father, all things are possible for you.”

And so the people of God are free to trust in the manifold goodness of God. We are free to trust in the timing, justice, and intentions of our gracious Heavenly Father. We are free to trust and join Christ, our Older Brother, as he moves through his Father’s world setting all wrong things to rights.

But we are not free to grumble. We are not free to sit in judgment of God’s holy law. We are not free to pick and choose what we will or won’t obey. And we are not free to choose the way that seems right to us – good to us! – and in doing so dishonor the costly obedience and sacrifice of Christ.

We are not free, brothers and sisters, to think ourselves more compassionate than the LORD who created the heaven and earth. We are not free to think we are more discerning or wise than the Father who helps and keeps secure all who put their trust in him. Can there be another way – an easier way – for those who call themselves the children of God?

No.

Not as I will, Father, but as you will. 

Into your hand, I commit my spirit.

Peace to you and yours, beloved Church.

Kim

Genesis 22 (Abraham and Isaac) : Mark 14 (Jesus in Gethsemane) : Psalm 121

 

3 responses to What is Truth? (Part 2)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Love this reminder. Right now my dear friend is awaiting the dreadful cancer diagnosis that has come back in just a short 8 month remission for her husband…she is such a beautiful example of carrying her cross and trusting God’s plan for her and their 5 children. Thanks Kim!

  2. Anonymous says:

    “We are not free, brothers and sisters, to think ourselves more compassionate than the LORD who created the heaven and earth. We are not free to think we are more discerning or wise than the Father who helps and keeps secure all who put their trust in him.”

    So true, and important to remember in a world that tells us love is love is love, or that presumes to know better than God how we are to live.

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