Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –
As pastors, preachers, and Bible teachers, we value the Bible, the word of God. The time we spend studying, thinking about, and meditating on the words of God recorded for us in the Bible bring a great reward. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a reward; sometimes God’s words challenge us, confront us, and correct us.
I thought about this in connection with Genesis 22:2:
Then He said, “Take now 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 of which I shall tell you.”
When we read, “your only son Isaac, whom you love,” we come to a special place in the Bible. Counting from Genesis 1:1, this is the first mention of love in the Bible. This first mention comes in the context of the love between father and son, and it relates to the idea of the sacrificial offering of the son.
Yet when we think of what God said to Abraham, every phrase of God’s command to Abraham was like a knife cutting into his soul.
- Take now your son – do it now.
- Your only son Isaac – your only son of promise, the one named “Laughter.”
- Whom you love – the son you cherish and love so greatly.
- Offer him there – bring him to a real place, a specific place, to present him to God.
- As a burnt offering – come to present your son completely, with nothing held back.
When we think carefully through the words of Scripture, there will be many blessed promises for us to believe and receive. There are times when we will sing for joy over the words of a Romans 8:28 or an Ephesians 1:3, and countless other places.
Yet there are also times when the specific words of the Bible will confront us, challenge us, and correct us. As we prepare to preach and teach God’s word, we must let it first confront, challenge, and correct US. Then, faithful to God’s word, we can pass the message on to those to whom God has allowed us to preach and teach. We need to hear and preach God’s challenging words, not only His comforting words.
For Abraham, it turned out wonderfully. He left the place of offering knowing that God did not want or accept human sacrifice, and he knew God would one day – at that same place – provide the ultimate offering of the Father’s Son. When we listen to God’s words to us, it will also be wonderful.
Blessings to you in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik