Thanksgiving Always Proceeds the Blessing

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. It is always busy and there are so many things to do to prepare for it but the most important thing is to stop and reflect on the goodness of God and to thank Him for all of His many wondrous gifts to us. We see in scripture that it was always God’s plan to make or provide a way for sinful man to regain the ability to approach Him.

The 22nd chapter of Genesis is remarkable and fascinating to me in so many ways. In it, God calls to Abraham and commands him to sacrifice his only son Isaac on the mountain. Can you imagine that? Abraham was a hundred years old when Isaac was born and Isaac was the child of promise from God. Now God tells Abraham to take Isaac and sacrifice him. The thoughts and anguish that Abraham must have endured as he agonized over this command had to be horrendous. As far as I can tell, there was no advance warning or even an inkling of what God asked of Abraham.

Yet, early the next morning, Abraham gets up and gathers what he needs as well as Isaac and a couple of servants and off they go to a mountain the Lord will reveal when they get there. This is a pattern in Abraham’s life – to go where he knows not – just to obey God and do as he is told. That in itself is remarkable enough! How many of us would obey like that?

On the way, Isaac gets a little curious and asks where is the lamb they will sacrifice. He sees the pot, the knife and the wood – all the trappings of a sacrifice for he is well aware of what a sacrifice is and how it is conducted. So, he must be a least a young lad if not a young man by this time. Abraham tells him that the Lord will provide the lamb:

Genesis 22:8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

When they arrive at the appointed place, Abraham builds an alter, arranges the wood on it, binds Isaac and lays him upon the alter. There is no description of how this was accomplished but I can’t imagine that Isaac just stood still and permitted all this  without some sort of struggle whether physical or verbal. Can you imagine how hard this must have been for both of them? They loved one another and now this? Abraham picks up the knife to slay Isaac and raises his arm to deal the blow and the angel of the Lord calls out to him and stops him.

Genesis 22:11-12 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

This verse always sounds so much like:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Then, Abraham looks and sees a ram entangled in a thicket by his horns:

Genesis 22:13-14 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah Jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.

You see, God did provide the lamb for the sacrifice – quite literally for Abraham and Isaac. Then, Abraham gave God a new name – Jehovah Jireh – The Lord our Provider. The Lord is our provider as well and He will provide everything we will ever need. He provided and sent His only begotten Son – the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth who came later in direct fulfillment of:

Genesis 22:15-18 And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

And, indeed all the nations of the earth have been blessed by the advent and sacrifice of Jesus the Anointed One. Abraham is called the father of those that have faith because he believed God and obeyed Him.

Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

James 2:21-23 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

The Lord has made a way for all of us to be able to come back to Him through belief in His only begotten Son who came as a man; then lived as a man and was tempted in all ways as all men are – yet never sinned; who went to the cross enduring a shameful painful scourging and even death in our stead. All this because God provided the lamb for the sacrifice! God knew what it would take and that we could not bear the cost – so, He took it upon Himself and He bore the cost we could not. Can you imagine how elated Abraham and Isaac were that God provided the ram in the thicket? Can you imagine their discussions of this event over the years after it happened? I am sure neither one ever forgot what God did for them that day! In like manner, let us never forget what God has done for us! Let us never forget the blessings God continues to bestow upon us – His children!

Father, we thank you and praise you for the gift of your Son Jesus! We thank you for providing the lamb for the offering to pay for our transgressions and our iniquity. We thank you Father for being a good and merciful Father to us. We thank you Father for sending your Holy Spirit to us and opening our eyes and lifting the veil from us so that we might see Jesus! We thank you and praise you Lord for you are a great and awesome God who is worthy of all our praise and adoration! Your awesome faithfulness, thoughtfulness and provision for us knows no equal – we cannot begin to imagine all that you have prepared for us – for those that love you. It will be breathtaking and beyond anything we can fathom – even in our wildest dreams.

We thank you Father for your favor and provision for us and our families! We thank you Father that no matter what we see happening in the natural, we can count on you completely. We thank you Father that we know you will never forsake us or leave us and that all things work for good to those who love you. Help us to get this down deep inside us Father that we can walk this path without fear of anything or anyone simply because we belong to you and you have made provision for everything we will ever need. We thank you Father that you are the same yesterday, today and forever and that none of your promises will ever fail. You are incredible and we love you Lord! Words are inadequate to describe how glorious and holy you are! We pray in the name of Jesus, the Holy Anointed One of Israel. Amen.

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