September 22, 2013

Counting my Blessings

Every day we thank God for our meals and for the blessing He provides in our lives. This includes spiritual gifts from above such as weaknesses strengthened, energy sufficient for our tasks, wisdom for the puzzles encountered, and the greatest blessing of all — a share in the sacrifice that takes away the sins of the world.

Today’s devotional points out that His treasures are for those found in the place where all God’s provision is treasured. That is, “if someone chooses to sit outside the baker’s shop, that person may starve on its threshold.” Those who refuse to “ascend to the hill of the Lord and stand in his holy place by simple faith” will find that God’s amplest provision is nothing to them. They will find themselves empty, even in the midst of affluence.

Yet that simple faith is often tested, sometimes severely. For instance, Abraham’s faith and love for God was put to the test when the Lord asked him to sacrifice his son. As they went up the mountain with materials for a sacrifice, the boy asked about the lamb as they had not taken the customary sacrifice along with the wood for burning it. As the scene unfolded and this loving father prepared to obey God’s strange command, a ram appeared nearby, his horns caught in a thicket. The boy was saved and the ram was sacrificed.

So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” (Genesis 22:14)

The LORD will provide the lamb for the offering He commanded because it was the substitute, the appointed sacrifice to preserve the life of Abraham’s son, Isaac. This was a picture that pointed ahead to the greatest truth — that the only sacrifice that God accepts for the sin of the world is the substitute sacrifice that He himself has provided, His only Son, Jesus Christ.

At this, all I can do is bow in worship. The pagan world built altars but to no avail. Israel also built altars for lambs, but had to repeatedly sacrifice for these were never enough. . .

For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. (Hebrews 10:4–6)

The human body of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, became that offering that forever satisfied the wrath of God against sin. God Himself provided a Lamb. Abraham’s devotion was proved because he did not withhold his son from God. And God’s love is sealed and proved because he did not withhold his only-begotten Son from us.

God provides — on the lowest level, the outward supply of my daily needs, and on a higher level, the means of obedience and action for the challenging duties and sharp trials. And for the highest need of all, He supplies the spotless sacrifice that alone atones for all my sin, even all the sin of the entire world.

To access that supply, I must stay near, inside the bakery as it were, living in fellowship with Him in love, prayer, mediation and obedience. Because He provides in gracious care, His treasury is overflowing for me and for all who have become His children by faith in His Son, the Lamb of God who took away all our sin.

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