“And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked,
and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns.
And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.
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.”
Our church is going through an Easter devotional together in these weeks leading up to the celebration. Today focused on the foreshadowing in this passage, pointing to the sacrifice of Jesus, the substitution that offers us salvation from the death to which our sin leads. The devotion ends with this prayer: “Lord, what You promise You are faithful to provide. Like Abraham, I wait in faith, believing You to do ‘exceeding abundantly above all’ I might ask or think.”
It is the words of this prayer I want to spend a few moments dwelling on.
What the Lord promises, He is faithful to provide, to do.
Throughout the Old Testament, we see promises of a coming Savior, a Deliverer. Not only for the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but to all the ends of the earth. In Isaiah 45:22, we read the words of God, calling out, “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” God is calling out, promising salvation to all who will turn to Him. In John 6:40, we hear from Jesus more clearly how this is accomplished: “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
The Lord promises salvation to all who look to Him, to all who look on Jesus the Son who was lifted up on the cross, enduring the wrath and death that were our due, and who was then raised to life in victory. All who look to Him, turning from their sin and believing He is enough to save, are promised new, abundant, eternal life. The Lord promised it, and He was faithful to provide. He promises it now, and is faithful to give salvation to all who look to Him in faith and surrender. It is through the fulfillment of this promise that we are able to take hold of all others.
In Isaiah 45:19, the Lord says, “I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘seek me in vain.’ I the LORD speak the truth; I declare what is right.” In this, we see a promise of truth spoken, of right declared. A promise that our Lord can be trusted in what He says, that He will not lead us astray or speak wrongly. And when we seek Him, it is not in vain. There are times He seems silent and we have difficulty sensing His presence or seeing His hand in our circumstances, but He does not leave us and He will not remain hidden or silent forever (Job 23:8-10). We keep seeking, and He remains faithful and constant in it all.
In John 10, Jesus reveals Himself as our Good Shepherd who calls to us, leading us each by name (John 10:3). Promising that He knows us (John 10:14) and that, as His own, we can recognize the voice of our Shepherd (John 10:27).
Our Lord is faithful to provide salvation.
He is faithful to provide truth and light.
He is faithful to be found by those who truly seek Him.
He is faithful to call us and guide us clearly in relationship.
My thoughts are drawn to another promise, another provision, that I think we often neglect to realize – myself included. Perhaps because it seems impossible to truly take hold of and experience.
As the Lord has provided salvation, freeing us from the captivity and darkness and eternal death of sin – a provision at great cost to Him – so He also promises and provides all that is needed to walk in this freedom fully.
Because His Spirit is here, inside me. Inside each one who has chosen to turn to Christ.
A Spirit of love, and power, and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7).
Love to eradicate fear, because God’s seal is upon us, declaring us His forever so that we know we will not be lost from His grasp (1 John 4:18; John 10:28-29). A wonderful, hope-filled promise. How often, though, do we stop there? Recognizing the Spirit of God within us as a seal and a comforting, steadfast presence, then continuing on with life mostly in our own strength? Saying to ourselves we’re “only human” and “not perfect” and accepting our sins as just what happens here on earth and, while there might be some measure of felt guilt, not really thinking they’re all that bad?
Do we really comprehend the Spirit of God within us and what that power, the power of Almighty God that raised Jesus from the dead, can mean for our daily lives?
Yes, we are still a work in progress. A work that will ultimately be complete when we stand before the throne of the God who has made us holy and blameless. That work is not yet finished; our brokenness and weakness still show themselves.
But let us not just accept this of ourselves – let us fight! Because we are not just “ourselves” anymore; we have the Spirit of God Himself within us, actively at work to perfect our character, convict us to turn us fully away from sin, and provide us ways of escape from temptation!
O believer, may we each take hold of the power within us that is God’s Spirit and strive toward that goal of becoming like Christ with everything we have. Employing that Spirit of self-control to make our thoughts, our actions, the inclinations of our heart obedient to Christ, because we are His, bought with a very high price, and He gives us the strength and ability to do so.
If we really believe Jesus came to bring salvation, freedom, and abundant life, let us pursue that freedom wholeheartedly and determine to walk in His abundant life throughout our days. Because that is where joy and peace are found most fully: abiding in Him, in His presence, knowing the power of His Spirit as we are made more and more like Christ, as we experience Him working in us to will and to work for His good pleasure (John 15:9-11; Philippians 2:12-13).
He has promised to give us everything we need for this, and what He promises, He is faithful to provide.
“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.”
2 Peter 1:1-10