Of course, of all the examples of God’s provision, the greatest is Jesus.
Of course, right? Then why do I feel like I too often have to convince myself?
I’ve been struggling with this lately – believing I don’t need God. And not needing God breeds apathy. I know my Bible pretty well, I’m saved by Jesus, my sins aren’t that bad, I can take care of this myself, in a way that’s right for me…
What happens too often is that I forget the height from which I have fallen. I forget where I’ve been.
What I actually know to be true is that I can’t take care of things on my own. On my own, I spin laps chasing after my desires, I make decisions based on how I feel, and ultimately, I drown.
Weeks back, my 20 month old son was in the hospital for pneumonia. He was dehydrated, so they needed to get an IV in him. Except they couldn’t get it into his tiny little veins. So they had to try again and again and again. Twelve attempts before they could finally secure the line. In the middle of it all, I remember being at the top of the hospital bed, up by his head, face red from crying, hair damp from sweating, my heart broken into a zillion pieces. I stood there whispering to him that I would fix this all if I could, that I would take his place in a second if I was able to. I thought, God, you are able. Why aren’t you fixing this for him? And God responded, Jen, this is what I did for you. I saw you in your suffering, and I did take your place.
This is the gospel of Jesus.
God saw me in my sin, drowning in a mess of trying to do life my own way. He saw me dependent upon things of this world, things that don’t satisfy and don’t measure up. He saw me forever away from him because of it. And He fixed it.
What I love most about Genesis 22 is how it foreshadows the gospel. God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son to him, his only son who he loves (vs 2), and Abraham prepares to do it. “Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife” (Genesis 22:6). Abraham carried the fire and the knife. In his hands, he held the means for killing his son.
God himself had the fire and the knife when it came to the sacrifice of Jesus. God himself would pour out his wrath, his holy and righteous anger for all evil and all sin, my evil and my sin, on his perfect, blameless son.
“Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven… ‘Don’t lay a hand on the boy,’” (Genesis 22:11-12). I can’t imagine Abraham’s relief.
Abraham was spared from having to kill his son. God provided a ram. But when God lifted up his fist to pour out his wrath on his son, there was no voice of authority over him, no one to tell him to stop, no one to provide an alternate sacrifice.
Jesus was there in my place. Jesus, God’s own son, whom he dearly loves (Mark 1:11).
How could I ever walk away from a God who loves me that much?
What would I have if I didn’t have His stability, His Word that never fails? What hope would I have in approaching this holy and righteous God if I was on my own?
“At three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?’)” (Mark 15:34). And “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matthew 27:51).
The curtain that use to separate God from his people was ripped up. Access to God was granted. My life, forever changed.
Stepping in: What do these verses tell you about God? What do they tell you about people?
Romans 3:23 – all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Romans 6:23 – the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord
Hebrews 9:22 – without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness
Acts 16:31 – Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved – you and your household
Ephesians 2:8-9 – for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast
John 3:16 – for God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life
Journeying further: Think about your story – what was your behavior and attitude like when you first decided to follow Jesus? How have things changed?
Revelation 2:4-5 – You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen!
How do these verses help if we are tempted to be apathetic towards the gospel?