How has your Lent progressed so far? Nearly two weeks into the Lenten season, are you still praying, reflecting, and keeping focused on Christ? Have you noticed a change in your attitude and behavior? Whether or not you’ve stuck to your Lent commitments (and even if you didn’t commit to anything in particular), there’s no bad time to decide to set your mind on Jesus. Below is a devotional reflection, drawn from our Lent Devotional, about an Old Testament story that directly foreshadows the miracle of Easter.
A Prayer for Lent
Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down on me. My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. Do not forsake me; do not be far from me, my God. Come quickly to help me, my Lord and my Savior. — Psalm 38:1,2,4,21,22
Scripture to Consider: God Himself Will Provide — Genesis 22:1-14
Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven,
“Here I am,” he replied.
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” — Genesis 22:1-14 (NIV)
Questions to Ponder
- What is your reaction to this story? Does it encourage you? Inspire you? Does it frighten or alarm you?
- Was it “fair” or “just” for Jesus to die for our sins?
- How does Jesus’ death and resurrection change your relationship to God’s law?
A Verse to Memorize This Week
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. — Psalm 139:23-24