Daily Devotion for September 16, 2020

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. ..  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. (Genesis 22:1-3, 9-10)

The day God asked Abraham to take his son and sacrifice him must have been a very dark day. He would have grieved that Isaac should never have been born. It was a tragedy for both Abraham and Sarah. A child who had given Sarah a sense of status, joy and laughter would now be taken away. A child who was the one and only hope for Abraham’s lineage would now be a sacrifice. How sad and terrifying it was.

Reason would not permit the asking from God or the sacrifice to happen. Did not God know that Abraham trusted him fully, leaving his own home and country to an unknown land? Why should God ask for a child God had given as a promise only to be taken away and made a sacrifice? What Abraham had gained and been proud of as a father would now be gone. Had he any hope for the future? Senseless and unthinkable! But Abraham obeyed and did what God had asked him.

I can only imagine one good reason for what God is doing in this story. God must prove that Abraham is worthy… for our sake. Worthy to be chosen and the father of faith. Worthy to be blessed and be a blessing to the world. This is a test of worthiness, a test of Abraham’s whole legacy, and a lesson that our reward in life does not come freely but at a cost of trial and suffering, pain and perseverance. Even our faith would be tested for its worthiness. (1 Peter 1:6f; 4:12; James 1:2-4,12)

No one would want to go through time of trials and suffering. However, when we do, we know God is near to us and will provide what we need to overcome. Such was Abraham’s belief. For he said to his son, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.” As for Abraham, God will provide what we need to overcome in difficult times, and at the same time make us worthy of God’s abundant blessing.

 May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.

HMONG VERSION

1Dhau ntawd los Vajtswv sim Aplahas lub siab mas hais rau nws tias, “Aplahas.” Aplahas teb tias, “Kuv nyob no 'os.” 2Vajtswv hais tias, “Cia li coj koj tus tub Yiha, yog koj tib tug tub uas koj hlub, mus rau Mauliya tebchaws thiab muab nws hlawv xyeem rau saum ib lub roob uas kuv yuav qhia koj.” 3Aplahas txawm sawv ntxov tsees nog eeb rau saum nees luav thiab coj nws ob tug tub qhe uas tseem hluas thiab nws tus tub Yiha nrog nws mus. Nws txiav taws siv hlawv xyeem, thiab taug kev mus rau lub chaw uas Vajtswv hais rau nws… 9Thaum ob tug mus txog qhov chaw uas Vajtswv tau hais rau nws lawm, Aplahas txawm ua ib lub thaj rau qhov ntawd thiab muab cov taws tib twb zoo rau saud. Nws muab nws tus tub Yiha khi los tso rau saum cov taws saum lub thaj. 10Ces Aplahas txawm cev tes muab riam los yuav tua nws tus tub. (Chivkeeb 22:2-3, 9-10).

 
Nub kws Vaajtswv has kuas Alahaas coj nwg tug tub moog tua ua khoom fij yog ib nub kws tsaus ntuj nti.  Nwg yuav nyav tas caag yuav tsi ca Ixaj tsi xob muaj nub kws lug yug.  Nuav yog ib txuj ntxhuv sab luj tshaajplawg rua Alahaas hab Xalas.  Tug mivnyuas kws ua rua Xalas muaj meej mom, kev zoo sab hab luag taug ho tseem yuav raug pluj moog.  Tug mivnyuas kws yog ib leeg tub hab txuj kev ca sab rua Alahaas caagceg yuav tsaug ua khoomfij.  Txaus tu sa hab ntshai kawg nkaus.
 
Kev totaub tsi tso cai Vaajtswv thov kuas muab tug tub nuav ua khoomfij.  Vaajtswv tseem tsi tau ntseeg Alahaas hab lov, nwg tub tso nwg tsev tuabneeg hab vajtse tseg moog rua lub tebchaw kws nwg tsib paub tsi pum.  Ua caag Vaajtswv tseem kuas muab tug mivnyuas kws Vaajtswv pub ua lug cog tseg coj rov qaab hab muab ua khoomfij?  Yaam Alahaas tau txais hab zoo sab heev yuav tsaug pluj moog.  Tsi totaub hab tsis paub xaav kag le!  Tabsis Alahaas noog lug hab ca le ua raws le Vaajtswv tau has kuas nwg ua.
Kuv ruas xaav tau tas muaj ib yaam zoo rua qhov kws Vaajtswv ua le nuav.  Vaajtswv xaav ua kuas tuabneeg paub tas Alahaas yeej tsimnyog tag.  Tsimnyog raug xaiv hab ua leejtxiv ntawm txuj kev ntseeg.  Tsimnyog tau txais koobmoov hab ua koobmoov rua lub nplajteb nuav.  Nuav yog ib txuj kev sim kuas txhaj paub tas tsimnyog tag, yog qhov kev ua kuas paub tas Alahaas lub keebkws yeej zoo tag tag, hab yog ib txuj kev kawm tas peb kev yuav tau nqe zug tsi yoojyim, yuav muaj kev nyuab, kev txomnyem, kev mob sab hab kev ua tau sab ntev tiv kev txomnyem.  Txawm tas peb txuj kev ntseeg xwb los yuav tau muab sim txhaj pum tas zoo hab tsimnyog (1 Petus 1:6f; 4:12, Yakaubaus 1:2-4,12).

Tsi muaj leejtwg xaav raug tej kev nyuabsab ntxuv plawv hab kev txomnyem hlo le.  Txawj le ntawd los peb paub tas Vaajtswv nyob ze peb hab yuav pub paab rua peb muaj kev kovyeej.  Nuav yog Alahaas kev ntseeg.  Nwg txha has rua nwg tug tub tas, “Vaajtswv tugkheej maam le ua tug npaaj tug yaaj lug ua khoom hlawv fij.”  Ib yaam le Alahaas, Vaajtswv yuav pub paab rua peb yaam kws peb yuavtsum muaj kuas peb kovyeej thaum peb raug kev txomnyem nyuabsab ntxhuv plawv, hab tuab lub sijhawm ntawm Vaajtswv ua kuas peb zoo tsimnyog tau txais Vaajtswv tej koobmoov npluamag.