Father and Son

I have always loved the story of Abraham and Isaac. The story of willingness and sacrifice and reprieve and provision, captivate me. After all, isn’t that ultimately the journey of every faithwalker? But this week God challenged me to reread it, in His narration, with His thoughts, through His eyes and, most of all, in regard to His heart for His beloved.

Abraham was ready, I felt sure of it. Patiently, he had waited for Me to send Isaac, and daily I watched his love for his son and pride over him grow. I delighted to see that My friend was pleased, but much rode on the faith of My beloved Abraham, a faith that I had to test for its surety and steadfastness.

He was out observing My creation, strolling among his people, eyes always trained upon his boy. He marveled aloud to Me as he watched Isaac pull back the bow how very grateful he was over the gift of his son. It was in that moment of thankfulness I chose to make My request, in the glow of his joy.

“Abraham!” I called.

Immediately he answered, “Yes, Lord! I am here.” The look on his face was eager to speak, eager to obey, age had not changed his youthful expectation, but I had the highest price to ask of him.

“It’s time,” I commanded. He seemed confused so I continued, “Take your only son, Isaac, now and go to Moriah…” I waited to finish as his smile hesitated, “…and take him and offer him…”

Abraham’s eyes took on a look of disbelief even as his soul screamed out to My heart not to finish the thought, but his obedient heart waited for Me to finish.

“Offer his as a burnt offering on the mountain of My choosing.”

His head fell, his grown man lips quivered, but his resolve was not shaken. He trusted Me. I felt it and I read it from his heart even if his lips could not utter it.

I watched the next morning, early, as he loaded up his donkey and assembled his entourage, Isaac, the most prized possession by his side as he led the way. Each day was a litany of praise to Me, stories of my goodness and faithfulness shared with each footstep closer to the unspeakable. Isaac never seemed to question Abraham’s frequent affections and head rubs. Abraham was making the most of the three days, three days I ordained for them to say goodbye. I’m a loving God, I could have chosen any mountain, but that one had significance to this sacrifice and to My own, and I wanted this for them.

When they made it there I observed intently as Abraham settled his servants and gave them directions and a time frame in which he would return. I watched as he swallowed hard while Isaac said his goodbyes. Then, I watched as Abraham placed the bundle of wood upon Isaac’s shoulders. As he did so, I felt the scars in My own back ache.

“This is necessary,” I whispered into the ear of My beloved, but all he felt and heard was the whistle of the wind.

In his own hands, Abraham carried the fire source and the knife. His grip on its handle was weak almost begging the slightest force to rip it from his hands, but his obedience carried it nonetheless. Isaac wondered often as he observed the elements of sacrifice that a significant piece was missing – the offering. He questioned his father, but he could not bear to tell his son and so I heard him say with spoken words, “God Himself will provide.” He had no idea the revelation of those words. I could feel the cries from Abraham’s bosom asking if there was any other way? And, My own voice echoed through the ages in his acceptance, “Nevertheless, let Your will be done.” Years evaporated and generations passed away as I beheld Abraham telling Isaac to be still as he bound his only son. I watched Isaac struggle and question, begging for understanding. Abraham was silent but in his heart he called out to Me declaring My name for all generations and with each name a work of goodness that preceded it. He, like his son, was begging Me to hear his cries, and I, too, remained silent. Would he recall My favor thus far? The promises I had made? The nature of My faithfulness?

I observed the Accuser reminding him of his failures, of his sins, planting doubts of My character and My affections for him. But, I encouraged Abraham to recall My love, My grace, My kindness despite what wrongs he had committed. As the Accuser started in again, I held up My hand to silence him. I tired of his lies, his attempts to discredit Me and to discourage those I love. Besides, something greater had My complete attention, Abraham reached for the knife.

All eyes in heaven stood in observance of this moment. I had issued a command, and only I could choose to undo it. A tear escaped My eternal eyes as I watched my beloved hold the knife high. Faith that once trembled from his lips now held firm in his love for Me. My heart was full! Abraham was declaring his love for Me! I had asked him to do the unthinkable, and still he chose My will over his own. Time stood still as I observed this gift. – the love he showed Me as he held a knife to his son – his beloved as he was Mine.

“Abraham!”

He didn’t drop the knife, “Yes, Lord?” Determination shook his frame.

“Stop! His arm slowly dropped its position, confusion, quickly replaced with relief, washed over him.

“Don’t touch that boy!” All of heaven was rejoicing in his love for Me! “You have shown you honor and respect Me! You were willing to sacrifice, without holding back, your son, your heir.”

I had situated the ram – spotless and pure – a most fitting offering – in the bushes beside their makeshift altar. I caught My breath as Abraham quickly unbound Isaac, clutching him to his chest and thanking Me for My provision. Together, they situated the sacrifice on the pile of wood. I touched the engravings in My hands, the scars that symbolized the name of every soul willing to be saved, and I smiled.

“ No, my friend, my beloved. I would never ask you to give up anything that I haven’t already sacrificed for you.”

Heads bowed, knees bent, I listened as father and son praised My name for their provision, but what I had truly provided was more than a ram but the Lamb of God – for with the sacrifice of MY son, I would fulfill My promise to Abraham, for I AM Jehovah Jireh. I AM the Lord who provides.

Little Drummer Girl

One of my favorite songs this time of year is “Little Drummer Boy.” I love the cadence of that song, the tune, and the story. But to be honest, I always felt sorry for the boy; he had nothing to give but a song, on his drum. Doesn’t seem like much does it? Or maybe that is how shallow I was or how little I understood until I met the little drummer girl.

To have nothing to give is honestly a foreign concept to me. Though I didn’t grow up in exceeding wealth, I was by no stretch of the imagination poor. Growing up on the mission field had its hardships, but worries about finances never seemed to get to us kids. Daddy handled it well, and he always trusted that God would provide. And, He did, over and above what was necessary to live. Somewhere, always, there was something extra…and charity often took the form of currency. I gave it willingly and freely…but not altogether sacrificially.  I gave out of abundance, but the little drummer boy gave out of necessity.

The little drummer girl I know can identify with the little drummer boy. Emancipated at the age of 16 and living on her own with the provision of God and only those He has faithfully placed in her path, she has lived in want before. She lives in want now…but her needs are met. I can see her, on that beautifully starlit night, gathering her courage to stand before the manger to take a peek at her Savior. With a shrug and a frown, but with eyes all aglow, I can hear her say, “I don’t have much, but I have this drum…and I will play it for you.” She would smile, and pause, and then she would play. It wouldn’t be some haphazard beat that would erupt, but a passionate piece, resonating from her very heart of love. She would play her drum for Him…she would play her best for Him. And, He would know it was the best she had to offer.

It is what she offers Him daily. In so many ways, for so many hours, she trains and practices and learns, not only so she can be better, but so that her offering can be the best. I love this about her. She plays her heart out! She has taken every blow and unkind word that life has thrown at her, and she has willfully pushed that into music for her Savior.  And it isn’t a gift to be pitied; it is a gift to be envied! She expresses more love and devotion with each beat than many will ever dare to express in mere words or thoughts. She sees the drum as His gift to her…and she has made that her gift to Him.

I can never listen to that song again and not think of her. Our little drummer girl…and if she reads this, she will throw her hands up and say something tough followed by, “Whatev,” but this chick is special. As special as they come…and her Father knows this…her heavenly Father…and He is blessed by her songs.

“Then He smiled at me…me and my drum.”