Rosh HaShanah–A Call to Sacrifice (The First Sunday in Lent)

Sacrifice of IsaacIllustration:  “Sacrifice of Isaac” by Marc Chagall, oil on canvas, 1966.

“He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you'” (Genesis 2:22).

The tradition of reading the “Akedah” is followed on Rosh HaShanah. The Akedah is the story of the binding of Isaac. God commanded Abraham to take his only son, Isaac, up on the mountain and sacrifice him as an offering.  As we read this story, we look to the road ahead of us and see on the map a large obstacle in our way. The obstacle can easily distract us from focusing on God.

Perhaps God knew that Abraham was placing his faith in Isaac, rather than in Him. So he told Abraham to sacrifice his only son on Mt. Moriah. God wanted Abraham to trust Him, the Promise Maker, instead of Isaac, the object of the promise.

Abraham faced the obstacle on the road before him and could have taken the detour, just as he had before.  But he learned from his experience with Hagar.  The detour of self-reliance is a dead end, but God’s promises can be trusted.  So Abraham trusted God, was willing to sacrifice his son, and focused his faith back on God.

Sometimes even God’s gifts become obstacles, taking our eyes off of God and God’s will for us.  But Jesus always keeps His eyes on God, even in the darkest hours.  On the night before he was arrested, Jesus prayed to His Father, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36).

 Prayer:  Our Father, guide me through the obstacles in my life, those things on which I rely and which distract me from You.  Help me to rely on you for all that I need. In Y’shua’s name, Amen.

Ponder the path:  What might be the obstacle in your path? Perhaps it is money, a car, or a friendship  you depend upon more than you depend on God.  Today, set those things aside and focus your eyes on God.

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