Our “Bridges I” SIU training curriculum features the “Essential List of 50 Bible Stories” which is like a mini Bible set of stories from Creation to Revelation. The story of God asking Abraham to sacrifice Isaac is on the list and this story is a favorite often chosen by many of our grassroots participants (who are part of our Bridges Orality training events around the world). The participants will memorize the whole scripture story of 19 verses quickly. Because they are from an oral background it usually only takes two or three times of hearing the story for them to be able to memorize it. We can ensure that they have accurately memorized it by having them recite the story back to the trainer. The trainer will gently correct them if they can’t recite the story word for word.
The ability of oral learners to memorize scripture accurately is truly amazing to us “Westerners”. It comes so naturally to them as that is how their culture functions. They share and communicate information orally. Here in the States, I struggle with memorizing 5-6 verses over a month (and have to be corrected quite a bit by the way) but they don’t and they are the key to finishing the task of the Great Commission in Oral cultures. God has uniquely gifted our partners to reach the unreached in their own countries and they are excited to partner with SIU to get Bridges training that helps them become more effective.
Please take a few minutes to read this story of how God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac (Found in Genesis 22) and consider reflecting on the questions afterword.
22 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. 2 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.” 3 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. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 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.” 6 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, 7 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?” 8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. 9 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. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. 12 “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.” 13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram[a] caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 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.” 15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring[b] all nations on earth will be blessed,[c] because you have obeyed me.” 19 Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.
So what is God asking you to give up for Him right now? What are you holding on to “so tightly” that you can’t let go of it?
It could be a variety of things or habits or whatever you (or me) run to for temporary comfort and relief. Our sovereign Lord knows what it is, He oversees it all and He is simply letting us use or borrow what is His already. I recommend that you enjoy all of those “short-term loans” that the Lord is providing for you (and me) with His unending mercy and grace and praise and thank Him for it. If He asks for it back, give it to Him and thank Him for letting you use it and to have that blessing for a season of time. Easier said than done but give it a try. The Lord will honor you for doing so.