March 4, 2018

Adult Bible Study Online

A current connection to each week's session

The Lord Will Provide
Genesis 22:1-3, 6-14

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Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac has a special significance for all the Abrahamic religions. In the New Testament, it is referred to as an example of faith being reckoned as righteousness (Romans 4:1-3). Human sacrifice was acceptable among Israel’s neighbors, and at times was practiced by the Hebrews. To sacrifice one’s firstborn son was an especially powerful religious statement. Moreover, though God spared King David’s life, the firstborn son of David and Bathsheba was taken in expiation for David’s sins (2 Samuel 11–12).

The prophet Micah asked: “Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” (Micah 6:7). Well, maybe. Since the Enlightenment, the goal of western culture has been to enhance the material well-being of the individual within the framework of the dominant economic/political system. The logic of the system suggests that birth control and abortion should be preferred to live births. Even inside the church context, it is rarely affirmed that “the Lord will provide.”

I found myself conflicted when both my daughters attended the university where I was teaching. A considerable number of large introductory classes were deliberately designed to indoctrinate students into the dominant mind-set there. At this point, parents either demonstrate special trust in their children or give up on the entire education system.

How many ways might parents sacrifice their children while intending “what is best”? When we encourage our children to go to “good” schools, meet the “right” people, adopt the “correct” values, and so forth, are we playing the system or affirming that “the Lord will provide”?

Kierkegaard referred to Abraham’s test as “a leap of faith”—a dive into unknown waters. However, Watchman Nee’s study, Changed into His Likeness, follows Abraham through many tests of faith, culminating with the sacrifice on Mount Moriah. Abraham had been walking with God for many decades and had failed a number of tests. When we face a great challenge or decision, it may be in one sense a blind leap of faith; in another sense, it may be something we have been preparing for every day of our lives.

—Kevin McCabe,

© 2018

Kevin McCabe is a writer, teacher, and poet. He was formerly an instructor in Classics at several universities, and has also been the author and editor of two books on Lucy Maud Montgomery and a number of works on the history and literature of the Niagara Peninsula. Kevin is a member of Grace Mennonite Church in St. Catharines where he lives with his wife and two daughters.

This article supplements Adult Bible Study, a quarterly Bible curriculum for adults. Adult Bible Study provides in-depth, challenging Bible study from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective, written by an intercultural group of pastors, teachers, professors, and leaders across Canada and the United States. Sessions include daily Bible readings, resources for additional study, and free downloadable resources.

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