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Image by K. Mitch Hodge


Genesis 22:1-18

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 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 all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

Abraham’s willingness to offer Isaac.

While reading his chapter, my mind kept going to Sarah. What had Abraham told Sarah?

Abraham, Isaac and the two servants travelled for three days before they reached the place where the Lord had led them. Was she anxious? Was she praying for a safe return?

I thought of how many times I have stood on railway platforms, waving goodbye to one of my children, tearfully and fearfully. I would not be with them to keep them safe. On one occasion, my daughter was flying out of Brize Norton in a snowstorm that was so bad you could not see the shape of the plane, only its lights.

On a few occasions, they were heading for unsafe places. Oh, how I prayed: Lord you are where I cannot be. I place him/her in your hands. Please watch over them, protect and comfort them and bring them home.

My prayers were answered. Praise God.

Isaac came home to Sarah. Abraham, trusted God. He placed his son on the alter and prepared to sacrifice him to the Lord. Abraham’s hand was stayed by God because God gave Abraham righteousness because of his faith and Isaac lived.

We live because God was prepared to sacrifice his only son for our righteousness. Belief in that sacrifice is our hope and joy.

Thank God with grateful hearts for the love, grace and mercy of our heavily Father. Thank Jesus that he gave himself up for us. Pray in the power of the Holy Spirit with songs in our hearts. Amen.

God's Provision

Genesis 11:31-12:5

31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran, they settled there.

32 Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Harran.

The Call of Abram

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

2 “I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.[a]
3 I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.”[b]

4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

Although God had told Abraham that he would ‘bless him and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you’, this must have been a daunting journey. To leave behind your neighbourhood, friends, the locality where you feel secure, and go into the unknown.

When I lived in a big city, I often felt hemmed in, even the sky seemed small. You only ever saw a small portion of a rainbow, and only ever a few stars at night.

Life at that time was difficult, so I ran away. Me, four children, with little money – and the clothes we stood up in. Whatever was I doing? I was desperate to breathe, see open spaces, feel free.

By the amazing grace of God, I ended up in Watchet and God sent one of his disciples to knock on my door and invite me to an Alpha course. I had always acknowledged God in my life, but for many years had been unable to follow him.

Since then, I have been constantly amazed by God’s provision and his faithfulness to the faithful. I only travelled 180 miles so that I could serve the Lord I love. Abraham travelled hundreds more and was truly blessed, just as our faithful God promised.

Lord, I pray for faith like Abraham’s – and courage to follow the path that you have laid out for me. May I praise you in all things and trust you in all situations. Amen.


Genesis 12:10-20

10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. 11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”

14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. 15 And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.

17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.

Abraham’s faith wilted in the face of famine in Canaan. He decided to go into Egypt. He was fearful and forgot to trust in God, so he told Sarah to say he was her brother. Abraham wanted to protect himself. Poor Sarah. I wonder how she felt about it (In today’s world, it would probably lead to divorce!).

Through this subterfuge, Abraham acquired wealth and possessions. God had to intervene. He set diseases on Pharaoh’s household. How Pharaoh found that Sarah was Abraham’s wife, we don’t know. So Pharaoh sent Abraham and Sarah, and all that Abraham owned, away.

God intervened because Abraham was shying away from God’s plan.

Do we use half truths when challenged about our faith? I have heard good-hearted Christians say they are not worthy. None of us are worthy. We are fragile, vulnerable human beings. God knows this. It’s why he sent his Son. If humans could be perfect, Jesus would not have had to suffer the cross. If we truly believe in the crucifixion and praise our Father for it and pray forgiveness for our shortcomings, then joy, hope and eternity with the Lord we love is ours.

Remember all the biblical characters God forgave and who then fulfilled his purpose; and this was before the cross!

Holy Spirit be with me. Intercede on my behalf when I struggle in my weak times. Father forgive me when I am weak – fill me with your strength. I praise you for your love and faithfulness and the way you rescue me and always watch over me. I would truly be lost without you. Use me to fulfil your purpose in my life. Praise be to the Holy Spirit, to Jesus our saviour, and to my heavenly Father. Amen.


Genesis 13:1-18

So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. 2 Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.

3 From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier 4 and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the Lord.

5 Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 6 But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. 7 And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.

8 So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”

10 Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13 Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.

14 The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring[a] forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”

18 So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord.

On leaving Egypt, Abraham finally went back to Bethel, where he had built an altar (Gen 12:8) and prayed there again.

Now a problem arises between himself and Lot. Disputes between their herdsmen are causing problems. Abraham says to Lot: “Let’s not have any quarrelling between you and me – or between your herdsmen and mine – for we are brothers.”

Abraham gave Lot first choice – whichever way you choose, I will go the other way.

Abraham chose a peaceful way, showing generosity of spirit, which enabled the relationship between them to continue. Lot chose the fertile land of the Jordan valley, as opposed to the rocky hill country. So Abraham went the other way.

I’ve always been extremely blessed by the conduct of my brothers and sisters at Watchet Baptist Church. Our church meetings have always been about debate, listening, discussing and voting. All this has been with prayer and respect for each other; no divisions or falling out. When we do things in the spirit of God, with peace and love, blessings flow abundantly – and our church has been greatly blessed.

Matthew 5:9 – Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.

Father, fill me with your love and peace. Help me to understand and empathise with those who are lost and indifferent or angry and belligerent. Help me to be a conduit of your peace and understanding. Help me to be a peacemaker. Amen.

Pleading With God

Genesis 18:16-33

16 When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. 17 Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? 18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

20 Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. 23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”

“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”

29 Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”

He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”

30 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”

He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”

He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”

32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”

He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

God had chosen Abraham to be the father of nations. So he decided to tell Abraham abut his plans for Sodom. Abraham pleads with God. The only man in Sodom who is found faithful to God was Lot – and God rescued Lot and his family, and destroyed the city.

We, through our saviour and the Holy Spirit, can also plead with God. We plead for family members who don’t know Jesus. We plead for those caught up in catastrophes, for governments, for the sick and displaced, for persecuted Christians, and for our own shortcomings.

God responds, because he cares for the faithful, but is harsh with evil. And through that, he protects those who love him.

God still informs us through prayer pictures, words or dreams. This knowledge enables us to pray and act to fulfil God’s plans. Free will is always evident. It is our responsibility to act faithfully. Sometimes our prompt will come through another God-fearing person – and you spontaneously respond, without understanding why, and thinking ‘oh no, what have I let myself in for?’ Panic and doubt soon turn to action, because when it is divine instruction, peace follows.

God has given all his people, from the beginning to the end, his plans for every generation. He has held nothing back. Jesus was coming. Salvation would be there, He even provides warnings for those who chose to turn away. We have free will to choose.

Thank you, dear Father, that you have given us instructions and insight into your plans for your people. I praise you and glorify your holy name. Thank you for sharing your purposes with me and inviting me to be part of your plan. Amen.

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