Genesis 21:8 So the child grew and was weaned.
22:1 And it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him…take now your son and offer him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains…
22:8 And Abraham said [to Isaac his son], “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.”
The story of Isaac’s birth is such a happy one; in fact, there was laughter at hearing the prophecy, laughter at his birth to parents who were both over 100 years old, (probably laughter at his conception nine months earlier, too!), and joy to his parents for the next 20 some years.
But in the midst of these cherished memories in this little family was a challenge that no parent would want to experience – the testing of one’s faith involving the sacrifice of a child. Fortunately, Abraham already passed the test before he ever reached the mountain. Abraham trusted the lovingkindness of his God.
A few thousand years later, Jesus Christ demonstrated God’s lovingkindness in his miraculous feeding of five thousand, then another four thousand people with little more than a basket of bread and fish each time. Yet even after seeing with their eyes, many doubted the Christ, as the questions of Jesus revealed in Mark 8:17, 18 – But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?”
Psalm 107 doesn’t let up on this demand that we understand and praise the Lord for His goodness and that we should trust in His loyal love. Examples are given of how God meets the needs of those wandering in a wilderness, delivers those in exile or in prison, saves even the foolish who call to Him, saves those caught in storms, provides in times of famine, and multiplies those whose families are diminished. Psalm 107 ends with the statement, “Whoever is wise will observe these things and they will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.” Somehow I do not think this Scripture is alluding to our intelligence. The Apostle Paul writes in I Corinthians 3:18, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” Is this wisdom then born from simply reading these histories and assurances from the faithful? Also, Psalm 111:10 states that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; that is, maintaining a state of awe and wonder is the obedient response to God. Perhaps this attitude opens our heart and mind to a life of faith. And with this arms-open-wide approach we can ask, as James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” So let us ask and become wise to truly understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.