Last night we watched the beginning of the new ten part mini-series, The Bible. I thought it was very good. Not the greatest visual effects, but good acting and true to the Biblical stories.
There is just something about these stories that are so powerful.
Over the years of reading my Bible I've noticed a theme within its pages.
God is saying these five things over and over:
I LOVE YOU
COME TO ME
TRUST IN ME
REST IN ME
I loved how each character, Noah, Abraham and Moses, in this first episode, repeatedly would encourage the people around them to trust in God. That's what serving God is all about, resting and obeying in trust, repenting when you fall and knowing you are always loved.
I thought it was creative the way they started this series off with Noah, during the 40 days
of rain in the ark, telling his family the story of creation.
My favorite part of this first episode was the story of Abraham. I loved how the characters in this story were portrayed.
Abraham was so excited about following God (He really was and is in love
with God) : )
I believe Abraham not only loved Issac, but Ismael as well. I loved how they showed Abraham's
heartbreak when Sarah had Hagar and Ismael sent away. Though Issac was the chosen one God used to fulfill His promises and show Himself to us, God loved Ismael just as much and promised and blessed him with a great nation.
"And God heard the voice of the lad. Then the angel of God called to
Hagar out of heaven, and said to her, "What ails you, Hagar? Fear not,
for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is.
"Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation." Genesis 21: 17-18
The scene when Abraham takes Issac to be sacrificed, was probably the most powerful scene. My daughter and I discussed afterwards what Issac must have been feeling. His own father, whom he loved dearly was about to kill him!
She asked me, 'do you think Issac was mad at his dad after that?' and 'how do you think Abraham felt when Issac asked, 'Father, where is the lamb for the burnt offering?' Such great questions! I wonder if Issac fully understood the big picture of what God was doing that day. I'm just starting to understand it myself.
A.W. Tozer in his book, The Pursuit of God, writes in chapter two about this very thing. It opened my eyes to what happened that day and so I thought I'd share part of it here:
"...In the story of
Abraham and Isaac we have a dramatic picture of the surrendered life as
well as an excellent commentary on the first Beatitude.
Abraham was old when Isaac was born, old enough indeed to have been
his grandfather, and the child became at once the delight and idol of
his heart. From that moment when he first stooped to take the tiny form
awkwardly in his arms he was an eager love slave of his son. God went
out of His way to comment on the strength of this affection. And it is
not hard to understand. The baby represented everything sacred to his
father's heart: the promises of God, the covenants, the hopes of the
years and the long messianic dream. As he watched him grow from babyhood
to young manhood the heart of the old man was knit closer and closer
with the life of his son, till at last the relationship bordered upon
the perilous. It was then that God stepped in to save both father and
son from the consequences of an uncleansed love.
"Take now 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."
The sacred writer spares us a close-up of the agony that night on
the slopes near Beersheba when the aged man had it out with his God, but
respectful imagination may view in awe the bent form and convulsive
wrestling alone under the stars. Possibly not again until a Greater than
Abraham wrestled in the Garden of Gethsemane did such mortal pain visit
a human soul. If only the man himself might have been allowed to die.
That would have been easier a thousand times, for he was old now, and to
die would have been no great ordeal for one who had walked so long with
God. Besides, it would have been a last sweet pleasure to let his
dimming vision rest upon the figure of his stalwart son who would live
to carry on the Abrahamic line and fulfill in himself the promises of
God made long before in Ur of the Chaldees.
How should he slay the lad! Even if he could get the consent of his
wounded and protesting heart, how could he reconcile the act with the
promise, "In Isaac shall thy seed be called"? This was Abraham's trial
by fire, and he did not fail in the crucible. While the stars still
shone like sharp white points above the tent where the sleeping Isaac
lay, and long before the gray dawn had begun to lighten the east, the
old saint had made up his mind. He would offer his son as God had
directed him to do, and then trust God to raise him from the dead. This,
says the writer to the Hebrews, was the solution his aching heart found
sometime in the dark night, and he rose "early in the morning" to carry
out the plan. It is beautiful to see that, while he erred as to God's
method, he had correctly sensed the secret of His great heart. And the
solution accords well with the New Testament Scripture, "Whosoever will
lose for my sake shall find."
God let the suffering old man go through with it up to the point
where He knew there would be no retreat, and then forbade him to lay a
hand upon the boy. To the wondering patriarch He now says in effect,
"It's all right, Abraham. I never intended that you should actually slay
the lad. I only wanted to remove him from the temple of your heart that
I might reign unchallenged there. I wanted to correct the perversion
that existed in your love. Now you may have the boy, sound and well.
Take him and go back to your tent. Now I know that thou fearest God,
seeing that thou bast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me."
Then heaven opened and a voice was heard saying to him,
"By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son--
blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your
descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the
seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."
The old man of God lifted his head to respond to the Voice, and stood
there on the mount strong and pure and grand, a man marked out by the
Lord for special treatment, a friend and favorite of the Most High. Now
he was a man wholly surrendered, a man utterly obedient, a man who
possessed nothing. He had concentrated his all in the person of his dear
son, and God had taken it from him. God could have begun out on the
margin of Abraham's life and worked inward to the center; He chose
rather to cut quickly to the heart and have it over in one sharp act of
separation. In dealing thus He practiced an economy of means and time.
It hurt cruelly, but it was effective.
I have said that Abraham possessed nothing. Yet was not this poor man
rich? Everything he had owned before was his still to enjoy: sheep,
camels, herds, and goods of every sort. He had also his wife and his
friends, and best of all he had his son Isaac safe by his side. He had
everything, but he possessed nothing. There is the spiritual secret.
There is the sweet theology of the heart which can be learned only in
the school of renunciation. The books on systematic theology overlook
this, but the wise will understand.
After that bitter and blessed experience I think the words "my" and
"mine" never had again the same meaning for Abraham. The sense of
possession which they connote was gone from his heart. Things had been
cast out forever. They had now become external to the man. His inner
heart was free from them. The world said, "Abraham is rich," but the
aged patriarch only smiled. He could not explain it to them, but he knew
that he owned nothing, that his real treasures were inward and eternal..."
Buy the mini series HERE on Amazon