Graced by a Provision Beyond Ourselves
2 Corinthians 8:1-9
Everybody likes to hear a good story. So, much of the world’s literature consists of stories: love stories, war stories, stories of adventure. Most of these are very much alike, though they are told about different people and are set in a variety of places and diverse circumstances. A standard formula might look like this: ‘boy meets girl, a problem arises, boy loses girl, the problem is overcome, boy gets girl again, they live happily ever after.’
Only occasionally does a story come along that is so unique that it captures the imagination of people, not merely in one age, but in all ages. The historical record of Abraham’s near sacrifice of Isaac is one of these stories. Noting its poignancy, James M. Boice quotes, in his commentary on Genesis, Vol 2), F. B. Meyer: ‘So long as men live in the world, they will turn to this story with unwaning interest. There is only one scene in history by which it is surpassed: that where the Great Father gave his Isaac to a death from which there was no deliverance.
As we continue thinking about our stewardship this month, that is, how we live for God’s glory, we will focus on the God who provides. One of the stories we will consider is that of Abraham and Isaac (Gen. 22:1-14) as it reveals to us one of our Lord’s most gracious names: ‘The God Who Provides’. In Abraham’s day, God provided a ram for sacrifice in place of Abraham’s son. “But what Abraham really learned was that at the proper time, God would provide his own Son to die for our salvation” (Boice).
However, noted Boice, “I do not know how much of this the patriarch Abraham foresaw, though I suspect a great deal. I do know that he was trusting God when he named the future site of Jerusalem Jehovah Jireh. This must be our trust too.” He then quotes Donald Grey Barnhouse:
“Our minds must go on in the logic of faith. We must call the name of our God Jehovah Jireh, ‘The Lord will see to it. His wonderful mind will provide the way out of the dilemma. In fact, he has provided the way. At the mount of Calvary God saw to it. There love and justice met. There righteousness and mercy kissed each other. There the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, was provided in God’s perfect plan. All he asks of you is that you fix your eyes upon him and believe his Word that he is satisfied with that which he himself has done.”
We, too, are called simply to trust God and live by that same faith. For the God who provided Jesus as the perfect sacrifice continues to be the God who provides for his people. As Paul wrote, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32).
Another story we will look at this week comes from the story of the Macedonian church in 2 Corinthians 8:1-9, who, out of their poverty gave generously. Challenging God’s people to be gracious givers, Paul tells their story and then concludes with these powerful words: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”
I hope you can join us this week as we seek to model big-hearted living ‘beyond ourselves’ for the glory of the Lord.