In Episode 1. Abraham’s emotional sacrifice of his beloved son, Genesis 22:1-18.
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The Scripture For Episode 1: Abraham’s Faith Confirmed
22 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
2 Then He said, “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.”
3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lack and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”
6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”
And he said, “Here I am, my son.”
Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.
9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”
So he said, “Here I am.”
12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide;[b] as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
15 Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— 17 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. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
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- Faith and obedience. If we obey God only when his command 1) makes sense to us and 2) we agree that it is good, then we are not really obeying God’s commands as an expression of trust in his wisdom and his character. Instead, we are merely complying with God’s requests only after he has justified himself at the bar of our own moral or intellectual understanding. Will we obey, or merely comply? Will he be the authority, or will we?
- Faith and anguish. The life of radical faith and obedience will inevitably involve deep and real anguish. The life God calls us to is one that our flesh fundamentally opposes. Does your faith in God lead you to just a more comfortable life, free of the anguish of following him in a broken world? Or does it lead you to constantly wrestle with the values and assumptions of this world? Is there the struggle of anguish in your life of faith?
- Faith and resurrection. The clip powerfully captures the fact that Abraham essentially receives Isaac back from the dead. The author of Hebrews (Hebrews 11:17-19) sees Abraham’s faith here as an outworking of his belief in resurrection: that God would even raise the dead to keep his promises.
Episode 2. Moses & the Burning Bush
Moses’ calling to face his past and deliver His people out of Egypt, Exodus 3:1-17
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The Scripture For Episode 2 Moses’ calling to face his past and deliver His people out of Egypt
3 Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” 4 When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6 And he said, c“I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
7 Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, 8 and gI have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9 And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” 12 He said, p“But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”
13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”1 And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The Lord,2 the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations. 16 Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, v“I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt, 17 and I promise that will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land with flowing with milk and honey.”’
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- Power and weakness. Moses has failed in his attempt to do God’s work through human power and violence. Instead, in the wilderness, he is confronted with his weakness. In his encounter with God at the burning bush, he learns that it will be despite him that God will display his divine power. The Kingdom of God goes forward, not through the use of worldly power, but by utter reliance on the power of God. His strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9, Deuteronomy 7:6-8).
- The fire of God. Fire represents God’s presence throughout the Scriptures. It is an image of terrifying holiness, absolute purity and fierce judgment. Fire is also appropriate because on the one hand it is terrifying and dangerous and yet on the other hand it is beautiful and attractive. The glory and holiness of God is exactly like that. Terror and beauty. Danger and comfort. To lose either side of this tension is to lose the essence of God’s holiness.
- Burning yet not consumed. How do we approach a God who is an all-consuming fire and yet is the very love that the human heart needs? For Christians, the answer is that Jesus took on our flesh and walked into the fire of God’s holiness and wrath on the cross. He was consumed by the judgment of God so that we might come freely to the Fire of God and not be consumed ourselves. We approach the throne of grace not by our own merits or faithfulness, but by his blood.