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The Eightieth (Choice)

Updated: Jul 15, 2022

I hope you had a good week and didn't get too sucked into the flavor of the day the world tries to jerk you around with. This week we're going to take a look at something having to do with that: choice. Yehovah gave us the ability to choose when He very easily could have designed us as automatons that simply respond to external stimuli. We're going to look at why.

Of course, we could go back to Adam and Eve and their choice, but we've been there a few times before. Let's jump forward a bit from there and revisit Abraham and the choice he had. God gave him a commandment to take his son Isaac to Moriah and sacrifice him as a burnt offering (Genesis 22:2). Now, Abraham had a choice at this point to do what God said or not to.

All Abraham knew was that God wanted Isaac killed as an offering. He did not know God had other plans once Abraham built the altar. In fact, if you look back at Abraham's history, it's even feasible for him to think God was punishing him. I mean, Abraham had a son with his wife's handmaid (Genesis 16:1-4), despite God promising him an heir (Genesis 15:4) while he was already married to Sarah.

After the handmaid bore the son, and there was a bit of drama between her and Sarah, Yehovah even renewed the covenant with Abraham, telling him he will be the father of many nations (Genesis 17:4). Abraham still made poor choices after this however, when he told Abimelech Sarah was his sister, not his wife (Genesis 20:2). So he very well could have thought God was punishing him for doing something wrong by taking his son Isaac away from him.

Abraham still chose to carry out God's commandment, but here comes the interesting part. Notice what God said to Abraham when He told him not to kill Isaac. God told him, "now I know that you fear God" (Genesis 22:12). You see, God also had a choice here. He could have had Abraham complete the offering with Isaac as certain proof of Abraham's fear of Him. He could have then still blessed Abraham with another son to keep His promise of making him a father of many nations. After all, we know this whole scenario is a mirror of what God did for us by sacrificing His Son, Jesus. Only in that situation there was no intervening.

Before we continue, I'd like to point out that I found it interesting that when I went over the Isaac offering this time something came to mind: child sacrifice. In particular, we know that this was a typical ritual done for the worship of satanic gods (Leviticus 18:21), and it's my belief that this ritual still happens today not just in ritualistic ceremonies but also fulfilled when abortions occur. But the thing that was interesting was this time I realized that there is no reference to worshipping idols or other gods or sacrificing children prior to the Isaac offering event. In fact, even before the flood the description was that man's wickedness was great and his thoughts were on evil continually (Genesis 6:5). You'd think if there was idol worship, God would have mentioned it since He was destroying the whole world. Also, in Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities destroyed because of their evil, no mention of other gods or idol worship. The first mention of worship of other gods is in Genesis 31 when Rachel steals the idol images from her father (Genesis 31:19). Did the story of Abraham's near offering of Isaac spark evil to inspire child sacrifice? Perhaps. It's an interesting thought at least!

Ok, so we know God has the ability to choose, that's pretty obvious. He chose to create everything. He chose to create us. He chose to keep us instead of getting rid of us and starting over when that whole Garden of Eden thing happened. And He chose to give us the ability to choose.

That makes sense, right? When we look at the creation of Adam, God said He was making him in God's likeness (Genesis 1:26). Now we see that means all the way down to the ability to choose! So if God gave us that ability, what other abilities do we have that are in His likeness? Most certainly the ability to love, because we know God is love (1 John 4:8). Of course the ability to get angry, because we know God gets angry (Numbers 22:22).

God is also merciful though (Deuteronomy 4:31), and patient (Exodus 34:6). Sometimes we find ourselves challenged to exhibit these traits, but we should strive to show them more often.

Finally, we get an in-person picture of God through Jesus, and He tells us He is truth (John 14:6) and we see He is compassionate (Matthew 9:36). Most definitely we should strive to show these traits as well!

As you go through this week, try to find all the traits displayed by Jesus in the New Testament. Make a conscious effort to focus on not only displaying those traits, but having them truly come from your heart. God created us with the ability to choose not only to follow Him but the type of person we are going to be: one that displays the traits of Jesus or one that displays the traits of the world. Choose Jesus. The devil will try to get you frustrated and get you distracted from being more like Jesus, but don't let him win! Just say, "Not today, Satan!"

Shabbat shalom and God bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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