This post is from my heart. Most of my readers know that I fill my offerings with Scripture and base all of my teachings on the inerrancy of the Bible. This post is based in biblical truth, but rather like a tea bag infuses water to become tea, so will this post be infused with Scripture. I have had an epiphany. I won’t bother with Scriptural backing. If you need said proof, just ask in the “comments” section.
Today, as I sat and thought about my life and my relationship with God, I realized something very profound. God the Father has totally been ripped off!
What do I mean?
What I mean is that we are so dull of hearing, so hardened in our hearts, and so totally devoid of holy vision that we miss the whole point.
Most of us, and me included, point to Christ; we worship, dedicate our lives to, and bend to a Savior. This is not bad. This is necessary! Christ is our Savior. Christ is the first-born from the grave. He is our cornerstone. Jesus paid our price that we could not pay. His Name is above all names, His glory above all glories, His righteousness is our free gift through faith, and His atonement is the FINAL price for sin. But…
The “but” is that it isn’t about Christ’s glory or our glory. It is about the Father’s glory! If you don’t believe me, then you haven’t truly grasped what the Bible has recorded. In the end, Jesus hands the whole of what He has bought to the Father! Just as we cast our crowns at Christ’s feet, so He hands over the entirety of redeemed creation back to the Father.
So we celebrate Christ, as we should; so we celebrate His sacrifice, as we should. But do you realize that Jesus Himself told His disciples to pray the Lord’s Prayer? In that prayer, it says, “Our Father”; it speaks of “Thy kingdom”, it finishes with the most incredible words in the Bible: “For Thine (the Father!) is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever, Amen.” It is the Father’s kingdom! It is the Father’s glory! It is the Father’s power! Forever and ever!
Even Jesus Himself speaks many times that He does not speak His own words, but only what the Father speaks, that He does only what the Father says to do, and that the “Father is greater than I.”
Take a breath my friend. Theology will choke you if you let it. Why must I make a distinction between the Father and the Son? And, as you all well know, I am a teacher of the Holy Spirit. So why make a distinction between the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? Why?
Answer: BECAUSE THE BIBLE DOES!!!
So, if just for a moment, let us focus on Father.
There is recorded in Genesis an account that points to a great and life-changing picture of a father. His name is Abraham.
Let your mind and heart open to this reality. Abraham always wanted a child, always pined away at the thought of a son. Yahweh promised Abraham a son and promised him that he would be the father of many nations. Abraham so badly wanted this promised son that his wife acquiesced to his desire and actually took things into her own hands by letting Abraham sleep with their servant Hagar. Hagar birthed Ismael, and the rest is history. But this was not God’s plan.
God told Abraham that Sarah, his wife, would birth a son. The problem was that Abraham was very old and Sarah was very old as well. Biologically speaking, Sarah had passed her child-bearing years. But the fact of the matter is that Abraham believed God, against all odds and against the reality of Sarah being way past the time of conceiving, Abraham believed God! In the book of Romans, Paul tells us that because Abraham believed God and believed that God was powerful enough to “make good” on His promise, that it “was accounted to him as righteousness”. God at one point told Abraham to look up into the sky and observe all the myriad of stars; God told Abraham that he would be the father of so many people, that the number would match the number of stars. Can you imagine what was going through Abraham’s mind at that time?
So incredibly, miraculously, and against all odds, Sarah conceived and gave birth to Isaac. The Bible tells us that Isaac was the apple of his dad’s eye. Abraham’s love for Isaac was deep; Isaac was the most important thing in Abraham’s life. The promise of God, the fruition of all that Abraham was about, and the consummation of a covenant that is as sweet as honey to the tongue, was all fulfilled with the birth of Isaac.
So we can all just wonder in amazement, as surely Abraham did, as Yahweh asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Huh? Wha? Did you just ask me to…to…to put a knife to Isaac’s throat and bleed him out on Mount Moriah? Really?
God’s answer: yes.
That night must have been just awful. I can picture Abraham praying and struggling with his decision as Sarah and Isaac slept completely unaware of the carnage and pain about to transpire. I’m sure Abraham was weeping and pleading and seeking a solution from the Lord that would not require that Isaac be sacrificed. The worst part was that Abraham himself would be the one wielding the knife!
As Isaac and his father journeyed to Mount Moriah with some servants helping them along the way, I’m sure Abraham was just dying on the inside. At some point, Abraham told the servants to stay back; the boy and he would finish the journey up the summit alone. As they were carrying all of the necessary ingredients for a sacrifice, Isaac looks up at his father and asks, “Where is the sacrifice”? Abraham answered in a most profound manner; he said, “Jehovah Jirah”, meaning, “God will provide”. Basically Abraham told his son that Jehovah would provide His own sacrifice. Isaac had no clue that he was to be the one offered on the altar. I wonder if Abraham understood the profundity of the now most wondrous name of God, Jehovah Jirah?
Isaac must have been absolutely horrified as his own father bound him to the wood of the altar. Isaac must have been weeping and begging and pleading for his life. I’m sure Abraham was weeping as well and shaking his head in horror. Which is worse, knowing you are going to die at the hands of your father or a father about to slit his own son’s throat?! The pain and agony of the whole situation is unthinkable, untenable, and impossible to empathize. All that Abraham was, all that he would ever be, and all that he lived for was about to be removed from his life by his own hand. Every heartbeat, every breath, and every hope was bound up in the child that God Himself had promised to Abraham.
With tears clouding his eyes, with horror coursing through his veins, and with trembling hands, Abraham lifts the knife into the air, takes a deep breath of resolution, and commits to the treachery because of his immense love and devotion to Yahweh. Just as the knife hovered in the air, an angel stops Abraham and tells him that God has provided His own sacrifice. In the thicket, on the ridge behind them was a ram, and this would be the sacrifice…or would it?
Many centuries later, in the same exact spot, God DID provide His own sacrifice, the sacrifice of His one and only Son, Jesus Christ.
The haunting I have been dealing with lately revolves around the Father. When we celebrate Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Christ. Do we even fathom how the Father felt about His one and only Son leaving the heavens? The angels declare “good tidings and great joy to all people”; but the Father didn’t find it to be good tidings and great joy! Dad just let go of His boy.
As Christ stood before Pilate, He told Pilate that He was volunteering His life, that no man can take My life, and that His kingdom is not of the earth. Paul tells us that it was for the “joy laid before Him” that Christ laid His life down. Jesus could see the full plan of redemption, He could see the future glory of God and man finally ensconced in an eternal embrace of love and communion.
John 3:16 tells us that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son”. That is some serious love folks! Just as Abraham was horrified by the thought of putting his own son to death, so the Father was horrified by the thought of putting His own Son to death. Not only did the Father have to send His Son to die, but the Father also had to take out the punishment of all mankind on His own Son! And even after taking the brunt of all judgment out on His Son, the Father had to turn His back on His Son in His worst moment as Jesus cried out, “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken Me?!” I’m sure that shout echoed throughout heaven and completely and totally broke the Father’s heart. The pain of crucifixion and abandonment on one side; the pain of forsaking your own Son on the other. Which is more painful?
We can never understand how close the Father and Son actually are. In pure truth we must understand that they are literally ONE. Just as the Bible tells us that a husband and a wife “become one flesh”, so is the relationship between the Father and Son, but even deeper than that! All we can compare their relationship to is what we have modeled here on earth: the relationship between a man and a woman in love, the relationship between a child and a parent, or even the relationship of dearest friends that would easily lay their life down for the other. But the Bible tells us that all of these relationships pale in comparison and do not capture the intimacy between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are literally ONE!
So how badly did it break the Father’s heart? How painful was it for the Father to “provide His own sacrifice”? We will never know. But, this has been haunting me and God is allowing me to get at least a glimpse of this unbelievable truth. It makes me weep uncontrollably, it makes me sad for my Papa, and it makes me understand His great love for me…and for you. I fall on my face in undressed shame that God would do such a thing for me. I am undone and wrecked by His unbelievable suffering for my sake. We are so unworthy! But the fact remains, Papa did the unthinkable.
So as we celebrate our King and Savior, remember that it is joyous for us but painful for daddy. Always remember the message of the cross. The cross is awful, bloody, unthinkably painful, and a symbol of a love that surpasses even the best words to describe. The good news of Christ was not good news for dad. It cost Him everything. Get it? IT COST HIM EVERYTHING! He laid His own precious Son down to buy you back. What Abraham didn’t have to do…God did…
Dear Papa, I love you so much. Thanks Dad for buying me back. Thank you Father for not turning your back on this unappreciative mess of a human. Jesus, my brother, my King, and my Savior, thank you for obeying Papa. Holy Spirit, my counselor and guide and comforter, thank you for sharing this truth with me and pouring Papa’s love deep into my heart.
Oh my God!!!! I am so undone.