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Out-Worshiped by a Goat

Recently I listened to a sermon by Dr. Tony Evans in which he spoke about the story in Genesis 22 when Abraham was instructed by God to sacrifice his son, Isaac, through whom God was to fulfill His covenant with Abraham to make of him a great nation. Now, while I listened to just how obedient Abraham was, without hesitation, I got stuck on a piece of this story I had not paid any real attention in the past.

In verse 13, God provides a ram for the sacrifice. Okay. This is the point where we all breathe a sigh of relief as we are elated that this father does not have to kill his beloved son. But wait! The ram that was provided didn't just come walking up. It was caught in the thicket, as scripture reveals. Ever seen an animal caught in a patch of briers? How about a fence? Caught in anything that prevents it from getting where it wants to go? The animal would be crying, kicking, and all sorts of carrying-on. It would not have been still and quiet just waiting for someone to come along and gently free it from the unrelenting trap.

Now, I have "squirreled" from Abraham and the psychological and spiritual conflict he must have endured these past three days during the journey. I am considering this creature that does not have an assurance of everlasting life, does not understand a personal relationship with its Creator, yet it was silent in the presence of God. An animal that lives by survival instincts, but didn't fight for its own freedom when entangled. The ram was neither seen nor heard by Abraham or Isaac until the precise moment when God told Abraham he did not have to sacrifice Isaac as he has demonstrated his devotion to God. In that moment, Abraham sees the ram caught in the thicket and, as scripture tells us, sacrifices the ram he had just prepared for his son.

This leads my mind to wander to the donkey that saw the sword-wielding angel of the Lord and does all she can to move off of the road, being beaten by Balaam three times. The donkey, when it could not move off the road, simply laid down. It was not until after the Lord made the donkey speak and question Balaam that his eyes were opened to also see the angel and the sword. Read over Numbers 22:22-35 for yourself. Had the donkey not seen and feared the angel, protecting Balaam, the angel would have struck him down.

And the angel of the Lord said to him, 'Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to oppose you because your way is perverse before me. The donkey saw me and turned aside before me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let her live.

The donkey saved Balaam's life!

Need I continue? Daniel in the lions den, in Daniel 6. The hungry lions did not devour Daniel; but, they certainly feasted in the morning on the men who brought this all on Daniel.

In Genesis 7, we are not told that Noah and his family had to search out the animals God instructed them to take onto the ark. We simply read that the family and the animals entered the ark. No cowboys needed. No ranglers. Just that they went.

I am put to shame by my lack of obedience and my lack of a relationship so very intimate that I cannot recognize when the Spirit of the Lord is present. How many times have I missed Him?

Now that I have these things to ponder, I pray I am not dumber than a bunch of rocks, at least. I've already been up-staged by the wild animals.

Luke 19:40 "He answered, 'I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.'"

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