“The ram is already in the thicket” – words I clearly knew to be from God, as if my own mind was speaking to me; some call it the “inner audible voice. The occasion was a few years ago as I was contending in prayer for a financial need. We had just moved to Kansas City to be part of the House of Prayer, and I was battling with not being able to provide for my household. This clear word that God spoke to me was Him saying that He had everything under control and that the provision was in place. Like He provided for Abraham, He would provide for me.

Galatians 3:7, 29 “Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.” I love being an heir and I love the promises of God. What I often wrestle with is the “process” of believing. Abraham was told on the front end that he was to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering. His immediate response was one of OBEDIENCE. It doesn’t make sense, but I know God is speaking so I will obey. It was exactly the situation I was in, though to a lesser intensity than Abraham. Why did I sell my house, leave my hometown of 53 years, the security of a full-time job, and move to Kansas City?

Without question, Jehovah Jireh desires to provide WHAT I need, but He also deems important the WHERE and the HOW of the provision. The process of encountering Him is what He delights in and what we desperately need. So before He provides the ram, He provides the journey. They were four men at the start; then only two. On the third day, Abraham told his two servants to wait, while he and Isaac kept their appointment on Mount Moriah. There are some places where we journey in community and then some places where only you, and what is dearest to you, must journey alone.

Abraham’s faith was clearly stated to the servants (“The lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”) and to his son (“My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.”). He had the knife in his hand, with Isaac bound as the sacrifice, when the Angel of the Lord restrained him by speaking from heaven. The second time that Jesus spoke, He released the “blessing of Abraham” because he obeyed God’s voice and did not withhold his son, his only son (Gen.22:16-18). We live today, in the blessing of Abraham’s obedience.

His journey and crushing mandate to sacrifice his son, all transpired in less than a week. I’m guessing that it added a few years worth of gray hairs. It doesn’t get much more intense than that! Perhaps it would correlate to a severe testing season of a few years in our economy. Abraham and Isaac walked out alive from their Gethsemane to continue on in patriarchal service to God, Isaac a foreshadowing of a future Son who would walk from His garden, to Golgotha’s hill.

Discernment in the spiritual world will never be based on common sense or emotions. “The golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters is not intellect, but obedience.” Story lines are as varied as the individuals at their heart. I’ve walked with fellow saints through many endings that were not glorious or desirable. It does not however, end the pilgrimage of faith we are called to walk in this age; it simply begins a new chapter. Whatever your situation today, I can say with assurance that “the ram is already in the thicket.”

photo credit: archer10 (Dennis) via photo pin cc