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This devotion is part of the Jesse Tree Advent devotion series. 

Scripture reading: Genesis 22:1-14

Oh, the heartache. Abraham had been promised not only the abundance of a multitude of descendants but the delight of a particular son. And here he stood, about to sacrifice that very son. God put him to the test, asking for what was most precious to Abraham: his son Isaac.

The promise hinged on Isaac. If Isaac didn’t live to have children of his own, then the countless descendants would never come to be. God would have broken his promise. So, in heading up the mountain with Isaac, Abraham was counting on God to make a way where it seemed there was no way.

And God came through, providing a ram for Abraham to sacrifice instead. God kept his promise.

He kept it again, centuries later, when he provided a different Lamb as a sacrifice. Like Abraham, God was willing to sacrifice his son, but in this case, there wasn’t a ram to take his place. This time, the Lamb was the Son, too.

And it’s that Lamb, the one who offered himself on our behalf and who rose again to new life, that we await this Advent. After all, Advent isn’t just about getting excited for the babe who comes at Christmas. It’s also about longing for his coming again. When all the world seems out of whack and it seems like there’s no way for good to triumph, we wait. We wait for Jesus Christ to come in glory. We wait, counting on God to keep his promise to set things right.

Prayer

God, trusting that you’ll keep your promise is so hard sometimes. Strengthen my trust and give me the courage to wait to see how you will provide. Amen.

About the author

Grace Claus is resident theologian and editor for Faithward. She's also managing editor of RCA Today, the denominational magazine of the Reformed Church in America.