Read: Genesis 22:1–18
I have always found astronomy fascinating because of how the hugeness and intricacy of the stars reflects God. Take our galaxy, the milky way, for example. It’s 100,000 lightyears wide—just try and wrap your noggin around that! A lightyear is just what it sounds like: the distance a light particle travels in an earth-year. That means light particles from Jesus’ day still have 98,000 light years to go! At the center of our galaxy is Sagittarius A, a supermassive black hole 28,000 lightyears away from us. Sagittarius A is blindingly bright with the absorbed light of billions of stars. It’s this central pull which moves the arms of our galaxy and gives it shape. Although Sagittarius A is obviously not a perfect metaphor for God, it’s in God’s nature to draw all things toward Himself in the cosmic gravity of His love.
In today’s passage, we see a pivot point in God’s redemptive work with humanity. After the fall, God did not leave human beings for dead but actively worked to draw humanity back to His perfect love and life. Abraham was chosen and had a son, Isaac. Abraham knew that God had promised this son. So when God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, he obeyed without question, reasoning that even if God allowed him to kill his own son, God would raise Isaac back to life (Heb. 11:19). That’s some crazy faith!
Thank God for His goodness and love for life! God spared Isaac and offered a substitution for this unbearably painful sacrifice, and then said, “and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice” (Gen. 22:18). Blessing and redemption have been God’s program from the very beginning. This should force us to ask, why does God care about people so much? Why would a self-sufficient God with power to wipe out creation and start over decide to take the long and painful road of healing His wounded creation?
So what does love mean in the Bible? It has to do with recognizing value in something, as in a knowledge or ascribing of something’s worth. That’s the twist in the tale of Genesis 22. Notice God’s language in verse 12, “you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” It’s not that Abraham stopped loving Isaac, but by his obedience Abraham showed that he loved God more. He also demonstrated his faith by reasoning, with incredible faith, that God could raise Isaac from the dead (Heb. 11:19)!
Now think about this in light of what you just read. If God, loves the world, then humans are of unfathomable value. We are infinitely valuable because we are infinitely loved by an infinite God.
God loves us, even though we are corrupted and cannot see our own value—let alone God’s value! That’s why we need Him to cleanse our hearts and restore us to Himself. The closer we draw to God, the more we are healed from the sickness of sin that blinds us (2 Cor. 4:4)—and the more we can see, the more we can genuinely love what God loves—that is, ourselves and others.
Ask yourself, what do you naturally put value in? Is it security, ‘me-time’, family, your job, your friends? These are all good things, but when we assign supreme value to these things they become corrupted. How do you value God? If you’re like me, I have found it difficult to really value God—I just take Him for granted most days. It’s not until I pray earnestly to value God—as backwards as that sounds—that I begin to get a glimpse of how worthy (or valuable) He is. Take some time to pray and really ask to see God as valuable and be open to how the Spirit moves you.