Applying 10 themes of Rosh Hashanah to my daily life! Day 8: The binding of Isaac is thought to have occurred on the first of Tishrei (Rosh Hashanah), and Gen. 22:1-14 is traditionally read on the second day of the feast. The blowing of a ram’s horn (shofar) reminds us of the ram God provided to be sacrificed in Isaac’s place. This story tells us that we can trust God to provide and bless when He asks us to sacrifice and surrender to Him what we hold most dear in our hearts. (Luke 9:23).
We may be quick to think of people and material things we treasure, but God is also calling us to sacrifice and surrender the strongholds in our hearts, as well as all thoughts, emotions and desires that are not of Him, such as: fear, stress, worries, hurts, bitterness, anger, resentment, discouragement, hopelessness, negativity, etc. We hold onto them tightly for many reasons. Oftentimes, we feel justified; or maybe they are so familiar that they feel safe, even though they keep us in bondage; or other times our circumstances scream out messages to us such as “you’re on your own, you’re not going to make it, God is not with you, this will never change, everything is against me, things just keep getting worse, I’m getting it back, God is angry with me,” etc. etc., and we trust those voices more than the voice of God.
When we confess these strongholds, and the thoughts, emotions and desires that are contrary to God’s as sin, and when we use our weapons of warfare to break the spiritual bondage that they form (2 Corin. 10:5), we are presenting our bodies as living and holy sacrifices, acceptable to God, which is our spiritual act of worship (Rom 12:1). Whether we feel justified or not, and no matter what others or our circumstances are telling us — we need to choose to think and speak what God’s intentions are, what His will is for our lives, our relationships, our circumstances (Rom 4:17). We focus on what we KNOW is true, not on what we DON’T know (2 Corin 4:18). As Yeshua said, “We are worried and upset about so many things, but only one thing is needed” (Luke 10:41-42). Especially now with the world around us becoming more and more unstable, we need to focus on what NEVER changes (Heb 12:2; 13:8).
The Lord has impressed upon my heart that although people and circumstances will be up one day and down the next, what I need to focus on each day and where my joy needs to come from is the fact the creator of the universe who dwells in unapproachable light and who is so holy that nothing related to death could come near His presence in the Temple, took death upon Himself, because He desired intimate relationship with me. That’s where my joy, hope and stability need to be based, that’s where my focus needs to be. I need to be willing to surrender anything that would block that intimacy with Him.
What is blocking your intimacy with the Lord that you need to surrender? When you read and hear the story of Isaac’s binding this season (Gen. 22:1-14), be reminded that as you choose to surrender your strongholds, and those thoughts, emotions, and desires that are not of Him, God will provide — and it will be exceeding abundantly above all that you ask or think (Eph. 3:20)!