God said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”
Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.”
But the angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”
Another aspect of this story that I love is Abraham’s posture of listening and openness.
Three times he is addressed, and three times he answers, “Here I am.” He answers immediately and faithfully. You may recall that his answer which is translated as “Here I am” is the Hebrew word “Hinneni” which has the fuller meaning of “Here I am, your servant. I am at your disposal. Tell me what you want me to do!”
He is a man ready to be addressed, and is open to whatever is being said in it, for he knows his place in the world as God’s humble created being.
Verse 8 is central to this story, and I would like to quote Walter Brueggemann at a little length because it’s so darn good:
“God will provide.” It is a statement of utter trust and confidence, but one that is quite open-ended. Abraham does not tell Isaac all he wants to know because Abraham himself does not know. He does not know at this moment if Isaac is God’s act of provision. He does not know that God will provide a rescue for Isaac. It could be either way: Isaac or an alternative to Isaac. Abraham does not know, but he trusts unreservedly. He is the man ready to commit his way:
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act (Ps. 37:5)
Abraham finds his only refuge in the divine provider whom he finds inscrutable but reliable. Abraham has turned from his own way to the way of God which lies beyond his understanding but upon which he is prepared to act in concrete ways.
So may we adopt this posture of listening, of readiness to be addressed, and of responding with “Hinneni” and with an open-ended confidence in the goodness and trustworthiness of God our Father.
Are you always ready to be addressed by God?
You know sometimes God’s voice sounds just like our son’s or daughter’s voice. Are we listening and responding?
Sometimes God’s voice sounds just like that friend’s with the complete opposite political views as you. Are you listening and responding to what God is saying to you in it?
Definitely be discerning as to what is truly from God, but also remember that God’s calling out to us is not always what we think it should be, what we might expect, or especially what we may want it to be, at least on the surface. Let God be God and speak through whomever and whatever He pleases. Listen for Him, and not just to your own thoughts, annoyances, and preconceived judgements. God is much bigger than those.