Sunday, May 13, 2012

Dancing Before the Lord's Pleasure

My thought went early this morning to a scene in the classic movie The Bible. Portions of the Book of Genesis are portrayed vividly. In particular I remember John Huston with that big smile, taking the part of Noah and welcoming the animals into the Ark. I remember also a cranky George C. Scott as Abraham in his time of testing with the commanded mountain-top sacrifice of son Isaac.

It surprised me that Scott would roar as he scaled the height with his son and the firewood and the flame. But how much more real it seemed than a bland obeisance. Much of the religious art fails to get this. The son is a young man. Everything his Father orders he obeys. He climbs upon the makeshift stone altar. He allows the bindings. He remembers the Father's words of a short time before, "The boy and I will be back after a while".

Such faith! In old age, Abraham and Sarah had received the son of their hopes. God had declared that through Isaac would come a nation of special promise, and in fact many nations. God had also proclaimed a new name for His servant. No longer Abram, but rather Abraham, (father of many nations). Imagine this old boy going around and introducing himself, "Hello I am Abraham, Father of Many Nations". The dream was built into his fabric. But now the command. Take your son. Go up that mountain. Render him there unto me as a burnt offering. How can this be? A killing of the child of promise? What comes after death? A resurrection?

The film then plays out rapidly. The knife raised. The angel intervenes. The substitute lamb observed caught in the thicket. The son removed from the place of death. The old man and his precious boy dancing mountain high before the felt pleasure of their Great God, as the fire burns. Camera zooms up and high to present the two, almost as little ants. God's point of view on this happy, never to be forgotten obedience and faith. And the viewer is certain that God is smiling and right on course. The End...The Beginning.

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