“Ram In The Thicket”

September 19, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pumpkin wagon
We are now seeing lots of pumpkins and wagons, a sure sign of Autumn.
This one sure has an especially large pumpkin!

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“Ram In The Thicket”

“And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns” (Genesis 22:13). “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).

Mike MartinMike Martin is a friend of ours who has an interesting ministry. He and his wife, Nicole, lead a “biker church” with a goal to reach bikers and others for Christ who may prefer a non-traditional church setting.

Mike shared of an interesting experience this last weekend where a special outreach to bikers was held at a Harley-Davidson dealership. Though the event had been scheduled for months some of the key leaders he was counting on cancelled last minute. He and Nicole were scurrying to fill some needed positions, in particular the BBQ Caterer, practically a necessity for any event of this type here in Lancaster County. On a weekend in mid September it’s pretty difficult to find anyone whose schedule isn’t already filled.

Nicole frantically called around and finally located a BBQ joint that catered events in Lancaster City called “Dan the Man BBQ”. He was available to meet their need, even on the spur of the moment. Turns out that Dan the Man is a Christian and, as the afternoon progressed and things went well, Dan told Mike, “I’m your ram in the thicket.”

Ram in the thicketThat’s an interesting allusion to a tremendous event in the Old Testament recorded in Genesis 22. In one of the signature demonstrations of faith and obedience in the Bible Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his own son: “But just as he took the knife, the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here am I.’ He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me'” (Genesis 22:11,12). Abraham passed the test.

“And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.”  Dan the Man described his last minute availability to the Bikers Event as a “Ram in the Thicket” as illustrated in this famous Scripture passage.

We indeed can be a “ram in the thicket” to meet the critical needs of other people. God providentially ordains this in His design that we be interdependent on one another.  Romans 14:7 says, “No one liveth unto himself.”

Hebrew "Jehovah Jireh"However, as many of you know, the account in Genesis goes on to proclaim a future provision to meet our greatest need: “So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided” (Genesis 22:14). It is in this phrase, “The LORD will provide” that we find one of the Hebrew compound names for God many of us have heard and even perhaps sung about, “Jehovah Jireh”.  This is the only time in Scripture that the title Jehovah Jireh appears.

We may consider this in regard to general provision regarding our everyday needs but foundationally the phrase is referring to something else. This was just moments after the great provision of the ram was provided as a replacement for Isaac. We would surely expect Abraham to say, “The Lord has provided” (past tense).

Jesus Saves!But let us consider carefully the tense that Abraham actually uses, “The Lord will provide”.  He is referring to a future provision, Christ’s death on the cross for our sins. Traditional conservative scholarship holds that Genesis was among the Five Books Of Moses (The Pentateuch). Moses lived some 500 years after Abraham. At the time the oral record was placed in writing this statement was made “as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided'”. That was some 1,500 years before Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross for our sins.

Theologian RC Sproul observes, “It was on Mount Moriah, later named Mount Calvary, just outside of Jerusalem, where two thousand years after Abraham’s experience, our Savior on the night before His death went into the Garden of Gethsemane.  With sweat drops of blood He pleaded with the Father to allow the cup to pass from Him. “Nevertheless” Jesus said, “Not what I will but what You will” (Mark 14:36).  In that moment of the grand passion of Christ, the Father said no. The Father would not spare His Son.”

No, essentially God’s only begotten Son became our ram in the thicket. “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).  Hallelujah, What a Savior!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You for Jesus who willingly laid down His life to become our “Ram in the thicket”. He became a living sacrifice that we might receive forgiveness of sins; His death in exchange for our forgiveness, and thereby inheriting eternal life. We greatly rejoice in the fact that You did not spare Your own Son but delivered Him over for us all, that we might receive salvation, and that we might take up residence in the Kingdom of God.  We thank You in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

An Old-Fashioned Hymn Sing

Kreiders Church Lancaster County, PA

The hymn sing was held in a church near Manheim, PA constructed in 1859. It was a clear cool evening and we welcome the natural A/C of opened windows, the only kind the church had.

Outhouse at Kreiders Church Lancaster County, PA

The didn’t have indoor facilities!  Too bad we didn’t know since Brooksyne and I each had a cup of coffee as we drove to the church!

Kreiders Church hymn sing Lancaster County, PA

Sorry for the poor lighting but I took this from an open window looking in at the rather dimly lit meeting house prior to the start of the hymn sing. Tightly placed rows of benches faced forward and there were also two sections on each side facing the center.  The pews are arranged for women sitting on one side and men on the other as was the practice in this type of church, though last night families sat together.

Old hymnal

The hymnals were copyrighted over 100 years ago.

The place was packed and the acappella singing was filled with rich harmonies and male/ female parts. Though Brooksyne and I were unfamiliar with many of the selected hymns, we joined in wholehearted worship, as the exuberant congregation joined their voices to sing great hymns of the church.  We were blessed as we were introduced to old hymns (yet new to us) that were filled with great theological truths.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Today we will seek to provide musical selections similar to the style of the hymn sing service we attended last night.

“And Can It Be”  Video

“Softly and Tenderly”  Video

“Are You Washed In The Blood”  Video

“Rock Of Ages”  Video

Triple Tree Church – Mike and Nicole’s biker ministry church

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