Parental Impact On Our Character

Do your parents or caretakers share stories about you as a child that you do not personally remember?

My grandmother did this exact thing with me.

Every year she would sign my birthday card with, “May today not be a ‘plain ole day’ for you!”

At family gatherings, the story behind the “plain ole day” reference was often laughed over.

Grandma was caring for me and my siblings while our parents were traveling.

I was supposed to eat a Twinkie early in the day.

But Grandma couldn’t find where mom had stored the Twinkie.

No Twinkie for Barbara Lynn.

Later in the afternoon, the milk delivery truck arrived.

I asked Grandma if we could get some frozen fudge pops.

Grandma said no.

No frozen fudge pops for Barbara Lynn.

I stomped away from her muttering, “well this sure is a plain ole day.”

How does this relate to Bible Study?

Read the following verses:

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac, his son, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. (Gen 22:9 ESV)

Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. (Gen 22:10 ESV)

This is certainly no “plain ole day” for Isaac or Abraham!

  • How would you react to the scene described if you had stumbled into it?

Read Gen 22:1-2:

After these things, God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” (Gen 22:1-2 ESV)

God designed the test for Abraham.

  • What about Isaac?

Look back at Gen 22:9 above.

  • Did you notice Isaac does not resist Abraham?

Isaac was big and strong enough to carry all the wood for a burnt offering to their Lord.

Isaac had questioned Abraham about where the lamb was for the burnt offering. (See Genesis 22:7.)

Abraham had replied that the Lord would provide the lamb. (See Genesis 22:8.)

Now Isaac is bound by his father and laid upon a newly built altar with Abraham raising a knife to slaughter him.

  • What is going through his mind?
  • Is he merely disappointed as I was when Grandma failed at finding my expected Twinkie and when she refused to get me some fudge pops?

Given the miraculous nature of Isaac’s birth to Abraham and Sarah in their elderly age, surely Isaac would know the story. (See Genesis 17:19.)

This means Isaac would also have known that God promised Abraham that the bloodline would continue through Isaac. (See Genesis 21:12.)

  • Could this be the reason he doesn’t resist?
  • How strong is Isaac’s faith in the Lord at this moment?
  • Why is scripture silent about Isaac’s reactions and thoughts in this traumatic moment?

Read what happens next in scripture:

But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” (Gen 22:11 ESV)

Abraham hears his name stated twice.

This implies urgency to get Abraham’s immediate attention.

Abraham responds just as he had earlier, “Here am I”.

Having Abraham’s attention, the angel of the LORD continues:

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.” (Gen 22:12 ESV)

  • How did Abraham pass God’s test?

Abraham was ready and willing to do anything God asked of him. Even killing Isaac as a burnt offering.

  • How do you think Isaac is reacting to this intervention?
  • What has Isaac learned about his earthly father Abraham at this moment?
  • What has Isaac learned about his heavenly Father, the LORD at this moment?
  • Personal Reflection Questions:
  • What strikes you most strongly about Abraham at this point?
  • Do you have a parent, caretaker, or friend who models complete trust in the LORD by their actions?
  • Why is having an “Abraham” model in your life valuable?
  • Are you being an “Abraham” model for others?
  • What does it look like to “fear God” in today’s culture?
  • Are you ready to respond to whatever God asks of you the way Abraham did?
  • Are you ready to comply as Isaac did, no matter what?
  • What do you hold most dear to you? A child? Spouse? Friend? Sibling? Other?
  • How do you show your obedience to the Lord as being before whatever else you hold most dear?

Consider the following passage:

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; (Jam 2:21-22 ESV)

  • What is the point of God testing Abraham? Us?

Abraham is a witness to Isaac and future generations about trusting or having faith in God alone.

Abraham is a witness of steadfast obedience in both word and deed.

Our most powerful witness to those around us is the way we live out our faith.

  • I encourage you to take some time to determine one intentional way you can show your faith to those you are around this week.

Back to Grandma’s Story:

How was my grandmother’s caring for me an example of trusting the Lord?

When I was a teen, I would roll my eyes at hearing the “plain ole day” story.

Yet, hearing this story repeatedly helped shape me into a person who celebrates the preciousness of each day.

Today, with my grandmother passing at age 99 in April 2020, I know I will no longer receive those birthday cards with that “plain ole day” memory mentioned.

Yet the character she helped shape in me was immensely valuable for how I handle disappointments that come my way as an adult.

I may not get the Twinkie or fudge pops today.

Most importantly, no day is plain when serving the LORD.


Barbara Lynn


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