Zimzum Zone

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The story of Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son Isaac draws the attention of the faithful and the atheist. What kind of a loving God would ask somebody to sacrifice their child?

Rob Bell talks of a sacred space called “Zimzum.” It is the place of vulnerability all great relationships have risked to reach into, to see where God might take them if they but risk to give the unknown a try. The texts of scripture that seem the oddest, are the “zimzum” areas that God is asking us to be vulnerable and engage.

The Genesis 22 text of Abraham and Isaac teaches us many things in regards to our relationships with God. Here are a few:

1) In Genesis 22:7, when Isaac asks Abraham the question, “The fire and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering? (Abraham knows it is supposed to be Isaac, but Isaac knows nothing.) There is a great temptation to build family secrets when in a bad situation. Healthy relationships thrive on truth.

2) When God asked Abraham to leave his country, it meant leaving his past. When God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, it meant giving up Abraham's future. In the present moment, when we surrender all to Jesus, we experience what it means to dwell in the image of God.

3) Rob Bell, Paul Young and others are teaching that in this text when God pointed Abraham toward a ram that was caught in the nearby thicket (Genesis 22:13) that God was putting an errant theological premise to rest. Up to this point in history, people had felt they needed to make a sacrifice to God to make God happy. The bigger the sacrifice, the happier you made God. When the angel told Abraham, no “do not lay your hand on the boy..(Genesis 22:12)”, that all came to an end. God is gracious and merciful to God’s people, and it is freely given, no sacrifice required.

May you risk the “zone of zimzum” with God. For it is a risk that will produce blessing.

Pastor David J. Jensen

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