The BackDoor Bible Series
The Journey - Lesson 5
(The Tree that caught the Ram for Issac)
Once upon a time long ago there was a special mountain named Moriah and on this mountain grew a tree whose name was Thicket. Now Thicket grew way up on the side of the mountain far, far away from other trees. In fact the place where Thicket lived was so remote that Thicketís only companions were mountain rams called Big Horn sheep. It was a lonely place for a tree to live because there were no children there to play in Thickets shade or climb on his branches. Thicket was the loneliest tree you could imagine.
Now Thicket was not like normal trees. He was not tall like a pine tree or big and strong like an oak. No, Thicket was a scrub juniper and he was very short and bushy. See Thicket got his name because he was short and very thick just like an overgrown thicket. He has so many branches that criss-crossed each other near the ground that you couldnít even see his trunk. Of course this didnít make Thicket very happy either because if a boy or girl ever did come to visit him, they might get stuck in his branches. Even the Rams that lived on the mountain stayed away from Thicket so they didnít get caught in his branches.
Now since Thicket was so lonely he used to try and catch Big Horn sheep for fun. He would try and attract the animals by making his leaves give off a sweet smell that the sheep would like. When they came close he would try and move his branches to catch the horns of the Ram. But alas, Thicket wasnít very good a catching Rams either. Even when by chance he did snag one, it only took a minute for the Ram to shake itself loose and run away. When this happened Thicket used to become very sad.
Being sad and lonely was pretty bad, but during these times something really special would happen to Thicket. You see God would actually talk to him. God would say, "Donít be sad, just keep practicing catching Rams for I have a wonderful purpose for you." This would always encourage Thicket and make him feel better. So he would go back to thinking up a new ways to catch a Ram while all the time hoping that one day a boy or a girl would come and play in his branches.
Now some time passed and one day as Thicket was working hard trying to grow some new leaves, he heard footsteps. He knew the sound of the Rams but theses footsteps were different. Thicket got very curious. In a few minutes his anticipation changed to excitement for around the bend in the mountain trail came a man, a donkey and a young boy. When the man stopped near Thicket and began to unload the wood his donkey was carrying, Thicket got so excited that he tried to shout hurray, but since trees canít talk all he managed to do was rustle his leaves. At last he thought. A boy has come to play in my branches.
Thicket watched as the man finished unloading his wood and then started gathering rocks and stacking them into a pile. The boy helped and when they were done, the man went over and started putting the wood on top of the rocks. When the boy came over to Thicket and sat down in his shade., Thicket giggled with glee. Finally the man finished putting the wood on the rocks then he walked over to Thicket, broke off a few of Thickets dry twigs and started a small fire. Then he said something to his son. (pause) Ö
Until now Thicket had been unable to see the mans face clearly, but as he came over to break off the twigs, Thicket could see that the mans face was very sad. Remember, Thicket knew what being sad was. Anyway, the boy seemed happy enough but as the father spoke to him he suddenly jumped up and pulled away. He said nothing but his face suddenly matched his fathers and Thicket realized that something was wrong.
The father continued to speak softly to the boy, too softly for Thicket to make out the words. In a few minutes the boy reached out his arms and hugged his father very tight and started to cry. For a few minutes they just stood there holding each other Ö then they turned and together walked towards the pile of wood and rocks. Thicket wondered what the pile of rocks was for and as it turned out he didnít have to wait long to find out. For as the man reached the pile he turned to the boy,Ö. tied his hands and feet together Ö.and lifted him onto the pile of wood and rocks. The boy did not struggle and he made no soundÖ. As the man reached into his belt and took out a knife, a cold chill went down Thickets spine. It had become clear that the man intended to kill the boy.
Thicket tried to yell STOP or RUN or something but of course he couldnít. This wasnít right, he thought. The boy is good. He should not be killed. As the man raised his knife to slay his son, Thicket turned his eyes away, for he could not watch was about to happen but as he did, he noticed a Big Horned Ram right behind him.
Now normally Thicket would have tried to catch the Ram but today he just didnít care. He started to rustle his leaves to scare the Ram away when suddenly a little voice deep inside him whispered, "Now Thicket,.. now is the time you have been practicing for. You can do it Thicket Ė trust me".
Thicket immediately started sending sap to his lower leaves to make them smell sweet. Next he readied his two strongest lower branches and then stood perfectly still. As the sweet smell reached the Ram it came closerÖ and closer .. and closer, until itís head was right between Thicketís branches. At that moment Thicket quickly closed his branches around the Rams horns and held them there as tightly as he could. Immediately the Ram started to thrash and jump trying to get free, but Thicket held fast. The Ram was stuck.
As soon as the Ram was caught, Thicket turned his attention back to the man and the boy. What he saw made him gasp for there flying above the head the of man was an Angel. With one hand the Angel held back the fatherís knife and with the other he pointed to the Ram caught in Thickets branches. The man dropped his knife, took his boy off the alter and with a look a great relief ran to the place where the Ram was held. It was with great joy that Thicket released the Ram into the hands of the man.
As Thicket watched the man sacrifice the Ram that day, Thicket wondered what kind of son was so obedient that he would let his father kill him. He also wondered what kind of faith it took for a man who clearly loved his son to obey God even when what he was told to do didnít make sense. He made up his mind to ask God about it the next time God spoke to him, but as the little voice inside said "Well Done Thicket. Iím very proud of you, he forgot everything else. A few minutes later the little boy ran over to Thicket, looked up into his branches and began to climb.
by David C Klem .. Copyright 1998
Kids, the boy in this story was named Issac and his father was Abraham. Abraham was told by God to sacrifice the son he loved to test him. To see if he would be obedient even when things did not make sense. Both Abraham and Issac were obedient to the max even to point of death. One thing we need to learn on our journey to God is to obey him and other he places in authority over us. Are you and obedient child. Obedience honors God.
Children, Obey your parents in everything for this pleases the Lord: Col 3:20 (NIV)