I wonder what went through his mind. The moment Abraham heard God say “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering…” (Gen. 22:2). Um excuse me what? Offer my son? Whom I love? Whom you’ve promised “through Isaac shall your offspring be named” (Gen. 21:13). H-h-how could you ask this of me? It’s too much. It’s too hard.
Devotional Scripture: Genesis 22
Key Verse: “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” 1 Cor. 5:7b
He reasoned God would raise him from the dead (Heb. 11:19). So he arose early the next morning in obedience. Taking with them two young men and a donkey loaded with supplies, he and Isaac began the trek to Moriah. Father and son side by side.
Undoubtedly the most difficult journey Abraham ever made. Did he contemplate the final moments with each step forward or push it far from his mind? How was he going to tell Isaac? What would Isaac do? How could he do this to his son?
By the third day he could see it. Their place of destination. He gave instructions to his young men to stay there. He and the boy would go worship and then come back. Surely…surely they would both come back.
Isaac questioned – “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (v. 7). “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son” (v. 8). I want to know, did Abraham pause before responding? Did he choke on the words as he said them? Oh how he must have prayed God would provide a lamb.
Yet when they came to the place of sacrifice there was no lamb. Seeing nothing Abraham bound Isaac. Whom scholars believe was no longer a small boy but a man himself. Too big for Abraham to wrestle onto the altar. Upon hearing God’s instructions to his father, Isaac willingly laid himself down.
Both prepared for the moment “Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven…Abraham, Abraham…Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him” (v. 10-12). Then he looked and saw a ram “caught in a thicket by his horns” (v. 13). A substitute…God in his mercy had provided a substitute.
And painted a beautiful picture of Christ at the same time. Little did Abraham know his gut-wrenching journey to the land of Moriah, the land of Jerusalem where Solomon would build the temple (2 Chron. 3:1), echoed another Father/Son journey to Jerusalem. One that would also end in sacrifice in the very same place.
The sacrifice of a beloved son (Matt. 3:17). The one and only son of God (John 3:16). Willingly offered by the Father (Is. 53:10) for the sins of the whole world. A Son who would also walk to his death along side two young men – two criminals – crucified next to him. A Son who also carried the wood for his own sacrifice – just as Isaac did (v. 6). A Son who was willing to lay his life on the altar in obedience to his father. Jesus declared, “I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord, I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father” (John 10:17-18).
Though Isaac didn’t physically die that day. He was as good as dead to Abraham who suffered with the knowledge of what he was about to do for three whole days. Three days of agony before it was over. Three days of wondering. Three days before relief, restoration, and rejoicing. Just as the disciples agonized over Jesus’ death for three days. Wondering. Questioning. Before the third day came and it was over. Their joy exceeding all bounds.
As did Abraham at the sight of a ram to take Isaac’s place. A ram instead of a lamb, because there’s only one lamb who could ever be our substitute. John the baptist declared of Jesus “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). For anyone who genuinely seeks and serves Him.
Abraham was right – God did provide. Not just for him, but the entire world. “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor. 5:7). Unwilling to spare even his own Son on our behalf – God indeed will provide. Exactly what you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), through the divine power given to us in Jesus Christ, as you walk whatever path is put in front of you.
So if it’s hard right now or ever been in the past. Maybe it’s because God’s painting a picture as you walk forward in obedience. An undeniable picture of Christ – in your life – just as he did with Abraham. The most breathtaking portrait of a Savior who not only gives courage and comfort but hope and peace. A Savior who already provided and will continue to do so. Who loves you so much he laid his life on the altar. That you and me and the so many we love“may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
Abba Father – come what may I give you the paint brush. And ask you – as I walk down this road by faith – to please paint over me a masterpiece. One of your doing. One of Christ in my life. In His precious name. Amen.
Contemplate and Evaluate:
Are you walking the path before you in obedient faith or lack thereof?
When have you experienced Christ’s grace and peace and comfort in your life? Was it during times of ease or difficulty?