In Genesis chapter twenty two we see the remarkable nature of God the father who tests Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his only Son. This in itself was a very cruel thing to ask of Abraham as he had been without a Son most of his adult life until God miraculously enables Sarah to bear him a Son. They call the baby Isaac because God had commanded them to do so and his name means “He Laughs” as they both laughed when God had made this promise.
2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
This verse reveals several things to us. Firstly doesn’t that phrasing of words concerning the Son sound familiar. Mark 9:7 “then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” I believe therefore that this example of sacrifice found in Genesis 22 is meant to teach us about the coming sacrifice that God provides through his only son, Jesus. Abraham was currently based in Beersheba and Moriah was 45 miles away it was a sacrifice that required physical effort. Also other religions at that time were known for their human sacrifice rituals maybe also God was trying to prove his greatness by providing the sacrifice.
So Abraham does not shy away from God’s commands and prepares the right amount of wood required for the sacrifice and sets out almost immediately on his journey. Interestingly they reached the place of sacrifice on the third day which becomes significant when you think that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day.
As they were walking towards the place of the Sacrifice Isaac questions his dad as to where the lamb was that would have been used in the burnt offering. 8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. Abraham was expectant that God would provide either He knew more than was recorded or his faith was such that he instinctively knew that God would provide.
It was clear that Abraham after building the altar and arranging the wood was fully prepared to do what God had asked of him. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
What must have been going through his mind?
Would God really provide?
What would people think of my name after this event?
Am I going to be known as a murderer like my ancestor Cain?
I bet 1001 questions were flowing through his head at this point and yet he was still willing to obey God’s commands at any cost it seems. But it was at the crucial moment when Abraham was just about to do the unthinkable and kill his one and only son when God came through. Sometimes God tests us by coming through at the last possible moment.
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ramcaught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. Not only was it completely awesome that God would provide in this way, it also points to the reality that Jesus is the ultimate divinely provided substitute for our sins.
14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
Our God can provide in a supernatural, miraculous way, especially during those awe inspiring mountain top moments in our lives. But I want to reflect just for a moment on the everyday things that he provides for us. Our God provides food for us to eat sustained by the earth he created. Our God provides financial provision that we can be stewards of. Our God provides friends, family and people to help guide us and shape us. Most of Our God provides us with the Bible, 66 books written by a variety of authors who were empowered by the same Holy Spirit. I leave you with perhaps my favourite verse.
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.