2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” Genesis 22:2 (NIV)
As you may have already guessed, today’s lesson covered God’s command to Abraham (God changed his name in Genesis 17:5 from Abram, which means “exalted father,” to Abraham, which means “father of many.”) to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, as an offering to God. If you are unfamiliar with the story, you can read the entire account in Genesis Chapter 22. If you don’t have a Bible handy, I frequently use Biblegateway.com to look things up. OK…so, Abraham and Isaac, also known as the sacrifice.
This story has always left me in awe for several different reasons, not the least of which is Abraham’s immediate obedience. Scripture doesn’t tell us he questioned God or argued with Him. It doesn’t say he cried or fussed and fumed. It says in Genesis 22:3, “Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey.” (emphasis mine) We aren’t told what time on the previous day Abraham was given the instruction, but for all intents and purposes, his obedience was immediate.
Next we are told how after arriving at their destination, Isaac asked his father “where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Check out Abraham’s response. “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering my son.” Genesis 22:8 (NIV)
I wonder what Abraham was thinking when he said that. Was he thinking that God was going to provide a substitute in Isaac’s place? He knew that God had told him back in Genesis 15 that a son coming from his own body would be his heir and that his offspring would be more numerous than the stars in the sky. Was God going to provide him with another son? He was one hundred years old when Isaac was born. If not another son, then how would God’s promise be fulfilled if Isaac was offered as a sacrifice? And that brings me to another point that leaves me in awe.
Abraham was to be the one to sacrifice Isaac! He took him to the place God had told him, bound him up, after having Isaac carry the wood for his own sacrifice no less, laid him on the altar, took out his knife, and raised his hand to kill his own son!
As he did so, an angel of the Lord called out to him and said in Genesis 22:12, “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Abraham looked up and saw a ram whose horns were caught in a thicket and offered the ram instead.
God provided the lamb that was slain just as Abraham believed he would. I don’t know if Abraham thought Isaac was to be the lamb or if he thought God would provide a substitute. I only know that he had to have trusted and loved his God with all his “heart, soul, and mind.” (see Matthew 22:37) What faith! What trust! Oh to be like Abraham!
Tomorrow we will look more at this account. Stay tuned. There are still lots of riches to be gleaned from this story. Don’t you just love God’s Word?! Amen!