Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Genesis 22:9-14

Today’s scene is almost shocking to our sensibilities. Abraham and Isaac have finally reached the site on Mt. Moriah:

When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. (Gen. 22:9-10)

Imagine what must have been going through Abraham’s mind as he is laying the wood on the altar, log by log, arranging it for the best fire. “Okay, LORD, any time now would be a good time to stop this!” He has to get to the point of actually raising the knife over Isaac, before the LORD finally calls out to him to stop:

But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
“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.” (vs. 10-12)

Abraham has that same immediate response he had earlier in the first verse of this chapter: “Here I am!” Beth Moore calls this “the quickest moment of obedience in scripture.” What relief and joy must have filled him. I would think he would have gotten weak in the knees. Don’t you find it interesting that there is no mention of Isaac putting up a struggle? We always think of Abraham’s obedience here, but Isaac was amazing! He was a young man at this point, who could have surely overwhelmed his aged father with ease. Yet, he submits in obedience. He must have had tremendous confidence in his father as well as his Father!

See how this story parallels the story of Christ? In this portrayal of the gospel, Abraham plays the part of God the Father, and Isaac is Jesus, the Son who was obedient unto death (Eph. 2:8). The difference, of course, is that Jesus actually went through death and separation from His Father. The Father had to give up His Son for us! He wanted Abraham to understand the cost. This was a lesson Abraham could NOT forget, a test that Abraham passed with an “A+!”

Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 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.” (vs. 13-14)

Abraham got it! God Himself provided the lamb! Here we see Jehovah-jireh, our God who provides. He not only makes the provision, He IS the provision. He is all we need! He knew we needed a savior, so He became the Savior. If He would not even spare His Son, what would He withhold from us that we need? And the things we need money can’t buy: peace, love, joy, forgiveness, hope... all things that only God can give, and that He gives in abundance when we trust only in Him.

So, then, this is the gospel message: God Himself provided our salvation. There was not a thing we could do.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Thank you, LORD, for your marvelous provision!

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