THE LORD WILL PROVIDE THE SACRIFICE
Gen. 22:8 Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”
This is one of the most powerful yet disturbing stories in the Bible. How could it be? The Lord is asking Abraham to offer the son of promise, Isaac, on the altar. Not only is this is his son, this is his only son by Sarah. The picture of the Father offering His only Son Jesus is what this story is all about. He wanted Abraham to see it and to feel it, He wants all of us to see and feel the power of His sacrifice. This is the demonstration of love in a way only a father can understand. I have been reading the story of Abraham and Isaac since we were pounded by the hurricane Isaac last week. I was reading Matthew Henry’s thoughts on this passage, they were quite devastating. Here is a portion, you should look it up and read the whole account, it is quite powerful.
“Abraham does it, God will have it done, and Isaac has learnt to submit to both, Abraham no doubt comforting him with the same hopes with which he himself by faith was comforted. But with what heart could tender Abraham tie those guiltless hands, which perhaps had often been lifted up to ask his blessing, and stretched out to embrace him, and were now the more straitly bound with the cords of love and duty! However, it must be done. Having bound him, he lays him upon the altar, and his hand upon the head of his sacrifice; and now, we may suppose, with floods of tears, he gives, and takes, the final farewell of a parting kiss: perhaps he takes another for Sarah from her dying son. This being done, he resolutely forgets the bowels of a father, and puts on the awful gravity of a sacrificer. With a fixed heart, and an eye lifted up to heaven, he takes the knife, and stretches out his hand to give a fatal cut to Isaac’s throat. Be astonished, O heavens! at this; and wonder, O earth! Here is an act of faith and obedience, which deserves to be a spectacle to God, angels, and men. Abraham’s darling, Sarah’s laughter, the church’s hope, the heir of promise, lies ready to bleed and die by his own father’s hand, who never shrinks at the doing of it.”
Isaac also represents all of God’s promises to us. Sometimes the Lord will require us to give our promised gifts back to Him, He wants to try our hearts. After all, it is all about Him being our portion and being enough for us at the end of the day. Actually the tithe is a good picture of this. We receive His promised harvest in the form of a pay check, in return, He asks us for the first tenth. As we offer our first fruits on the altar we are often stunned at God’s response. When Abraham lifted his hand with the knife, an angel stopped him only to discover a ram in the bush. As Abraham left that place that day he named it Jehovah Jireh. Today it has a different name, we call it Mount Calvary.