Trust God

Trust the Lord to provide (Genesis 22:9-14). After building the altar, binding Isaac to it, Abe stands over Isaac at the craggy cliff of decision clutching his knife poised at the height of extension ready. It must have felt as though there was no assuaging this moment any longer. When a little ditty began to build. In response to the music, Abe’s heart would have cried out, do you hear what I hear, looking up another verse would no doubt have rolled off his tongue, Ringing through the sky, do you see what I see? As the angel of the LORD then calls out to him by name saying in Genesis 22:11-12~…Abraham, Abraham! And he said, Here I am. He said, Do not lay your hand on the boy …(ESV) From God’s perspective, Abe’s already offered Isaac, because He sees our heart.  1 Samuel 16:7~But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (NIV). 

When the Lord looks at your heart, what does He see? For God saw all He needed in Abe’s and so He intervenes. When Father Abe gets caught in this moment he witnesses God’s provision. Genesis 22:13~ And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. (ESV) In this experience, Abe sees something no person would ever see or understand until the life of JC. Jesus says about Abraham in John 8:56 ~Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad. (NIV) 

When Abe is about to sacrifice Isaac on Mt Moriah, he is witnessing a Father offering His only begotten son in place of you and me. Abe is a believer that the eternal Everlasting God is able to raise the dead some 2,500 years before He raises His only son Jesus Christ the Messiah, who is the ultimate sacrifice for sin, from the dead. That’s why Jesus says Abraham saw His day and was glad. Are you glad that today is a celebration of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? 

I love how the gravity of the moment doesn’t escape Abe’s grasp, for at this moment Abe calls the name of this place: Jehovah Jireh. Genesis 22:14~So Abraham called the name of that place, The Lord will provide as it is said to this day, On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided. (ESV) It was on the mount where they built the Temple to sacrifice to God all they had in hopes that one day at the appointed time God would send us a once for all sacrifice. The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world to shed His blood for me. (Revelation 13:8) That I wouldn’t have to have my life consumed with sin, but that I could in an intelligent act of worship climb on the altar of scarce and say here am I. Take my life and use it for your glory. This is at the heart of the prayer of salvation. Use me for your purpose of Great God. 

When Abe says Jehovah Jireh he is using a transliteration of the Hebrew name for God, it’s in the future tense, revealing Abe is not merely thinking of his own experience, but that the Lord will provide for the needs of all His people. Again we hear the promise given in Genesis 22:18~and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed as because you have obeyed my voice. (ESV) It is Jesus Christ who fulfilled the Law (Matthew 5:17), it is Jesus Christ who carried all our sins away (1 Peter 2:24), It is Jesus Christ who removed our separation from God (Matthew 27:51). Sin could not bind Him, the grave could not hold Him, John 1:4~In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. (NIV) Jesus Christ is our hope, our future, and our reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:8~All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation (NIV) Jesus is the greatest provision that God, Jehovah Jireh has ever provided to or for us. 1 John 2:2~And he is the propitiation (atoning sacrifice) for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. Like Abe, we will be required to offer up our everything, making a clear commitment that God is our number one in life. 

Here we go

Abe travels from Beersheba about 60 miles North to Mount Moriah. He is determined to be obedient, despite the fact this seems to be the end of God’s purpose for his life. Ever felt like you have come to the end of your road, where the test is so difficult, the ask has you stretched to the breaking point? Their tone proceeds them, speaking in a genteel southern draw you heard “bless your heart” even though they said ‘how are you?” Genesis 22:5 Then Abraham said to his young men, Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship (שָׁחָה shachah) and come again to you.” (ESV)

Yes, Abe still holds the faith. In our grand chapter of firsts, we encounter still another one, worship. (שָׁחָה shachah) Worship always involves sacrifice. Abe’s sacrifice of Isaac is the greatest act of worship in the Bible. He has no examples, no foreknowledge only his faith. If we truly worship, we’ll place our most valued possession, our everything—on the altar of sacrifice, unto God. Romans 12:1~With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. (JBP) Intelligent worship is an act of divine service. Everyone on stage in worship is a leader pointing to God, beckoning us to worship. 

Genesis 22:6~And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. (ESV) Worship is not to be entered into lightly for it is holy business. Even Isaac has taken part in the build-up of worship, for he has born the weight of the altar upon his back. This is truly a prophetic image of John 19:17~Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). (NIV)

The sacrifice is imminent, the climb lay afoot, and the real question of this moment comes as Isaac innocently asks: Genesis 22:7~…My father! And he said, Here I am, my son. He said, Behold, the fire, and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? (ESV). Without the slightest whiff of bitterness or doubt, Abe responds deftly. Genesis 22:8~God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son. So they went both of them together. (ESV) Such a great demonstration of faith. Abe knows God’s promise is wrapped up in Isaac. He cannot possibly reconcile all this in his mind, but he obeys anyway. Abe obeys even when God doesn’t seem to make any sense. Step by step, Abe’s walking in his faith, living out 2 Corinthians 5:7~For we live by believing and not by seeing. (NLT) We all ask, How can Abe be willing to sacrifice his only son that he loves, Isaac? Hebrews 11:19~Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death. (NIV) When life seems Strange: and it doesn’t make sense: Go, go where the Lord guides and, Trust. 

The story of Abe

As we continue to read Genesis 22 many millennia later, we know it’s only a test. Approaching the passage as if we witnessed the vivid color bars of our youth, eyes, and ears assaulted by the loud wooo, this is only a test, yet Abe does not know. Genesis 22:2~He said, Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love (אָהַב ‘ahab), and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you. (ESV) Isaac is the only son of prophetic promise. God is, therefore, asking the aged patriarch to sacrifice his great love and desire. Isaac is the son of a miraculous conception, where dust is blown out and life is given.

God’s request doesn’t make any sense, and there is no earthly way in Abe’s comprehension to harmonize this with God’s previous promises. When reading the Bible, we must pay attention when a word is first used, for it holds the key to unlock the other places we read it in scripture. So to understand what Christ Jesus is going to do in the New Testament on the Cross, we must understand the word (אָהַב ‘ahab). Here we find the Hebrew word love used for the first time. Moreover, we are introduced to a phrase in this verse, only son. Abe’s love for his only son and God asks for sacrifice.

I bet you are beginning to see the picture. How a father loves and gives up his only son. This picture is captured in the New Testament in John 3:16~For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV) This is the ultimate test of Father Abe’s faith. Will he in faith give up the child of his promised old age—his only son? He is to sacrifice on one of the mountains in the land of Moriah. This is a sacred place, listen to 2 Chronicles 3:1~Then Solomon began to build the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David. It was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the place provided by David. (NIV) Hear me, Jews believe the altar of burnt offerings in the temple stood on the very site of the altar on which Abe offered Isaac. They are probably right and Abe is immediately obedient, leaving early in the morning with two of his young men and Isaac (22:3).