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. ~ Genesis 22:13 (ESV)
READING: Genesis 22:1-19
The story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22 is a beautiful image of sacrifice and substitution. All church planters ought to rejoice in the truths of this great chapter. It would bless and encourage our people if we preached them every year.
Here is Abraham, a father whose son means everything to him. But in the excruciating drama of Mt. Moriah, he puts his all on the altar – literally. As Abraham’s knife rises above the beating heart of his son, we cannot fail to see the shadow of Calvary’s cross.
And here is the innocent son, willingly carrying the wood for his own altar. “Father,” he says, “I see the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Yes,we see there the ram caught in the thicket. Isaac was spared because a substitute took his place.
But within this eternal drama is another twist. The One who stayed Abraham’s hand, who spared Isaac and revealed the ram – He was the Angel of the Lord (vv. 11, 15). And He was not just an angel. We know Him as the pre-incarnate Christ, who, 2,000 years after Abraham, staggered up a lonely hill carrying the wood of His own cross.
For Him there would be no substitute. He came as the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.
What must our Lord have thought on that day when Abraham named Him Jehovah Jireh – the Lord will provide – knowing one day He would be the sacrifice God provided?
Lord Jesus, May I never forget how You took my punishment. Keep me near the cross today. Amen.
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