Abraham’s Test – The Father’s Sacrifice

When Abraham took his son Isaac up Mount Moriah, he was tested by God to see if he would obey.  The resulting story points to the cross of Jesus Christ, and how the Father was willing to go through the agony of giving his son for our souls to see eternity…

1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

9 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. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

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.”

13 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. 14 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.”

15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
Genesis 22:1-18

Abraham placed the wood of the burnt offering upon Isaac and he carried it to the place of sacrifice.  When I read this today I immediately thought of Jesus, who carried his cross to the place of his sacrifice.

Isaac asked his father where the sacrificial lamb was for the offering.  At that moment, Abraham was knowingly leading his son to the place in which his son Isaac would become that sacrificial lamb.  Abraham answered that the Lord would provide the sacrifice. Indeed.

Jesus was our sacrificial lamb.  Isaiah 53 describes Jesus as the lamb led to the slaughter.  In the case of Isaac, God substituted a ram caught in a nearby thicket to become the sacrifice.  God was testing Abraham and never intended to have him sacrifice his son.

On the contrary, God the father planned the sacrifice of Jesus before the creation of the world. Peter says we are saved by “the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake” (1Peter 1:19-20).

It is profound that although each of us deserve the wrath of God for our own sin, God took the merciful action to substitute his son for us just in time.  Jesus took our place so that we didn’t have to die, and we never have to die.  Eternal life means that when our physical life is over our spiritual life continues in eternity with God.

The testing of Abraham points us to the cross.  It shows us that our father went through with the sacrifice of his own son for us, which we see through the example of Abraham is an unthinkable thing to do.

And he did it for you and he did it for me.


Marc Kinna

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