The story of Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac, is quite an unusual story we find in Genesis 22. God asks Abraham to take his only son, the son which had a promised blessing of being a great nation, into the mountains to sacrifice him there to God. It would appear that this request is in opposition to the very character of God as He opposed human sacrifice which was a practice in other pagen religions. Why would God ask Abraham to do sure a horrific thing to his own flesh and blood?
“2 Then [God] said [to Abraham], “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, 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.” Genesis 22:2
In spite of this seemingly bleak request, Abraham trusted God’s request as he understood the true character of God. So, Abraham and his son, Isaac, hiked onto the mountain where Isaac soon became strapped to an offering table. Abraham believed God that his son would become a great nation, and so he knew God would raise his son from the dead to live again. This is why Abraham trusted God. He believed Him and did not question His words nor His character.
“8 And Abraham said [to Isaac], “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.” Genesis 22:8
The literal Hebrew translation is: “So they went, my son, for the burnt offering, a lamb, to himself, will provide God, Abraham said together both.” The words, “to himself will provide” which translates to our English, “will provide for Himself” is the Hebrew word, “low” and “yir·’eh” which actually means, that he will provide in the future. So, the actual verse should read,
“8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will Himself provide a lamb in the future, for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.” Genesis 22:8
As it turned out, of course, God didn’t really want Abraham to sacrifice his son and so told an angel to stop him, which the angel did. It was at that moment that we saw God told Abraham that He would be providing the future lamb sacrifice for not only Abraham and Isaac’s sins, but the sins of everyone throughout the length of time. And, in the meanwhile, God provided a ram in the nearby bush to conclude this story.
“13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide;[b] as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”” Genesis 22:13-14
So, why did God ask such an unusual request? God wanted to paint a picture for every reader who read the Bible until the end of time. He wanted to show us that in the future, His plan was to provide the Lamb, so there was no need for us to shed our own blood in the sacrifice of our sins.
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” John 1:29
Jesus was not an afterthought by a God who quickly needed to jump in to fix things, but rather it was His established plan from the beginning.
“9 Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done,…” Isaiah 46:9-10
Thank you, Lord, that you provide us with many stories which point to Jesus. They help us to better understand your heart and help us to better understand our Savior, Jesus. We are eternally grateful for not sparing your only begotton son, so that we might live. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.