August 27, 2013
READ: Genesis 22:1-18
God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son (v.8).
God had promised Abraham that he would be the father of a nation that would bless the world (Genesis 12:1-4). This required a son, but no heir had come (15:1-15). And it had been so long since the promise. Finally, when Abraham was 99 years old (and Sarah 90), the Lord appeared again, once more promising a child to Abraham. Sarah laughed (18:12). It was funny—an old man and woman having a baby boy? The joy and the laughter arrived when God’s promise came true, when Isaac was born (21:5).
Life became richly good for Abraham. He had his son, and his family had settled in Beersheba. Abraham beamed with joy. But then a dark cloud shrouded the story, for we read these dreadful words: “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you” (22:2).
Abraham obeyed. Courage and faith moved him, but any father will admit that the request must have seemed insane. Abraham gathered the wood and the flint for the fire. He took his son and the supplies, and they made the 3 day journey up the mountain. What a sorrowful journey that must have been!
Thankfully, the story ends well. Abraham raised the knife to slay his son, and an angel stopped the grievous act. “Do not hurt him in any way,” the angel said, “for now I know that you truly fear God” (v.12).
Only once did God make such a demand of a human. But this story pointed to a day when God would sacrifice His Son Jesus. God spared Abraham’s son because of love; but for the same reason He did not spare His own Son (John 3:16). —Winn Collier
Read Romans 8: 31-39. Why did God not spare His Son? What connection does Paul draw between God’s unwillingness to save Jesus from suffering and His unwillingness to diminish His love towards us?
What is your reaction to Abraham’s near sacrifice of Isaac? How does this influence your reaction to God’s sacrifice of Jesus?