Genesis 22:1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.
5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.
6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.
7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.
In verse 1 of this passage we learn that God “tempted” Abraham. The temptation here was not to sin, but was for God’s glory and for Abraham’s benefit. As we read the account we might assume that it was not a good thing. God was telling Abraham to take his long awaited for son and offer him up as a burnt offering to God.
The burnt offering would burn up the entire offering. There would be nothing but some ashes left after this was done. Abraham would learn that he needed to get rid of any resistance to God’s will for his life. There could be none left. He needed to be surrendered to the will of God in all things. As we see, this is not always easy, especially for the flesh. However, it is a great blessing for the soul.
Abraham had learned by this time, that obeying God was always the right thing to do.
It was no small matter to take his only son and expect to offer him up before the Lord. By this time, Abraham also had learned that God was a God Who could do the impossible. Abraham was familiar with making a burnt sacrifice to God. He knew that there would be nothing left after the fire had burnt the offering. However, in this case, Abraham believed that somehow God would spare his son and he would bring his son back home with him.
He did not know how this would happen, but he was sure it would happen. We learn from the Bible that the Christian life is a life of faith, from the beginning and on. That faith is in the true God Who never lies and Who will do all that He says He will do.
Abraham prepared all that he could for this task. He took his servant with him. He took wood for the fire and he took fire. Isaac was tasked with carrying the wood that would be used to burn him. Isaac was not aware of what God had told Abraham. Isaac had been taught to trust his father. I wonder how many of us would trust our father in a situation like this. Abraham had been able to pass on some good Biblical truths to his son by this time.
In verse 7 we see that Isaac was not a foolish son. He could think. He noticed that they had the wood and they had the fire, but he also noticed there was no lamb for the burnt offering. In verse 8 Abraham stated that he understood something very profound. You notice the language used in verse 8. Abraham told Isaac that God would “provide himself a lamb for the burnt offering.” That phrase is significant. Abraham understood that somehow God would provide a lamb at this time that would be a picture of that ultimate Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. Abraham still did not know how this would happen but he believed it would happen.
We need to keep in mind that Abraham was following clear instructions from God. Abraham was not delusional. He was not evil. He was not seditious. He had no desire to kill his son. He was learning to trust God in every area of his life. God would not disappoint him.
We read that when they came to the place that God directed them to, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order and bound his son Isaac and put him on that altar. He was ready to kill his son in preparation for the burnt offering. He was not offering any resistance to God. As he was doing all of this, he kept in his mind that God would provide himself a lamb for the burnt offering.
In verse 11 we read that the angel of the LORD called out to Abraham from heaven. We can be sure that Abraham had his ears keenly tuned to hear what God had to say at this point. Abraham was not in a hurry to thrust that knife into his son. The angel of the LORD knew Abraham’s name and Abraham was quick to answer this angel.
In verse 12 the angel gave Abraham some very good news. He told him not to lay his hand upon the lad. The angel of the LORD had witnessed that Abraham was not going to disobey God. God had shown Abraham a very important lesson here. Abraham had been willing to give his son, his only son to God. Abraham needed to know what was truly in his heart. He had passed the test. He had proved that he was willing to give his only son to God.
In verse 13, we read that Abraham looked and saw a ram caught in a thicket, by its horns. This was no stroke of luck. This was designed by God. Abraham had not seen the ram earlier. However, God showed him this substitute for Isaac at just the right moment.
This ram was a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is the substitute for the sin of man. He came to this earth at just the right time. Those, like Abraham, who believed in the true God would be saved through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, even though Jesus Christ would come to this earth many hundreds of years after the death of Abraham. Jesus Christ is the only sacrifice that God has provided for the sins of mankind. All those from the time of Adam and to the last man, can only be saved through faith in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. His shed blood was and is the only way of salvation. Jesus Christ needed to die to shed His blood. He needed to be buried after His death. He also needed to rise again victorious over sin and death in order to be able to be that substitute for our sins. Jesus Christ fulfilled all that was needed for man to be forgiven and saved.
Abraham learned a new name to describe God at this time. He called Him Jehovahjireh. This mountain that he and Isaac had climbed, was a special mountain. It was where he saw the LORD in a different light. He saw that the LORD is the provider of life and He is the substitute for the sin of man.
This mount would eventually be the place where Solomon would build the Temple. The Temple was the Old Testament house of God. It was there the nation of Israel would go to sacrifice to God and where they would meet with God. The second temple, which was built in the days of Ezra, was at this place as well. Jesus Christ would teach in this temple.
Jesus Christ is the final and ultimate replacement for those earthly temples. He is the Heavenly Temple that is not only the Temple, but also the Sacrifice for sin. Abraham knew some of the significance of what he was doing in our text. We can see further the significance of what God told Abraham to do.
Jesus Christ alone can provide the salvation that we so desperately need. God did not disappoint Abraham, nor Isaac. Isaac would remember this event for the rest of his life. Jesus Christ will never disappoint anyone who will come to God in His name and receive His forgiveness of sin.
We can benefit from reading and studying this passage. We can learn how privileged we can be if we turn to God and trust Him for our salvation. We need our ears tuned to the voice of God as He shows us the only way of salvation. Many people are not listening to God. They are going their stubborn way right on to hell. God is calling out to each person, offering His gift of salvation to all. Abraham heard God’s call and he gladly took that substitute ram in the place of his only son. Isaac was no doubt extremely happy that his father listened to the voice of that angel of the LORD. His life was spared by that ram.
Those who are saved today, can and should rejoice in God’s gift of salvation provided through the Lord Jesus Christ. We can point others to this precious gift. We have a message that is extremely important and needs to be told each and every day!