Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Jan 19 2019 - Genesis 22:1-19 – God himself will provide a lamb

Abraham and Sarah now have the son and heir that God had promised to give them. But then God tested Abraham. He said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and ... offer him ... as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you" (Genesis 22:2). Imagine the turmoil going through Abraham's mind. This was his only son for Ishmael had been sent away; this was his beloved son, the son that he and Sarah had longed for and looked for over many years. But more than that, this was the son in whom all the promises of God were invested. Without this child there would be no great nation, no possessing of the land, no blessing for all the nations of the earth. How would Abraham respond to this test?

We read that Abraham rose early in the morning to travel with Isaac to the place of sacrifice. He rose early! There seems to have been no hesitation; his trust in the Lord is absolute. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews tells us that he believed that, if he had to slay the child, God would raise him from the dead (Hebrews 11:19). He had learnt by experience that nothing was too difficult for God and that nothing would prevent God fulfilling what he had promised. When Abraham takes leave of his servants he tells them, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you" (22:5). Abraham is confident that they will both return from the sacrifice. And when Isaac asks his father, "Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" (22:7), Abraham confidently responds, "God will provide for himself the lamb" (22:8).

Having arrived at the place appointed for sacrifice, Abraham prepared the altar and the wood and had raised his knife to kill his son when he is stopped by the angel of the Lord. Abraham's eyes were opened to see a ram caught by its horns in a nearby thicket. The ram is offered in sacrifice in the place of Isaac. The Lord did indeed provide a sacrificial lamb. Neither Abraham nor Isaac could ever forget this provision of God.

Now that Isaac has been spared – returned from death, the Lord repeats his promise concerning Isaac, pronouncing an oath in his own name and promising offspring to Isaac as numerous as the stars of heaven and sand on the seashore. His descendants will possess the land and through them all nations of the earth will be blessed (22:16-18).

This strange incident points us towards the Lord Jesus Christ (see John 8:56). He is God's Son, his only Son, his beloved Son. He is the heir, the one on whom all of the promises of God depend. But for our sake God did not spare his own Son (Romans 8:32). He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29) – the lamb of God's provision. He is the one whom God has raised from the dead in order that he might bring blessing to all the nations of the earth.

None other Lamb, none other Name,
None other hope in heav’n or earth or sea,
None other hiding-place from guilt and shame,
  None beside Thee.

Father God, help me to understand the greatness of your love towards us in that you did not spare your own Son but gave him up for us all. Thank you that you raised him from the dead and crowned him with glory and honour. Thank you that in him we have become children of God – heirs of God, co-heirs with Christ to all the good things you have in store for your people.

Peter Misselbrook