Saturday, November 20, 2010

Genesis 22:6-14 Provision

Abraham takes the wood for the offering and gives it to Isaac to carry, while he carries the fire and the knife.  As they proceed, Isaac begins to wonder where the lamb for the offering will be found.  "Abraham answered, 'God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.'  And the two of them went on together." (Genesis 22:8 NIV)

When they reach the place where God had told Abraham to go, Abraham builds an altar and arranges the wood upon it.  Next, the Bible says that Abraham "...bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood." (Genesis 22:9 NIV)  Think about that for a moment.  Scripture does not give us the details about how Abraham managed to get Isaac bound and lying upon the altar.  Isaac is probably at least a teen, if not older.  I imagine that Abraham must have explained everything to Isaac, and Isaac must have agreed to obey God's command as well, because if not, then I am fairly sure that Isaac could have overpowered his father and run away.  I mean, with all due respect for obeying your elders, if someone is coming at me with a knife, with no explanation, ready to make me the burnt offering,  I am outta there!  Yet Isaac remained and complied.

If, as I believe, this is a foreshadowing of that offering of another Son which will take place many years in the future, this makes perfect sense.  Jesus, too, had the option of obeying His heavenly Father's command or rejecting it.  He, too, was obedient to His Father, even though He was fully aware of the consequences of that obedience.

Back to Abraham, who "took the knife to slay his son.  But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, 'Abraham, Abraham!'  'Here I am,' he replied.  '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.' " (Genesis 22:10-12 NIV)

Hugh sigh of relief.  Whew!  That was close.  "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.  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.' ".  (Genesis 22:13-14 NIV)  As Abraham had previously assured Isaac, the Lord did provide the lamb for the burnt offering.

Christians see a parallel between this incident and the way that the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, offered Himself as the Lamb of God for the sins of mankind.  Rather than attempt to save ourselves, (which is impossible, since we are all sinners, and our good works amount to filthy rags in the sight of a Holy God), we look to the sacrifice Christ made on our behalf to cleanse us from sin.  God Himself provided the Messiah, the Christ.  He, too, was an 'only son', much beloved by His Father.  Only, in His case, no one intervened to call a halt to the sacrifice.  However, just as Abraham fully expected that God could raise Isaac from the dead if need be, Jesus was raised from the dead.  Abraham does not know about these future events, of course, but looking back, we marvel at the complex ways of God.  Another interesting part of this story:  Mount Moriah, -- the place that Abraham named "The Lord Will Provide", the place where God told Abraham to go to sacrifice his only son -- is the very place where Jesus the Messiah was crucified many years later.  In a way far greater than Abraham could even imagine at that point, on Mount Moriah God indeed would provide for His people's greatest need:  a right standing before God and cleansing from sin.
[I know that is a lot to swallow, especially if you do not believe that Jesus is God's Son.  More information will follow as this blog develops about why I believe this.  Sometimes 'coincidences' add up to a point where, I think, no one can honestly see them as coincidences.  At that point, a decision needs to be made.  So keep seeking, keep questioning.  The Bible can take it!  Questions are welcome.  I don't know everything, but I will share what I know.]    :)

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