Scripture Read: Genesis 22
Title: God Provides
(H) Highlight verse:: "So Abraham called the name of the place 'The LORD will provide'." Genesis 21:1
(E) Explain: Abraham has had some challenges of faith in his life, and in chapter 22 he faces the greatest challenge of all. In the previous chapter God's promise of giving Abraham and Sarah is fulfilled. Abraham became a father to Isaac at the ripe ole age of 100 and Sarah became a first time mother at 90. (She would definitely stand out at a MOPS..Mother of Preschoolers meeting). We know that she is ecstatic to finally be a mother and to receive this great promise of God. Fast forward a few years... God speaks to Abraham and tells him to sacrifice his son Isaac as an act of obedience. Abraham, I imagine, is shocked and a bit confused, but we read that he obeys.
Abraham makes preparations for the journey of sacrifice and brings Isaac along as commanded. At one point Isaac notices that there is no animal to sacrifice, so he asks his father about this. I love Abraham's answer... "God will provide for Himself the lamb." This response is a deep and thought-provoking response. However, in this we see the faith of Abraham, and we get a glimpse of God's ultimate plan of redemption through Jesus Christ, God's own beloved son.
Abraham binds his son, and I think it is safe to say that this binding was not a struggle. You take a teenage or adolescent boy and pair him up against a man who is over 100 years old... I think it's safe to say that the boy could manage an escape. So, we can deduct that Isaac willingly let his father bind him so that he could be the sacrifice that God requested from Abraham. Fortunately, it doesn't get that far. An angel tells Abraham to stop, and eventually Abraham finds a ram in the thickets and sacrifices the animal instead. I am sure that Abraham sighed a huge relief and as a reminder to God's provision he named the place"The LORD will provide. God then re-iterates, his covenant and Isaac and his father go together to Beersheba to live..
(A) Application: I have always and still do have problems with this request from God to sacrifice Issac. I know what the point and overall lesson of this story is. I get that. .But I still wrestle with the "why?" Why did God command this outrageous deed of Abraham? I have read theories and I have theories of my own, but I I don't have an answer and I think that is ok. I know and believe God is good. I do not believe God ever intended for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. I believe God had the lamb or ram already picked out out before this event ever happened. I am all about God's sovereignty and omniscience. I just think this was a big ask from God, just to make sure Abraham would be obedient. The only logical conclusion I come to and it is certainly an acceptable one is that this is a preview of what is to come. One day God's son, Jesus will come to the earth and be the sacrifice. Only in this case God will not provide an animal to be sacrifice in his place. He IS the lamb that will be (and was) sacrificed. God, the loving Father allowed His son to be sacrificed as the perfect lamb so that the sins of the world could be forgiven, that life would be available to all who believe, and redemption could be made.
(R) Respond: God is THE provider. He does provide for the needs of His people. I have struggles in my faith at times. I doubt God is going to pull through for me. But He has provided Jesus to ensure that I will have all that I need to thrive in life today and have eternal glory once I pass from this world. Thank you Jesus!
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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