The Lord Will Provide Read: Genesis 22.1-24
Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.”
Genesis 22.7-8 (NRSV)
The Lord called Abram out of Haran and made a covenant with him. God promised him a land, many descendants, renown, protection, blessings and a destiny involving all nations (Genesis 12.1-3). Twenty-five years or so later, Isaac was born, as promised (Genesis 21.1-3). This birth should have been the pinnacle of Abraham’s story. Instead, in Genesis 22, we have the puzzling, and troubling, story of Abraham’ sacrifice of Isaac. Why would God fulfill the promise then ask Abraham to give it up?
What an ordeal. Abraham received a message from God to sacrifice his son, Isaac. (Normally, human sacrifice would have been unacceptable, so this must be some sort of test.) Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled the donkey, gathered wood, the knife, two servants and his son and set out for Mount Moriah. (The Scripture does not tell us if Abraham woke his wife, Sarah, to inform her of his destination and his intent; do you think he left without stirring her?) Abraham and Isaac walked the final distance to the mount alone. Isaac asked his father about the lamb for sacrifice and Abraham replied, “God will provide the sacrifice.” When they arrived at the site, Abraham secured his son to the altar and raised his hand, without hesitation, to offer up Isaac. But an angel of the Lord stayed his hand. Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me (Genesis 22:12).
This was a test of Abraham’s faith. And he passed, exceedingly so. Abraham exhibited not only his obedience to God but also his trust. His detailed actions demonstrated that he was totally prepared to sacrifice his son until God provided a substitute. Abraham also showed how much his faith had grown since his call. No doubt, he loved Isaac but his confidence was in God the giver, not Isaac, the gift. Abraham believed and he renamed that spot Jehovah jireh, “the Lord will provide” (Genesis 22.14).
Reverend Steven B. Lawrence