Continued from this post.
Genesis 22:1-2 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.
Here we are, a place unimaginable. Just considering the act -human sacrifice- is repulsive to our sensibilities. Making matters worse, it is your child, your only son.
How could God, a Just God, a Loving God, ask such a thing? How could Abraham, a reasonable man, an intelligent man, consider obeying such a command?
To discover the answers to these questions we must examine the text.
The true intention of the command by God to Abraham is revealed in the first verse; a fact which was most certainly hidden from Abraham. God brings this event into the life of Abraham as a means not to tempt him in the conventional sense but rather, to reveal to Abraham the trust that has been instilled in his heart towards God.
Since the day God called Abraham out we have witnessed God revealing Himself to Abraham. Methodically and faithfully God has worked in the life of Abraham building in him a faith in God that would allow for the formation of the future nation, Israel. And here God has chosen to reveal to Abraham the faith he has acquired as a result of this process.
To further help us understand, consider for a moment times when you have heard someone say; “I never would have thought I could have done that”, or “I never knew that strength or courage was in me”. We often see things within ourselves that we never knew existed come forth during times of great adversity or trial. Scripture tells us:
Proverbs 17:3 The firing pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.
The Lord refines our hearts through trial so that we might grow to understand that we can be so much more, through faith in Him.
To what end?
Zechariah 13:9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.
To this end, “and they shall say, The LORD is my God”.
We are familiar with fire and its effects. When a building burns, all the weak elements disappear- cloth evaporates, paper and wood turn to ash. Only certain elements remain, stone, some metals, When in the proper hands, fire also serves to strengthen and harden certain stone and metal. God working in our lives must at times use trial or adversity to burn out the weaker elements that continue to hinder our complete surrender and reliance upon Him. Often, as is the case here with Abraham, we cannot know the reason for the trial is to purify and strengthen us. We fail to realize that the fire also serves to reveal what sort of “work” our lives are, whether for the Lord as our God, or for naught.
Genesis 22:2 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.
Take now thy son, thine ONLY so Isaac, whom thou LOVEST… It is obvious, but must be stated- God is not asking Abraham for something that matters little, He is not demanding something of no value or worth. Rather, He being God knows precisely what is needed for Abraham to understand the value of absolute surrender. Oh how God protects us from ourselves! How easily we grow into desiring or loving a thing, or person, or commitment, to a greater degree than God. For 25 years Abraham waited for the promised son- how close do you think he held him? How cherished and beloved would Isaac have been in Abraham’s sight?
Genesis 22:3 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.
He rises early in the morning, we do not read of hesitation, no delaying. For three days Abraham travels to the place designated by God. There is no chance happening in this event. God is supremely in control here, He sets the exam- the who or what; outlines its requirements- the where or when. He works the same in our lives, Paul tells us in Philippians 2:13 that “it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure”. What confidence we can have knowing that God is working in our lives no matter the outward appearance.
Abraham arrives at the place and in verses 4-8 we can glean several things, notice:
- Verse 5, Abraham shows the depth of his faith, telling the servants, “Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you”. Why would he believe this way? Because time and again God promised that the generations to come would be through the seed, Isaac. Abraham believed that God would not break his promise, His covenant.
- Verse 6, Isaac is not a small child, but a young man able to bear the load of the wood as, “And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son;”.
- Verses 6-8, Though Isaac has a sense of something being off, as he questions the lack of a sacrificial lamb, he still knowingly and obediently follows Abraham to the place of sacrifice being evidenced by the phrase twice given, “they went both of them together”.
- Verse 8, Abraham again voices his faith in God by declaring in answer to Isaac’s question, “where is the lamb”, that “God will provide himself a lamb”.
Genesis 22:9-12 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.
Why would God say this-“for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.”? We have seen where scripture declares that God knows all.
Consider what we have just witnessed; Abraham took his son, his only son to a place of sacrifice- he being the father, laid the wood upon the shoulders of his son- the son being willing, bore the wood, obediently went to the place of sacrifice. Abraham built the altar, prepared the place of sacrifice and offered his son upon the altar. Does this sound familiar yet?
Isaiah 53 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Once we read this and then we see how Christ, that Only Begotten Son of God, being sent by God, offered Himself on the cross for our sins we can understand more fully the declaration God made to Abraham, “seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me”, in that we can now proclaim, “How great we know your love to be towards us in that you have not withheld your Son, your ONLY SON, but have offered Him up as sacrifice for our atonement”!
This is Jehovah Jireh!
Genesis 22:14 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.
The sense of the name/title Jehovah Jireh is that God sees, God provides, and God will be seen.
Many people today reduce this down to God will provide for EVERY desire you have, be it wealth, prosperity, whatever the case, Jehovah Jireh! But that is not so. Does God provide for All of our needs? Yes. But the true nature of Jehovah Jireh is revealed here in the only place we see this name given.
God saw our need for a redeemer, a sacrifice to pay for the penalty of our sins. And he provided a lamb- His Son. And the provision of the Lord was surely seen upon Mount Moriah at the crucifixion of Jesus.
Jehovah Jireh! Blessed be the LORD God who provides for the greatest need of ALL! Our salvation.
Have you availed yourself of this precious gift? If not, now is the time. I pray God that He work salvation in your life through repentance unto confession and belief in the Lord Jesus.