“When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and 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.”
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 22:9-14)
This 22nd chapter of Genesis was the defining moment in Abraham’s life. He was subjected to the greatest test of his trust and faith in God. In this passage of Scripture, we get a powerful glimpse into the heart of Abraham.
Here are some key lessons:
1. When God issued him the challenge to offer Isaac as a burnt offering, he obeyed. We are not told the kind of thoughts and emotions he must have struggled with. However, he obeyed. (v3). Isaac was his only son – the son of the promise. In Isaac was all his hopes and dreams. Yet he was willing to “sacrifice” his son. Who are what is your “Isaac”? Should the Lord ask you to surrender your “Isaac” would you be willing?
2. Abraham understood what true “worship” entailed and meant. In v5 he said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will WORSHIP and then we will come back to you.” Abraham knew full while what he was about to do. Yet he called it WORSHIP!
What is your idea of worship? Attending a church service where we sing a few “worship” songs, hear a sermon, give our tithes and offerings and fellowship with brothers and sisters over a meal after church? For Abraham, worship was surrender and total obedience.
3. Abraham was fully assured that God provide. When Isaac asked him where is the lamb for the burnt offering, Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.” (v7).
4. Obedience is not just lip service but concrete action. In verse 9, Abraham actually bound his son and laid him on the altar. I wonder how Isaac would have felt when this was all happening before his very eyes.
5. When the ram of God was brought to Abraham as the sacrifice instead of his son, Abraham called that PLACE –Jehovah Jireh: The Lord will provide. And to this day it is said, “on the mountain of the Lord it will be provided. It was the place of surrender, total trust and obedience that Abraham saw the PROVISION of God.
We will see the miraculous provision of the Lord when we come to the place of full and total surrender, when we are willing and ready to “give up” our beloved Isaacs” May the Lord grant us the courage and faith to respond like the way Abraham responded.
Rev Timothy Chow