Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)
The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
Scripture Reading: Genesis 22: 1-19 (NIV)
Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 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 took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
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.”
The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.
The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love;I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”
When Jesus makes the statement, “before Abraham came into existence, I am!” (John 8:58), they immediately seek to stone Him
The words which the people cry out come from Psalm 118:
Have you ever wondered how much God has put in place way before your existence for the simple reason that you may believe in him and have eternal life? Interesting enough is the story of Abraham, a man of great faith being put to test by God. Abraham had to go through the act of going to Moriah to sacrifice his only begotten son on receiving the instruction to do so by God. As a man of faith he pursued God’s instruction and did likewise. It was all in God’s plan.
God was taking Abraham through a journey which would set precedence in a future setting where Jesus Christ would be involved. All this was done that you may believe in Him.
What raised much interest are the events leading to Abraham reaching Mount “Moriah” being interpreted as the chosen of Jehovah. God chose the most priced possession in Abraham’s household, Isaac, to be the sacrifice at Moriah (the chosen mountain) as part of his plan to show how he will highlight his love in the New Testament (events leading to Easter).
God laid out a set of similarities in the Old Testament as a reflection of the New Testament where his promises are revealed. In both stories we hear of the father leading his son to be sacrificed. (Isaac in the Old Testament and Jesus Christ in the New Testament). A donkey is involved on the road to the sacrifice (It was chosen). They leave their “homeland” to go to the place of sacrifice (Abraham & Isaac travel to the mountain, Jesus leaves heaven to come to earth).To get from where they are to the place of sacrifice requires a journey. Each son is the “one and only son” of his father. The son is a descendant of Abraham. All this was laid out that you may believe in Jesus Christ and be reminded that God’s love for the world has not faded from age to age.
Further to the above the son had been born with divine intervention. This is even more amazing. God had laid it out such that the sacrifices take place on the same mountain (called Mt. Moriah in the Old Testament, called Mt. Calvary in the New Testament — also known as Mt. Zion, by the way) Moriah means chosen by Jehovah.
Christ portrayed his love for the world by being The Son of God who carried the wood/cross to the place of sacrifice and being the son was submissive to the will of the father. Similarly Abraham loved his son Isaac so much but he was willing to sacrifice his son. What is awesome is when it unfolds that in both stories the son was laid upon the wood/cross and bound to the wood/cross.
God moves as when He as The Lord Himself provided the sacrifice (the ram, Jesus). [Note, the word order in the Hebrew text of Genesis 22:8 could read, “The Lord will provide Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” A foreshadowing of Jesus], In his act of love God prepares a substitute sacrifice in both stories (ram a substitute for Isaac, Jesus a substitute for us).The sacrifice was a demonstration of love for God. So don’t doubt God!
When God enacted his love for the world it was for your salvation no wonder we say Hosanna, save us Lord on Palm Sunday. The challenge to the reader now is that consider the following and check if God didn’t have a plan for your salvation or not.
- Men of great faith in God who were committed obediently to the will of God.
- The ram was caught in the thorns, and Jesus had a crown of thorns on his head.
- Abundant blessings flow because of the sacrifice (abundant life).
- Abraham was tested, Jesus was tested.
- The son ultimately survived the sacrifice.
All this was God’s love in action. (John 3vs 16) “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”