Holy Spirit of truth; direct my attention to Jesus, so I might see what You would have me become.
Read Genesis 22:9-19
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Amazing love! How can it be, that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?” (Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).
Child sacrifice was practiced by many nations referred to in the Bible. Sometimes it was seen as the ultimate way to get the gods to do something. For Israel, it was wrong on two counts. God’s law prohibited human sacrifice (Lev. 18:21), and sacrifices were never meant to manipulate God. They were God’s gracious provision to cover the barrier that sin creates and to promote fellowship with God. These themes may not have been so clear to Abraham, but Jewish readers could see them in embryo in this story. They identified the mountain of Moriah (2,14) as the site of the Jerusalem temple, the place God provided for their sacrifices.
Jewish law also said that every first-born son belonged to God and should either be dedicated to God’s service or bought back with an appropriate sacrifice (Exod. 13:12,13). This reminded new parents that children were not their own, but entrusted to them by God. We serve them best if we show them that our priority is to live by faith in God. The details in this story imply that Isaac was as trusting and compliant towards his father as Abraham was towards God. Then, just as he must have realized that he was about to die, the angel called out and they both saw that God had provided a substitute (10-13).
Paul had this story in mind when he wrote “[God] did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all” (Rom. 8:32). Abraham’s prophetic action echoes down the centuries to help us understand more deeply what happened on the cross. The unity and love between Father and Son held firm despite the agonizing separation as Jesus died. He was the one and only sacrifice that covers sin and brings us to God. All previous provision pointed to that moment.
Marvel again at “what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1). Then, thank him.
Jehovah-Jireh, You are truly my provider. As my loving Heavenly Father, You see my needs beforehand and make provision for them. I give You praise and thanks.
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