In Genesis 22 we read the great challenge in Abraham’s life – the instruction from the Lord to “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you” (verse 2). This is the final test for Abraham’s faith; it is a lesson how God builds upon tests to our faith; Abraham’s first test had been to leave his homeland and “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you” (12:1).
One of the key foundations to faith is to grasp the significance of God’s dealings with Abraham and the promises God made to him. It is astonishing that so few see this foundation to the gospel: yet Paul says in Galatians, “the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed. So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith” (3:8,9). Many talk about the Gospel, but few have a Bible understanding of it.
Isaac trusted his father, a bond had developed between them. When he asks, “where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (verse 7). Abraham replies, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son”. And after Abraham’s hand was stayed at the last second, and a ram was offered instead of Isaac, “Abraham called the name of that place, ‘The LORD will provide’”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided”. That is where the Temple was built and the Lamb was ultimately provided – an offering for you and me. How often are Abraham’s acts of faith held up as examples in the New Testament (see Hebrews 11:17-19). The final point in Galatians 3 is, “if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise”. What a significant “if” that is! Are you Christ’s?
“The Lord will provide” Abraham said, and the Lord did provide – far more than the initial ram that Abraham offered. He provided, “the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who, through him, are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” (1 Peter 1:19-21).
He was manifest, for your sake and mine, and for all who are seeking an eternal meaning to their lives. Let us make sure we have heard the “loud voice” that said, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12). May we, through his grace, be there.
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