“Okay, this is it Abraham, you have to prove yourself. You’ve committed so many sins, made so many mistakes. Here is where I decide if I love GOD more than anything else. He is worthy Abraham, He is worthy. But my son, how can I sacrifice my son? I waited so long for a son…no…He promised that my offspring would be reckoned through him…so he has to live…right? No, that’s the thinking that got you in trouble with Hagar. Ishmael…is he all right? Can’t think about that now.”
“Stay here, me and the lad are going up on the mountain to worship.”
“Okay, got rid of the servants. They don’t need to see this, it would unsettle them. What about me? Look, my son carrying the wood on his back for his own pyre. How can I put this knife to my son? I have to – GOD demands it. And He is worth it. Oh how good He’s been to me! He has given me so much: given me riches, given me victories, He even put kings under my feet. He’s saved me and Sarah from so many dangers. Dangers I created with my lies – wait, is this a punishment? Is GOD taking my son because He is displeased? No…I…I don’t think so. Maybe Isaac’s purpose was always to die? No…He…promised. He promised, and I believed Him! I…I…DO believe Him. He has never lied. He doesn’t lie. This is going to work out somehow. Did Isaac just say something”
“Dad? I see the wood and the fire, but where is the lamb for sacrifice?”
“Oh LORD spare me this! What do I tell him? How can I explain this when even I don’t understand it?”
“Son, the LORD will provide for Himself the lamb for sacrifice.”
“I had to say something. It’s not really a lie, everything goes from and to the LORD, even Isaac. Strange, it doesn’t even feel like a deception. Oh LORD you took Ishmael away, will you now take Isaac? My only son whom I love so dearly…I have wept over him as he’s slept. Dreamed about who he’d grow up to be, and what he’d do. I’ve wondered who his wife would be – pretty like his momma I’d bet. Now none of that will happen, and I will be the one to kill him. Oh, what will I tell Sarah? She will never speak to me again. How will GOD keep His promise if Isaac is dead? There is nothing the LORD can’t do…perhaps…perhaps He will raise Isaac up from the dead once I’ve proven my obedience? Can GOD turn back death? Yes, He could do that, He can do anything.”
“Such a good lad. He cannot be confused now, he knows what I’m doing. So obedient…much better man than his father. I don’t deserve him, I never did. Now he goes back to GOD. So GOD has given me, and so He now takes away. Give me the courage!”
“Here I am! Here I am! Oh please! GOD!”
“STOP. DO NOT LAY A HAND ON THE BOY. I NOW KNOW THAT YOU FEAR GOD. SEEING THAT YOU HAVE NOT WITHHELD YOUR SON – YOUR ONLY SON – FROM ME.”
“What? Oh merciful GOD! Look! A ram! He DID provide His own sacrifice! GOD has provided a substitute for my son, that he should not die, but live! I knew He would do something! He is so great and so good! Oh LORD! I shall call this place ‘GOD-WILL-PROVIDE’ for on this mountaintop GOD provided the substitute for my son.”
From that day on, people said of that place, “On the mountain of the LORD it shall be provided.” While they, like Abraham, referred to Isaac, GOD meant it for something greater still.
For unlike Abraham, GOD’s Son – His ONLY Son – would not be spared. GOD would give up His son Jesus as the ransom – the blood sacrifice – once for ALL humanity. Humanity was lost in its sins and trespasses against GOD – self-condemned to an eternity without GOD. An eternity of pain, shame, and suffering. A sacrifice to atone for the sins was the only hope – but no animal could atone for human sin – and no human could be found without sin to be a suitable sacrifice.
“Son, GOD will provide for Himself the lamb for sacrifice.”
And He did. He provided Jesus. Like Isaac, Jesus would carry the wooden cross of his own execution up the hill. But whereas Abraham cried tears of joy when his son was given back to him unharmed, GOD would know no such joy. GOD had to go through till the end. GOD had to take the knife and plunge it into His Son – to smote Him with all the fury and anger and righteous vengeance that OUR sin deserved. Every wicked and foul thing was laid on Him. Every perversion, every malice, every shameful thing was taken in by Him. Then GOD smote Him with the punishment reserved for us. For me. For you. And then He turned away.
And there on the cross 2000 years ago in Jerusalem, on the mountain, GOD provided for us the means of our redemption and salvation – that we would not suffer endless loss.
He sacrificed His Son, so we would not have to sacrifice ours. It is the promise for all who believe.
But oh, how Abraham was right yet again! For how could GOD’s Son inherit the Kingdom and rule over us forever if He is dead? As Abraham reckoned with Isaac, GOD can indeed raise the dead, and He raised up His Son to life on the third day. Now Jesus Christ has ascended as a living being into Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father – awaiting the day when He will return to gather His people, crush His remaining enemies, and establish His forever rule over the glorious forever Kingdom of GOD.
Up Calvary’s mountain one dreadful morn
Walked Christ my Savior, weary and worn
Facing for sinners death on the cross
That He might save them from endless loss
Blessed Redeemer, precious Redeemer
Seems now I see Him on Calvary’s tree
Wounded and bleeding, for sinners pleading
Blind and unheeding, dying for me
‘Father, forgive them, ‘ my Savior prayed
Even while His lifeblood flowed fast away
Praying for sinners while in such woe
No one but Jesus ever loved so
Dying for me
Oh how I love Him, Savior and friend
How can my praises ever find end
Through years unnumbered on Heaven’s shore
My songs shall praise Him forevermore