March 1 – Faith like Abraham
After these things God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” He said, “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 upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; and he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off. Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. Then Abraham put forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.
And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, “By myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you, and I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore. And your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your descendants shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.”
When reading these verses, it is easy to only focus on the choice Abraham had to make in trusting God’s plan for his son, his only son, who would have been a young boy at the time. Any parent would struggle with the thought of sacrificing their child for God, asking ourselves questions like, “What would we would do in the same situation?” or “How would we react? Would we follow or try to negotiate?”, etc. What is lost when we focus on Abraham’s choice is God’s choice and His plan for salvation.
First, God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son. God also sacrificed His son, His only son. The mountain that God told Abraham to sacrifice his son would be in the same area as His Son would be sacrificed on. On the third day, Abraham lifted his eyes just as Jesus’ disciples did on Easter Sunday. The wood was carried by Abraham’s son, just as Jesus carried the wood of His sacrifice. When Isaac asked his dad who would provide the lamb for the sacrifice, Abraham replied “God will provide the lamb,” which He did with the Lamb of God. Abraham bound his son and placed him on the wood, just as Jesus was hung upon the wood of the cross. The difference is when Abraham was ready to sacrifice his son, the angel of the Lord was there to stop him and provided a ram (imperfect sacrifice) for him to sacrifice instead. There was no one to stop the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus, the unblemished Lamb. Because of the faith of Abraham, we all received the blessing by making us all descendants of Abraham, and because of the faith of Jesus both the Gentiles and the Jews were included in the blessing given to Abraham making us all adopted sons and daughters of God.
We will never face the same choice as Abraham had with sacrificing a child for God, but we are called to have faith and obey the voice of the Lord no matter the circumstance. Brothers and sisters in Christ, we too will share in the inheritance given to us by our Heavenly Father if we are faithful to Him even when it may be at great sacrifice. The Lord will provide!
Lent in Action:
Make a list of ten things the Lord has provided for your during your life and thank Him for each one.
Jesus, thank you for being our perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God. Thank you for your obedience, for your word, for your life, so that we can be counted as the descendants of Abraham, and children of God. Help me to have the faith of Abraham, always following God’s voice without doubt or questioning. I ask this in your holy name. Amen.