Lent Devotional: Genesis 22:1-14

by Jonathan Haefs

Genesis 22:1-14 (click here)
And 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 I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.”

…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. [14] So 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.” (Genesis 22:6-8 and 13-14)

Reflection
Isaac was the child whom God had promised to Abraham. Through him, God has promised Abraham descendants that would outnumber the stars in the sky. Yet…in Genesis 22 God instructed Abraham to sacrifice this son of promise.

If Isaac died, all the promises died with him.

Isaac represented the future people of God and as their representative, he was now marching up a mountain, bearing on his back the very wood upon which he was to die. In Isaac, God’s people were walking up a hill to their death.

God ordered this death. God alone could stop this death. But how?

That was Isaac’s question. As he looked around at their sacrificial supplies, he noticed one key thing was missing…they had no lamb.

Fire?…check.

Wood?…check.

Lamb?…where is the lamb?

Abraham knew the answer…Isaac was the lamb…unless God provided a substitute sacrifice. God alone could do this… and God alone did it!

A ram instead of Isaac. A substitute. A savior.

God provided. And Abraham prophetically stated more than he could possibly have known… that one day… “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” And it has been provided.

We, the people of God, deserved nothing but death. God ordered this death for our sin because he is righteous and just and deals with evil…even our evil.

God ordered this death… and God alone could stop this death… but how?

We alone deserve to die… is there a lamb to sacrifice in our place? The question of Isaac echoes through the ages, “Where is the lamb?”

In John 1:29, John the Baptist answers Isaac’s 2000 year old question with the words, “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Behold Jesus!

God’s own son, who marched up a mountain, bearing on his back the very wood upon which he was to die…and he did it in our place! God righteously, rightly ordered our death and God stopped it by taking it on himself!

On the mountain called Calvary, the Lord provided a substitute sacrifice for his people so that they, nor his promises to them had to die. Jesus Christ, the lamb, died so that we might live now and forevermore!

Behold the lamb of God! Behold Jesus!

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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