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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Life-Saving Promises

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, whom you love--Isaac--and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you." (Genesis 22:1-2 NIV)

I can’t imagine the struggle Abraham faced that day.  This was his son.  Since Ishmael had been sent away, this was his only son.  This was the promised son.  This was the son God had promised to bless all nations through.  This was the son who would bring about so many people that they could not be counted.  How could God possibly ask him to sacrifice this only one special son?

Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. (Genesis 22:3 NIV)

Later on in Scripture, we are told that Abraham trusted God.  He knew what God had promised through Isaac.  He knew that God was the One commanding Abraham now.  So, Abraham supposed, God will have to bring Isaac back from the dead.  God can do that.  He has the power.  So, Abraham continued.

On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you." Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?" "Yes, my son?" Abraham replied. "The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together. (Genesis 22:4-8 NIV)

The parallels to Jesus here are beautiful.  Jesus carried the “wood” for the “offering” that would be made that day.  Jesus was God’s son.  Jesus would be the one through whom all nations would be blessed.  Jesus became the pure, spotless lamb for the offering.  When Jesus died, the one who was supposed to die (you or me) was set free.  What’s best of all, this image took place around 2,000 years before Jesus was even born.

When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son." Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." (Genesis 22:9-14 NIV)

God is a God of life.  His promises are life-saving promises.  He sets us free from the law of sin and death.  God wants us to live…with Him…eternally.

How about you?