I have said before that following Christ is a walk of faith and there will certainly be times when we don’t understand why God would have us take the path that He does. There is no greater example in the Scripture than that of Abraham.
After many barren years, Abraham and his wife had a son, just as God had promised them. This boy was Abraham’s hope for the future because God had specifically declared that Abraham would have innumerable descendants through him, this child of promise. Imagine the horror then when God said to Abraham: “Take your son, your only son, whom you love … and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
Scripture tells us that Abraham quickly obeyed God and set out at first light, taking his son and some servants with him on the three-day journey to the place God had shown him. However, when he saw the mountain in the distance he told his servants in Genesis 22:5 “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.” Notice how he tells them that both he and his son will return! And when the boy asks, “The fire and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”
Now we might think that Abraham was really just trying to be kind by keeping the truth from his child; and yet Hebrews 11:17-19 tells us what had really happened in Abraham’s heart along the journey. It reads, “By faith … he who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through (this child) that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive (his son) back from death.” While he was fully committed to obeying God’s instructions, Abraham did not believe that would be the end of the story. He believed with all his heart that God somehow would be faithful to the promise He had given about his descendants. God would keep His Word, no matter how things might have looked in the moment.
Abraham’s beloved son climbed the mountain with the wood of the altar upon his back. He was laid upon it; and as his father raised the knife to kill his son, a messenger of the Lord stopped him. There in the thicket was a ram caught by its horns, a ram that would be offered instead of the boy. A guiltless sacrifice died in the place of Abraham’s precious son.
The sacrifice that day pointed to Jesus Christ, God’s own Son who would come to die in our place. Thousands of years later, He labored up that very same hill with the wood of His cross on His back. But this time, no messenger intervened to stop the sacrifice. Jesus Christ, innocent of any sin of His own, died a horrible, excruciating death. In doing so, He paid the price for sin and bore the separation from His Father that you and I deserve. Jesus was the guiltless sacrifice offered in our place so that you and I may go free. What Abraham was asked to do God has done. He has offered His only Son.
A Jordanian man once told me that it was ridiculous for me to believe that Jesus is God’s Son, for why would God need a son? And it’s true. God does not need a Son to carry on a generational line as we do. God’s Son came to be a substitute. He came to die on our behalf to set us free and raise us to new life! I hope that you will put your trust in God and in the sacrifice of His one and only Son, Jesus, on the cross.