Welcome to the eleventh stage of our journey from Good Friday to Easter Sunday: In Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, we see love, eternal love, the love of God.
Some time later God tested Abraham; he called to him, “Abraham!” And Abraham answered, “Yes, here I am!”
2 “Take your son,” God said, “your only son, Isaac, whom you love so much, and go to the land of Moriah. There on a mountain that I will show you, offer him as a sacrifice to me.”
3 Early the next morning Abraham cut some wood for the sacrifice, loaded his donkey, and took Isaac and two servants with him. They started out for the place that God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham saw the place in the distance. 5 Then he said to the servants, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there and worship, and then we will come back to you.”
6 Abraham made Isaac carry the wood for the sacrifice, and he himself carried a knife and live coals for starting the fire. As they walked along together, 7 Isaac spoke up, “Father!”
He answered, “Yes, my son?”
Isaac asked, “I see that you have the coals and the wood, but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?”
8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide one.” And the two of them walked on together.
9 When they came to the place which God had told him about, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. He tied up his son and placed him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he picked up the knife to kill him. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham, Abraham!”
He answered, “Yes, here I am.”
12 “Don’t hurt the boy or do anything to him,” he said. “Now I know that you honor and obey God, because you have not kept back your only son from him.”
13 Abraham looked around and saw a ram caught in a bush by its horns. He went and got it and offered it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 Abraham named that place “The Lord Provides.” And even today people say, “On the Lord’s mountain he provides.”
15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time, 16 “I make a vow by my own name—the Lord is speaking—that I will richly bless you. Because you did this and did not keep back your only son from me, 17 I promise that I will give you as many descendants as there are stars in the sky or grains of sand along the seashore. Your descendants will conquer their enemies. 18 All the nations will ask me to bless them as I have blessed your descendants—all because you obeyed my command.”
Good News Translation (GNT)
Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society
Here, we see Abraham in his relationship with the world (Genesis 21:22-34) and his relationship with the Lord (Genesis 22:1-14). Abraham deals honestly and wisely with the pagan king, Abimelech, who acknowledges Abraham’s closeness to God – ‘God is with you in all that you do’ (Genesis 21:22). We are to be honest and wise in our relationship with the world (Romans 12:17; Colossians 4:5; Ephesians 5:15; 1 Peter 2:12). Our relationship with the world is to be grounded in our relationship with God. In the testing of Abraham, we catch a glimpse of ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29). Christ is the Lamb whom God will provide (Genesis 22:8). In Genesis 22:14, we read, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided’. On Calvary’s hill, Christ died to bring us to God, so that we might learn to live for Him in this world (1 Peter 3:18; 2:24).After the renewal of God’s promise (Genesis 22:15-18), Abraham went to Beersheba (Genesis 22:19). He returned to the place where he had ‘called…on the Name of the Lord, the Everlasting God’ (21:33). This is a good ‘place’ to be, the ‘place’ of calling on the Name of the Lord, the Everlasting God. As we read of the death and burial of Sarah, we must remember this: the Lord is the Everlasting God. The death of Sarah took place in God’s time. Her death signified that her work had been done. She had mothered the child of promise. Beyond the death of Sarah, there was the continuing purpose of God. The cave at Machpelah (23:19-20) became the burial place for Sarah, Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Leah. We see the continuity of history, and we thank God for His continuing faithfulness down through the generations.
Watch out for the next stage on our journey from Good Friday to Easter Sunday: Our hope of eternal glory comes from love, eternal love, the love of God.