God said to Abraham, “Abraham!”
And he replied, “Here I am.”
“Take your son,” said God, “your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you.” (Genesis 22:1-3)
At first glance, God’s demand of Abraham seems very cruel and inhumane. Why would God command any man, especially a great man of faith, to sacrifice his son? Does God crave human sacrifice? Is He expecting those who love Him to kill their children as a means of worship?
Obviously, God did not really want Abraham to kill his son. He sent an angel to stop him just before he slew Isaac.
So, why would God make Abraham go through this awful ordeal?
First of all, God wanted to test the greatness of Abraham’s faith. The angel said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (Genesis 22:12). In Hebrews 11:19, we learn that Abraham had so much faith that he believed God would raise his son from the dead. Therefore, he had every intention of obeying God.
Secondly, God wanted to show us He had a plan. Consider the following parallels to the offering of Isaac and the offering of Jesus, God’s Son.
1. God told Abraham to offer his son on Mt. Moriah (Gen. 22:2). On this same mountain range, the temple was built (2 Chron. 3:1) and Jesus was crucified (John 19:16-17).
2. Abraham was to offer his “only” son (Gen. 22:2). God offered His only begotten Son (John 3:16).
3. Isaac carried the wood for the sacrifice (Gen. 22:5). Jesus carried the cross for His sacrifice (John 19:7).
4. The ram was caught by its horns in a thicket (Gen. 22:13). A crown of thorns was thrust upon Jesus’ head (Matt. 27:29).
5. The ram became a substitute for Isaac (Gen. 22:13). Jesus is our substitute (1 Jn. 2:2; 1 Thess. 5:10).
6. Abraham told his son, “God will provide the lamb” (Gen. 22:8). God provided Jesus, the Lamb of God, for us (Isa. 53:7; Jn. 1:29; Rev. 5:6-13).
7. Abraham bound his son (Gen. 22:9). God bound His son (Phil. 2:8; Isa. 53:10; Matt. 26:39).
Almost every detail of Abraham offering Isaac was part of God’s plan for His Son. More than 2000 years before Calvary, God outlined the death of our sacrificial Lamb.
Yet, the most compelling aspect of this plan is that it pleased God to offer His Son (Isa. 53:10). He willingly offered His only Son so we could be given the opportunity to have fellowship with Him. Maybe that is reason why Jesus said, “God SO LOVES the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16).
How should we respond to this gracious heavenly plan?
Jesus said we need to “believe” it (John 3:16; Mark 16:16). We need to “confess” Jesus as our Savior and Lord (Acts 2:36; 8:37; Romans 10:9-10). We need to “repent” of our sins (Acts 2:38; 17:30). We need to allow God to wash away our sins through “baptism” into Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Col. 2:12). We need to “live” according to God’s plans and not our own (Titus 2:11-13; Rev. 2:10).
Isn’t it wonderful to know God has a plan for us? And He has had it for long time!