Most of us have many times read the story of the sacrifice of Isaac or heard it preached. It’s not a new story to us, yet it still brings many to ask why a loving God would require a father to go through such a trial.
After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, 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 of which I shall tell you.”Genesis 22:1-2 ESV (Emphasis mine)
These were very explicit instructions, made clear by the descriptives given to the son. Isaac is considered the only son because he is the son of the covenant. He’s also the only son because, in the last chapter, God allows for Ishmael to be sent away. He’s also the son he’s choosing because he is the son Abraham loves.
This is the first time we see the word love used in the Bible. It’s in the context of love a father has for his son, and it shows the extent of the sacrifice Abraham was making. Do you know why this stands out so in my mind? Because God knew he was asking Abraham to do what he would later willingly do for us.
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?Romans 8:32
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
God spared Isaac but not his own son because of his love for us.
Abraham knew this by faith.
Even in the painful three-day journey, Abraham reveals insight into God’s sovereign plan after Isaac asks him about the burnt offering.
“God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.”Genesis 22:8
The God who spared the son of Abraham by providing the ram for the sacrifice would ultimately provide the perfect sacrifice for our sin. Abraham learned to trust the Promiser over the promise. Just as we saw God work out the details in the lives of Sarah and Hagar, he has worked out the details for our atonement by providing the ransom required for mankind.
The Lord will provide.
And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 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 22:13b-14
After such a trial, that mountain could have easily been named Mount Trial or Mount of Sacrifice or Suffering, but instead, Abraham names it after what God did—provide. Can you imagine the opportunity that gave parents to answer questions from their children? “Dad, why is this mountain called Jehovah Jireh?”
Do you have stories in your life that you can share with your children about when God provided? Have you told them about the day you recognized that God had provided his only Son, the Son he loved, to be the atoning sacrifice for your sin? That’s a story worth retelling, for it never gets old.
Jehovah Jireh is our provider each and every day.
Grace and Peace