In the Bible in Genesis 22, there’s a story I never could quite wrap my head around. Abraham, father of none, has given up hope of ever being a father. But it is pleasing to God for Abraham to become a father, so God blesses him and his wife, Sarah, with a son. Isaac. Abraham and Sarah haven’t had much time to enjoy their life with their little son when God decides to test Abraham. He tells Abraham to take Isaac, “your only son…whom you love”, up a mountain as a sacrifice.
Maybe that’s what Abraham thought. Maybe he thought something a little more colorful, or sad, or any combination of a million different things that all probably resulted in him wanting to tell God a huge, resounding “NO!” But he didn’t.
The morning after God speaks this command to Abraham, he takes his son into the mountains. Along the way on their three-day trip, Isaac asks his father where the offering is. Usually you’d need a lamb or a dove or an ox or something, but they’ve brought nothing, and Isaac is confused. His father answers, “God himself will provide a lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”
Abraham and Isaac reach the place of sacrifice, and father binds son, lays him among the wood, and raises the knife to take his son’s blood. He is committed, because he is trusting. Or maybe he’s afraid of what will happen if he doesn’t obey. Maybe he thinks it must not be happening. I think he just knows, somewhere; he knows God has a greater meaning for this.
He did. He stopped Abraham’s hand with an angel, and provided a ram to replace Isaac as the sacrifice.
I read through this story recently, and I think it was the first time I’ve actually looked at it since becoming a mother. And I see this:
God spared Abraham a cup of suffering He didn’t withhold from Himself.
People use this story as a parallel for us being on the sacrificial pyre but Jesus taking our place, as the ram took the place of Isaac. But what if this is also a story about how God felt when Jesus, His only son, whom He loved, was making a three day trek up a mountain to his own death. To be bound to wood, and cut with a spear, sacrificed.
God did not spare His own heart for the sake and salvation of our own.
How great His love for us must be.
“…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” ~ Ephesians 3:16-18, NIV
P.S. We’d love to know your thoughts; be sure to share in the comments section below. This month we will draw TEN winners from our commenters and the winners will receive one of these two books, Hope for a Hurting Heart or To Let You Know I Care by our featured author this month, Cheryl Karpen.
Lakin Easterling is a wife, mother, writer, and avid reader. She spends her days chasing her toddler, Belle, and conversing with the elderly who are afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia. She loves surprise coffee dates with her husband Luke, texting novels to her best friend, Laura Hyers, and being a college student. She dreams about being brave enough to get a tattoo, and believes in the healing power of a good cup of coffee. Her favorite nail polish is Sail Away by Milani. She blogs at http://threadingsymphonies.wordpress.com.
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