“God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”
— Genesis 22:8
Abraham had already passed through several tests of his faith in God. God had called Abraham to move to another land, and he did (Genesis 12:1-7). God had promised to give Abraham an heir, and he believed (15:4-6). God had said that all the males in Abraham’s household were to be circumcised to be part of God’s covenant with him and his descendants, so Abraham did that too (17:9-27).
But now Abraham faced the hardest test of all. After receiving his son Isaac and seeing him grow in fulfillment of God’s promises, Abraham was told by God to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. So, trusting that God could even raise the dead and keep his promises (see Hebrews 11:19), Abraham responded in obedience. Abraham loved Isaac, but he loved God more. And God had kept all his promises. So Abraham trusted God.
Isaac said, “The fire and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” And Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb, my son.” Abraham then prepared the altar and got ready to offer his son there.
But God did not want Isaac sacrificed; God wanted Abraham’s love. In this gripping test of faith, God was pointing ahead to show that Jesus, his only Son, would become a sacrifice for us. For Isaac there was a substitute lamb, and Jesus became the Lamb of God for us. God “did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all” (Romans 8:32).
Lord God, thank you for giving up your only Son to die in my place. In Jesus’ name, Amen.