So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide.
— Genesis 22:14
Leaving Cornelius Creek on the Appalachian Trail one morning in Virginia, I began the long, steep climb to Apple Orchard Mountain. Stopping frequently, I leaned against trees to catch my breath. As I struggled up the mountain, I thought about Abraham’s hike into the mountains with Isaac.
God told Abraham to take his son Isaac to the region of Moriah and to sacrifice him as a burnt offering on a mountain there. So Abraham obeyed. Reaching the mountain, they slowly climbed to “the place God had told him about.” Isaac noted that they had no lamb for the burnt offering, but Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” Abraham then bound his son and placed him on the altar. But as Abraham took the knife to sacrifice his son, God stopped him, saying, in effect, “Now I know that you trust me above all else.”
What a horrifying scene! We might ask, “What kind of father is Abraham? And what kind of God is this?” Or perhaps we should ask, “What was God actually planning and revealing here?” Looking back, we see that while Abraham was being tested, he also trusted God to provide the lamb in place of his son. And looking ahead, we see that God provided his own Son, Jesus, as the Lamb of God, who died in our place to pay for our sin and give us eternal life (John 1:29; 3:16)!
Father, while we struggle to understand this test of Abraham, guide us to live by faith, knowing that your own Son gave up his life for us. Amen.