9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. 12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” 13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
I don’t like this story – got to be honest. I don’t like that God would put Abraham in that position. I get it that Abraham was the Father of Faith – the guy clearly had great faith and confidence in God. I get the author of Hebrews’ angle too – that God would raise the boy back to life (see Hebrews 11:17-19). But still – why would God test Abraham in that way? What if God tests me in that way?
Honestly, these questions are too big for me and I don’t have an answer. But one thing I do see – the obvious prophetic nature of the whole event. The clear pointing to a time still to come when a Father would offer His son as a sacrifice for me – in my place. And at that moment – that future sacrifice – there would be no reprieve. Jesus would take the full penalty of my sin – without any last-minute rescue.
Oh, the love and grace poured out for me that caused you, Heavenly Father, such immeasurable pain. And Jesus, for willingly taking all my sin upon yourself. What can I say – what can I do – but to offer my whole life in surrender and worship.
Written by Boudy Van Noppen