Anglican Morning Devotion, 11 July 2021 Anno Domini
A Ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. 7And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? 8And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.” (Genesis 22:6-8;all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Many of our readers possess such a recall of this wonderful passage that they have it memorized by heart – not simply a mental recall, but a heart recall! It speaks profoundly of the symbolism that exists between Isaac as a type of Christ, and the reality revealed in that being typified – the Person of our Lord.
This is almost a parable in its earthly application of a divine truth. Isaac is the only son of his father. But, you may object, Ishmael was the firstborn son. True, but not according to the will and purpose of God. The Lord God promised a son to both Sarah and Abraham in common. Ishmael was born outside the bonds of marriage and was the feeble attempt of Sarah to perform a work of which she considered God unable to perform. So, God commanded Abraham: “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (Genesis 22:2) Man cannot perform the will of the Lord in his own way, but according to the counsel and dictates of God. Abraham obeyed explicitly this hurtful counsel of the Lord.
God is not only testing the faith of Abraham, but of every believer from Abraham down to our present time. Can man redeem from sin, or is that reserved only for One born sinless and worthy of the sacrifice?
You will recall that our Lord Jesus Christ bore His own cross of rough-hewn wood along the Via Dolorosa to Calvary. “And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:” (John 19:17) The cross belongs to the Lord, but is the aggregate of all our sins. He also allows us a hand in the bearing of the cross: “And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.” (Luke 23:26) Note that Simon of Cyrene followed Christ in bearing that cross. Our crosses are light and of little burden compared to His which ends in pain and death. Moreover, the cross we bear is of daily practice: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
Isaac is an innocent young lad. He is puzzled at the purpose of Abraham in bringing him thus to Mt. Moriah – the same mount upon which the Temple later was constructed and where the only Begotten Son of God was crucified almost 2,000 years hence. We may not understand the purpose of the Father in Heaven for leading us thus to strange lands and peoples, but it all measures up in the Kingdom of God according to His intent and purpose. Isaac, however, did not question his father’s plan except: “And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” An honest question asked out of a genuine curiosity (in case his father had forgotten). Now, this question of his beloved son had to have a devastating effect on the heart and soul of Abraham, but his faith held, not to his own sense, but to the greater promise of God. Abraham answered, “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.” Your modern Bible (per)versions do not give God the glory in this verse but misstate the truth. But the Received Text Bibles of the Reformers get it right. God will provide His very self as a Lamb in the form of the Lamb of God – a sacrifice He would never ask man to do, nor would man be qualified to make such a sacrifice.
Like Christ, Isaac was the only begotten son of his father. Like Christ, Isaac carried the wood for his own sacrifice up Mt. Moriah. And, like Christ, Isaac offered not a word of objection.
This entire affair is an example to us of the immeasurable love of God for us. He would send His own ‘only Begotten Son’ to die in the stead of Isaac and of each of us who believed in the faith of Abraham of a Redeemer.
Is this not a glorious truth!