God already has provided the answer in Christ!
By Alan Wright — March 15, 2019
Whatever your need, God already has provided the answer in Christ.
Today’s Text: “And Isaac said to his father Abraham, ‘My father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ He said, ‘Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’ Abraham said, ‘God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.’ So they went both of them together.” (Genesis 22:7–8, ESV)
The Abraham and Isaac sacrifice story is one of the most perplexing, disturbing narratives imaginable. God tells Abraham to take his “one and only son, whom he loves” and sacrifice him. Obediently, the patriarch takes Isaac, the son of promise, up Mt. Moriah, as described in Genesis 22. In a scene of almost unbearable pathos, the father holds the knife above the boy’s neck when, suddenly, an angel stays the execution and a ram appears in the thicket. Abraham calls the place “the Lord will provide” (Genesis 22: 14, ESV).
I once looked at dozens of online sermons on this famous text. The application of most of the sermons goes something like this: Look at Abraham. See his faith and obedience? See his sacrifice? Let us be more like Abraham. Or, in the worst cases, Why can’t you be more like Abraham? Then comes the questioning meant to convict: Are you willing to sacrifice for God? Are you willing to let go of whatever God calls you to let go? The implication is clear: You aren’t as blessed as Abraham because you haven’t been willing to sacrifice like Abraham did.
We tend to make this story (like we do other biblical stories) all about our sacrifice to God, when really the story is about God’s sacrifice for us. God had no intention of allowing Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son (child sacrifice was a forbidden abomination in Israel).
The pivotal question of the story isn’t, What are you going to sacrifice for God? Or, What will you do to prove that you are a good, religious person? The pivotal question of the text is “Where is the lamb?” And the answer is the announcement of the Gospel, “God will provide for himself the lamb.”
For every situation in life the question is not: What can I do to make God bless me? The question always is: Where is the lamb? Where is the blessed provision of God in Jesus Christ in the midst of this situation? That’s the question. And that’s the Gospel!