Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”Genesis 22:2
The God of glory appeared to Abraham (Acts 7:2) and promised that if he would leave his country and go to a land He would show him, God would make him the father of a great nation (Genesis 12:1-3). So at 75 years of age, Abraham left his homeland to follow God into the great unknown, and though at times his faith faltered, God fulfilled His promise by giving Abraham a miracle child, Isaac, when he was 100 years old.
Now God will give Abraham the ultimate test of faith. “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love… and offer him there as a burnt offering.” Abraham did have an older son, Ishmael, but he was not the son God had promised but was living testimony to Abraham’s weak faith. Thinking God needed help fulfilling his promises, Abraham and his wife Sarah came up with a plan for a surrogate child through an Egyptian maid (Genesis 16). But Isaac was the chosen one, the son of his old age, the son of his aged wife Sarah, a gift from God and the one through whom God’s promises would be fulfilled.
Abraham’s faith did not falter on this day though, as he rose early in the morning, eager to honour God through his obedience. He reckoned that if God would fulfil His promises through Isaac, He would do the impossible and raise his son from the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19). By faith, he told his servants that he and the lad would go worship– and that they would return (Genesis 22:5)! By faith, he told Isaac that God would provide Himself a lamb. And as he raised his hand to kill his one-of-a-kind son, God intervened and showed him a ram caught in a thicket, a substitute burnt offering with which to worship God.
This historical incident pointed forward prophetically to a time when another Father would offer the Son of His love, not on an altar but on a cross. Just as Isaac carried the wood for the burnt offering, so Jesus carried His own cross. But there would be no substitute for Jesus when the death blow came. Rather, He was our substitute, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). And as we consider what it meant for Abraham to offer up his son, we have a glimpse into the heart of the Father as He “spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all” (Romans 8:32).