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The Great Sacrifice with photo of cross on hill top

The Great Sacrifice

God had promised to make Abraham a great nation, give him a great name, and descendants and through him all the families of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3). These blessings were conditional upon Abraham’s obedience. The faith of Abraham and Sarah was tested by having them wait until they were one hundred and ninety years old, respectively, before they finally conceived and bore Isaac—the son of God’s promise.

In spite of their sins and unbelief, God’s favor remained with Abraham and Sarah. Just as God had promised— Abraham and Sarah conceived and Isaac was born.

As the years passed God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham rose up early one morning, and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. He gathered enough wood for the burnt offering, and made way to the place that God had directed him (Genesis 22:3).

While journeying toward the top of Mount Moriah (the place for the burnt offering) Isaac said to Abraham “My father, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” Abraham answered Isaac with what has become one of the best-known names of God: Jehovah Jireh - God will provide.

A ram is providentially stuck in a thicket of thorns. Abraham quickly takes the ram and binds it on the altar in the place of Isaac. We can see why Abraham said to Isaac that the Lord will provide. He provided both a son and a substitute for him.

The completion of the sacrifice from which Abraham and Isaac were spared should remind us of another mountain. Not the site of the temple, where sacrificial animals were regularly offered for the sins of the people. No, the mountain we must look to is Mount Calvary. There on that mountain God would do the unthinkable. He would offer up His Son in our place. What is most striking here, is that what Abraham was spared from, God actually did. He did not spare His only begotten Son (Romans 8:32).

We can now understand that God was giving humanity a view of what He was going to do in providing His only begotten Son Jesus to lay down His life as a sheep before the slaughter. But as He cried out to His father in anguish from the cross, there was no ram caught in a thicket, no lamb to take His place, no priest to intercede on His behalf. Here, on this Son, fell all of the sins of the people of the world. It was the darkest day in history, yet the most beautiful day in history. While Isaac was spared from being a sacrifice let us not forget the incomprehensible love of the Father, who, in His love for us, did not spare His only begotten Son.

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9; Romans 8:32)

Written by Dr. Carl Parker

Who We Are

People to People Ministries, Inc., is a non-profit humanitarian organization reaching out to people in Portland, Oregon and various counties in North Carolina. We collaborate with churches and community organizations to assist children and families in need.


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