Read His Words Before Ours!
Genesis 22 begins with the Lord directing His devoted follower, Abraham, to travel to Mount Moriah and offer Isaac as an offering of worship.
Isaac, the long-awaited son of Abraham’s old age.
Isaac, the miracle child through whom God promised to fulfill His covenant with Abraham.
Isaac, to be the first of Abraham’s descendants more numerous than the stars in the sky.
Isaac, to be bound and laid on an altar, his blood spilled by his father’s hand, his body consumed by flames.
Wait . . . what?
At first glance, this story seems to be nonsensical at best, contradictory to everything we believe about God’s character at worst. But dig in, sisters, because today we’re going to see how our good and loving God used Abraham and Isaac’s story to foreshadow the promise of Jesus’ sacrifice and the redemption it would bring.
Dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh . . .
While I don’t know the climate of the region through which Abraham and Isaac traveled to reach the site of their offering, I imagine snow probably did not dot the landscape, certainly not the drifts that come to mind when singing this classic Christmas carol. Singing carols of generations past and new lyrics to celebrate the season is a favorite tradition. Suppose we were to consider the threads of ancient biblical biographies as lines to a Christmas carol that all creation has longed to sing in preparation for the coming King?
It came upon a midnight clear, that glorious song of old…
Upon hearing the Lord’s voice, Abraham responded with immediate obedience.
He ensured that when he arrived at the correct location, he would have everything he needed to do exactly what the Lord had commanded. He had the wood, the fire, the knife, and Isaac. (Genesis 22:3)
When they reached the point of leaving the donkey and servants behind, Abraham put the wood on Isaac’s back and they finished the last distance to the burnt offering site, just the two of them. (Genesis 22:4-6)
Is anyone else catching the foreshadowing to Jesus’ sacrifice for us?
No, they weren’t singing songs of celebration, but a chorus of rescue was being woven by the Lord God just the same.
Abraham knew the burnt offering must be accomplished because the Lord had commanded it. God the Father knew Jesus’ sacrifice must be completed in order for us to have eternal communion with Him.
Joy to the world, the Lord has come…
What went through Abraham’s mind as he bound Isaac? Did he wonder if the Lord would provide a substitutionary sacrifice? Did he start to process how the Lord might resurrect Isaac if no physical ram arrived? Did he believe he was truly saying goodbye to his promised heir and beloved son, Isaac?
No matter the answers to those questions, Abraham still raised the knife in preparation to spill Isaac’s blood as required for a true offering. Abraham trusted the outcome of his obedience to the Lord.
God the Father still allowed Jesus to be crucified. At any moment, He could have called down all the force of heaven to stop Jesus’ crucifixion, in His becoming the offering for our sins, but the Father knew the outcome of Jesus’ obedience and saw that it was for our eternal good. God saw the joy on the other side of the sacrifice: eternity with us.
The manger scene wasn’t the beginning of the Christmas carol. Its chords echo all the way back through the prophets, the kings, and one man’s obedience to worship the Lord by offering his only son.
Do you hear what I hear?
What must Isaac have been thinking when he asked Abraham where the lamb would come from? Did his trust in his father begin to waver at all as his dad bound him and laid him on the altar?
What sense of relief and exaltation must Abraham have felt when he heard the Lord tell him to stop his raised hand from killing Isaac? Did the bleating of the ram evermore become the sound reminding him of God’s faithfulness?
In the Genesis 22 account, we witness how Isaac trusted his father,
and in turn trusted the Lord.
Jesus trusted God the Father as He willingly allowed Himself to be nailed to the cross.
Isaac was spared by the ram in the bush the Lord provided.
We were spared from the cost of our sins by Jesus, the Lamb crucified.
O come let us adore Him . . .
The One who gave Himself that we might be forever rescued from the weight of our sin.
This is a carol, whose vibrancy has been building since time began.
Go, tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born…
Oh Lord, thank You for loving us with such intentionality and intensity! You knew of the sacrifice Jesus would make centuries after Abraham and Isaac lived. You commanded and documented a parallel story to help us see just how long You have been preparing our salvation.
Jesus, thank You for walking out the story to a completion Isaac never could have. Thank You for becoming the sacrifice that became the payment for our sins.
This Christmas, as the air is filled with Christmas songs new and old, may we embrace the Christmas gift the Lord anticipated giving us from the very beginning: Jesus and eternity with Him.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!