Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, "My father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." And he said, "Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"Genesis 22:7(NASB)
There is perhaps no more poignant picture of the sacrificial Lamb of God, than the beautiful portrayal of Abraham, the heart-sick father walking alone with his beloved son, Isaac, as they trudged together up the slopes of Mount Moriah.
Only a few verses earlier, we read how Abraham had been called by the Lord to: "Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you."
God had been silent for many years and Abraham had been waiting to hear from the Lord – but the instruction he was to receive broke his heart – despite the fact that he immediately obeyed the crushing instructions and prepared for the sacrifice.
The burnt offering was not a legal requirement, but a free-will gift of love which is given to the Lord. The burnt offering did not contain any contractual conditions which had to be fulfilled. It was not part of an unbreakable pledge or promise – but was to be birthed from a heart of thanksgiving. The freewill offering was to come from a heart that rejoiced in the Lord and praised His name for His goodness and kindness, mercy and grace.
Together they journeyed for over two days with a couple of servants – but on arrival at Moriah, father and son set out alone towards the summit, carrying the wood, fire, and other sacrificial instruments required to complete the painful task at hand. Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, "My father!" Abraham replied, "Here I am, my son." And Isaac said, "Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"
It was on the third day that they arrived at the exact spot, of which the Lord had told them. Despite the inevitable price that had to be paid, Abraham assured his two young servants that he and Isaac would go alone to offer the burnt offering to the Lord and both would return after worshipping God – for Abraham trusted the Lord to fulfil the promise He made so many years before: "I will make of you a great nation – and through Isaac your offspring will be born." Abraham believed God would restore his son, even after his death – for he knew God’s Word was true.
This poignant picture of Abraham’s offering of his son, Isaac, is simply a foreshadowing of God the Father and His beloved Son – the sinless lamb of God, who went to the Cross out of love. Jesus, the beloved Son of God, was a willing sacrifice. He was the burnt-offering Who offered Himself as a voluntary sacrifice. It was out of obedience toward His Father that Christ became the Freewill, Burnt Offering, and was pleased to cry out, "Not My will but Thy will be done."
The shadow that fell upon that journey to Moriah is a dim reflection of Christ’s painful journey to Calvary’s Cross – where He was crucified. The deep agony of the Father cannot be comprehended in the mind of those who only stand afar off from that sacred alter of sacrifice.
Having carried the wooden cross on His shoulder (just like Isaac, His forbear), Christ was thrust in the heart with a sharp sword and the sin of the world was paid in full. The poignant picture of the sacrificial Lamb of God through the lives of Abraham and Isaac, finally became a historical reality for us all – at Calvary.
Heavenly Father, thank You for painting so many pictures of Christ in the Old Testament and for the lives of Abraham and Isaac, who so clearly represent elements of what Father and Son together endured, to take away my sin. Thank You for giving Your life as the ransom price for my soul and I pray that I would increasingly come to an understanding of what it cost for You to pay for my sin. Thank You, in Jesus' name, AMEN.