A Very Unusual Request

Genesis 22
22 “Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
2 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.”
God came to Abraham and told him to take his son, his “Only son,” his beloved son, Isaac, and sacrifice him to the Lord on Mt. Moriah.  What a VERY UNUSUAL request!  It was so not like the God Abraham knew and loved, Who called him “My friend!”
But regardless, Abraham proceeded to do exactly as he was instructed; no question or complaint–also amazing!
Only Son?
God said to take his son but He called Isaac “his ONLY son.”  Isn’t that inaccurate?  Abraham had two sons.  The other one was Ishmael.  Why did He refer to Isaac as “His only son?”
Because Sarah was his wife.  He was not married to Hagar.  Isaac was the only son born to him and his wife.  Hagar was Sarah’s Egyptian servant.  Abraham had a son by her at Sarai’s insistence, as you recall.
God’s Beloved Son.
God, of course, is always pointing to His ONLY Son, the Son that He loves; His only begotten, JESUS!  There are clear similarities between this “Almost sacrifice” by Abraham and God’s giving of His only Son for the sins of the whole world.
Here are some obvious comparisons:
Isaac carried the wood on his back.  Jesus carried a wooden cross on his back.
Isaac, with his father beside him, climbed to the top of a mountain.  This tells you something else you may not have thought about.  Jesus no doubt climbed to the top of Mount Calvary with His Father right beside Him.
The Father’s Love.
You’d better believe it!  The Father was right there with His Beloved Son every step of the way until the moment He was forced to turn His back on Him because Jesus was carrying our sins.
Remember when Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”  For the first time in His entire life, His Father had to turn away from Him.  Even though He did no sin, He knew no sin, and in Him is no sin, He carried all our sins.  God cannot have fellowship with sin so, at that point, Jesus couldn’t call Him “Father.”  Though as God judging our sins He had to turn away from His beloved Son, as Father His heart was literally breaking.  No doubt there were tears in His eyes.
Jesus was rejected and forsaken so that one day you and I would be able to call God “Father,” and never be forsaken.  We can now be FULLY ACCEPTED because Jesus was FULLY REJECTED, taking our rejection on Himself, absorbing it all.  HALLELUJAH!
Difference Between The Two.
Here’s the difference between the two.  Abraham was about to slay his son but God stopped him.  He wasn’t after human sacrifice at all, but to test Abraham.  He passed!   He had provided a sacrifice to use in place of Isaac.
Abraham turned around and saw that there was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns.
The Crown Of Thorns.
Now, it’s VERY UNUSUAL for a ram to be caught by its horns.  They are usually caught by the fleece, but horns, no.  It is extremely rare.
Abraham freed that animal from the thicket.  There would no doubt be some of the thorny plant stuck to its head, a depiction of the crown of thorns that our Lord Jesus would wear on His head.
I firmly believe that Abraham would have gone through with offering Isaac, knowing full well that God would raise him back to life.  This we know because he said to the men who had accompanied them in Genesis 22:5, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and WE WILL COME BACK TO YOU.”  He knew they would BOTH would return.
Jesus, on the other hand, WAS NOT SPARED, but took our place and was sacrificed for us on that cross.
Interesting Facts.
Here are some things you may not have heard before:
Mt. Moriah is part of the same range of mountains as Mt. Calvary, as you can see in the picture above.  Calvary is the highest peak of that range (of course!) where, in the distant future, Jesus would be offered up for us all.
As for the ram, God purposely mentioned that it was “Caught by it’s horns in a thicket.”  Had it been caught by it’s wool, it would have been all lacerated and bloody, injured, disqualifying the animal as a sacrifice.  Animals had to be without blemish you know.  As it was caught by it’s horns, the ram was prevented from being harmed.
Then God said to Abraham: “Now I know how much you love me because you did not withhold your son, your only begotten son, from me…..”  He said that so one day, you and I could say, “Now I know how much you love me because You have not withheld your Son, Your only begotten Son from me.”
Vision Of The Cross.
Finally, let’s look at this verse in the Gospel of John.  In chapter 8, vs 56, Jesus says “Abraham rejoiced to see His day.”  He was saying that Abraham actually had a vision of what God was planning to do in the distant future.
I believe as soon as he turned around and saw that ram in the thorn bush behind him, he caught sight of the higher peak in the distance, Mt. Calvary.  He had a vision of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross in the distant future.
No wonder he rejoiced! He saw the sacrifice to end all sacrifices, even though, at the time, what God asked him to do may have seemed a very unusual request.

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