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Where's the Lamb?

Genesis 22:1-2 NLT

 

Later on God tested Abraham's faith and obedience. "Abraham!" God called.

"Yes," he replied. "Here I am." 

[2] "Take your son, your only son--yes, Isaac, whom you love so much--and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will point out to you." 

It amazes me how God uses the least likely people to accomplish the greatest things. Abram was ninety-nine years old when God revealed some good news to him.

First, he was changing his name from Abram "father" to Abraham "father of many." Second, God had some more news:

Genesis 17:15-17 NLT Then God added, "Regarding Sarai, your wife--her name will no longer be Sarai; from now on you will call her Sarah. [16] And I will bless her and give you a son from her! Yes, I will bless her richly, and she will become the mother of many nations. Kings will be among her descendants!" 

[17] Then Abraham bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in disbelief. "How could I become a father at the age of one hundred?" he wondered. "Besides, Sarah is ninety; how could she have a baby?" 

In disbelief, Abraham laughed. His laughter was contiguous. Sarai, whose name was changed from "princely" to Sarah "princess" laughed too.

Genesis 18:10-12 NLT

Then one of them said, "About this time next year I will return, and your wife Sarah will have a son." Now Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent nearby. [11] And since Abraham and Sarah were both very old, and Sarah was long past the age of having children, [12] she laughed silently to herself. "How could a worn-out woman like me have a baby?" she thought. "And when my master--my husband--is also so old?" 

I love what they both said after they laughed. In Gen. 17:17, Abraham called Sarah old, and in Gen. 18:12, Sarah returned the favor.

God turned their mocking laughter into joyful laughter when He gave them a baby boy. His name? Isaac-"laughter" of course.

Water is more refreshing to those who are thirsty. Food is more satisfying to the really hungry. Don't you image Sarah had multiplied joy when she gave birth to her first son at the age of ninety?

All was well, but then God paid another visit to Abraham.

Genesis 22:1-2 NLT Later on God tested Abraham's faith and obedience. "Abraham!" God called. "Yes," he replied. "Here I am." [2] "Take your son, your only son--yes, Isaac, whom you love so much--and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will point out to you." 

Abraham who laughed at God when he announced the coming birth of his son, didn't argue. He'd learned to trust "God who provides."

Three days into the journey, Abraham left his servants with the donkeys and he and his son Isaac walked up the mountain. Curious, Isaac said, "Father?" "Yes, my son," Abraham replied. "We have the wood and the fire," said the boy, "but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?" [8] "God will provide a lamb, my son," Abraham answered. And they both went on together. (Genesis 22:7-8 NLT)

Walking up the hill, the child trusts his Daddy and his Daddy trusts his God. When they reached their destination, Abraham put his son on the altar. 

This is an amazing story. Can you imagine sacrificing your only son, like Abraham was asked to do? 

You may of noticed that I've seemed a bit melancholy the past couple of Sundays. I've had a hard time seeing my oldest son go back to his ship, knowing they are about to be deployed. It is hard enough just being separated from a son, I can't begin to imagine the pain involved in being asked to sacrifice a son like Abraham was. 

In the movie Air Force One, Harrison Ford plays a fictional President who pledges to be tough on terrorists-never to negotiate, under any circumstances. But when they took over Air Force One, and held a gun to his daughter's head, he suddenly was willing to negotiate.

I don't blame him, do you? How could a father sacrifice his child? 

Some fathers have had to do it. 

On July 21, 1936 Loyalist Spanish troops besieged the fascist fortress of ALCAZAR, a 16th- century fortress that sets atop the highest hill in Toledo Spain. The Loyalist kept a telephone hookup with Colonel Moscardo who commanded the Nationalists who held the fortress.

The Loyalists told Moscardo that they'd captured his son and they would kill him if Moscardo didn't surrender his position. Moscardo asked to speak to his son and is reported to have said this, "Put your faith in God, shout Viva Espana, and die like a Man!"

History records that Moscardo never surrendered and the siege was broken.

(http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

I can't even let my mind go there, can you? I'm afraid I'd be more like the character Harrison Ford played than like Moscardo.

Not Abraham.

Abraham raised his knife, ready to score the deathblow on his son-he was going to do it-he was going to sacrifice his son. When the angel of the Lord stopped him and provided a substitute sacrifice. Hebrews 11:17 says, "By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac; and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son;" (NASB) 

Abraham was right. God provided a lamb.

For Isaac to live, a lamb had to die.

This passage of scripture is foundational in our understanding of what Christ did for us on the cross. For two reasons. First it establishes the foundation of our understanding of a substitutionary atonement. The lamb took the place for the son. The second reason it is important is it provides a context for what Jesus did for us on the cross.

God stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son, but he could not stop Himself. For His son was "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (Rev. 13:8 KJV)

Romans 8:32 says, "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" (NASB) Several of our hymn writers have marveled at this great sacrifice. Listen as I read a few selections:

AND CAN IT BE? And can it be that I should gain An interest in the Savior's blood? Died He for me, who caused His pain? For me, who Him to death pursued? 

Amazing love! how can it be That Thou, my God shouldst die for me? REFRAIN: Amazing love! how can it be That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

ROCK OF AGES Not the labors of my hands Can fulfill Thy law's demands; Could my zeal no respite know, Could my tears forever flow, All for sin could not atone; Thou must save and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling; Naked, come to Thee for dress, Helpless, look to Thee for grace; Foul, I to the fountain fly, Wash me, Savior, or I die! 

God has provided the substitute; we must choose to accept his sacrifice on our behalf.

Paul wrote: Romans 10:9 KJV That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 

We have a choice. With the faith of Abraham, we can trust in our God who provides and believe that He raised Jesus from the dead and experience eternal life. Or we can take the deathblow upon ourselves and our children. 
 

Impact Preaching: A Case for the
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