When the biblical character of Abraham is mentioned, perhaps several events come to one’s mind. For example:
- his leaving Ur of the Chaldees to head for the land of Canaan;
- God’s subsequent promise to him that through him all the families of the earth would be blessed;
- his meekness in granting Lot first choice with regard to the division of the land;
- his courage in leading his armed servants against Chedorlaomer and neighbouring nations;
- the cutting of the covenant whereby he was assured of the promise of a son, of a land, of a people;
- his believing God and being counted righteous;
- his obedience to God’s Word to undergo and to implement the rite of circumcision;
- his hospitality toward the good-news-bearing heavenly host;
- his interceding for the righteous of Sodom and Gomorrah;
- his failure to tell the truth with regard to Sarah—on two occasions;
- his fathering a child at the age of 100;
- his triumph before Abimelech with regard to his testimony, as well as with regard to a piece of territory—specifically with reference to the well which he had dug.
We also might immediately associate certain places with Abraham: Ur, Canaan, Bethel, Hebron, Egypt, Philistia, Sodom, and Beersheba.
In these events and at these places we see both Abraham’s fallen humanity as well as his godly humility as he obeys God because he, by grace, has come to believe God. Truly, we are justified in concluding that, apart from Jesus Christ, there is probably no other person in history that so emulated a God-pleasing faith walk than Abraham.
Now, having said all of this, there is one event and one place which I have not mentioned, and no doubt this particular episode in the life of Abraham was the most faith-stretching experience of his forty-some years as a justified believer. I am speaking, of course, of what we have just read: Abraham’s commitment to offer up Isaac as a burnt offering to God. It was at Mount Moriah where Abraham rose to the pinnacle of his life of faith.
I would invite your attention to a journey to Mount Moriah as I seek to lead us through a relevant, applicable exposition of the text. It is an amazing story in which we learn that, regardless of the need he or she faces in his or her walk with Christ, the obedient believer can rely on the fact that, in the end, God will see to it.
Abraham the Father
Abraham has settled down somewhat in the southern region of Palestine, specifically in an area named Beersheba, which means “the place of the oath” or “the place of seven” (see 21:28-32). I would imagine that he and his household have enjoyed some respite from the recent challenges of the faith life, and that Abraham and Sarah have enjoyed watching Isaac grow into a fine young man. As we turn the page to Genesis 22, Isaac is at least 17, and some would suggest that he may even be between 25 and 34 years old. Regardless, he has brought, and continues to bring, laughter—in fulfilment of his name—to his parents. Yes, every once in a while Abraham feels the pangs of loss as he remembers Ishmael, and he no doubt wonders what has become of him. But as God faithfully fulfils His promises to Abraham (17:20; 21:12-13), he is no doubt filled with joy and contentment upon hearing of Ishmael’s exploits and fame. He had two sons of which he could be proud. But as we saw last week, this was the calm before the storm:
And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
One day, perhaps while Abraham is alone contemplating these blessings and meditating upon God’s goodness, the silence is broken by God’s thunderous call, “Abraham!” He responds immediately, with the same willing and submissive heart that has characterised him for the past forty years, “Behold, here I am.” One wonders what he thought. “Ah, it is God’s voice again. Perhaps He wants to make an additional promise to me, or to reaffirm one already made. Or perhaps He has another place to which He desires us to move. Whatever the case I have come to realise that God is unchanging in His grace, kindness and faithfulness and thus I am willing and ready to listen. Surely El-Olam, the everlasting God has a blessed revelation for me.”
Now, as we read the account, we are privy to words that form the preamble to this revelation from God; words of which Abraham was, at that point, clueless: “God did tempt [test] Abraham.” In other words, when Abraham heard the address from God and thus responded heartily, he had no idea of what he was getting into. And when God did reveal His command, Abraham doubtless would have been devastated.
It should be noted that this passage at no time reveals the inner feeling of Abraham, Isaac, or Sarah. And, as has been observed by several commentators, this passage is minimalist in its details, and deliberately so. I would suggest that there are at least two reasons for this.
First, the silence enables us to fill in the details. The absence of description of the emotions and thinking processes of the characters involved enables us to flesh out the scene as we place ourselves in the sandals of these individuals. The result, of course, is that if we take the time to do so, we will empathise with the scene and will experience the deep sorrow as well as the ecstatic joy as the story climaxes with God’s wonderful intervention. In a very real sense, the story thus becomes our own.
But secondly, and I believe more importantly, the absence of emotional detail is probably due to the fact that, ultimately, this story is designed to highlight the faithfulness of God, not the emotional heartache of sinful man. Though feelings and emotions are God’s created gifts to us, ultimately we are not called to live by or on emotions, but to believe and love God enough to obey His Word, regardless of how we feel about what He tells us to do.
In sum, as we meditate upon this scene, let us be careful on the one hand that we do not sanitise it of all human sympathies and, on the other, let us not lose sight of its God-centeredness by over-sentimentalising it. In other words, this account is not about how a father felt about his son, but how a father believed his God. Let’s get back to the story.
God commands Abraham to take his son—and he emphasises “thine only son”—and offer him as a burnt offering on Mount Moriah, a location that will require a three-day journey.
Though it is true that Abraham had two sons, only one was left with him, and that was the promised son. Truly Isaac was the only son with whom Abraham had a relationship. God, in His all-wise providence, had removed Ishmael from the scene and thus Abraham would neither need to make a painful decision between the two, nor would the home be further divided by sibling jealousy after these events had come to pass. Had both sons still been with Abraham, and had God merely told him to offer one of the two, and had Abraham then chosen to offer Ishmael instead of Isaac, Ishmael would doubtless have been highly upset. On the other hand, he would probably have been equally upset by the grace shown to Isaac in the end. In any event, the emphasis upon “thine only son” is designed primarily to highlight the enormity of the sacrifice required.
It is vital that we grasp the historical details of this passage to enter into its full thrust. The grisly picture that would have consumed Abraham’s thoughts upon being told to offer Isaac as a burnt offering to God would have horrified him. Leviticus 1:4-14 would later inscripturate the process that would have largely been in his mind at this time. One need only consider the scene of another burnt offering in which Abraham was a participant, that of 15:8-17. In that burnt offering, Abraham slaughtered animals and then divided them in half before God’s fire came down between them and (presumably) consumed the pieces.
Can we even imagine the horror that must have engulfed Abraham’s thoughts? God’s command was for him to slaughter his son—that is, to slit his throat—to divide him into parts with the knife and then to burn him on an altar ablaze with fire. And this was to be done as an act of worship (22:5)! And thus, this commandment would have been received with gut-wrenching emotion. But it would also have been received, perhaps, with a feeling of devastation with regard to Abraham’s theology.
We should reflect upon the fact that human sacrifices were not unknown among the surrounding nations in which Abraham sojourned, nor were they unknown in the region of Ur, from which Abraham had been called by Yahweh to leave. Abraham was well aware of the rite, one that was practiced in worship of false gods. Thus, imagine what might have been his spiritual struggle at this point. Perhaps he thought, “This makes absolutely no sense! I have grown in my understanding of Yahweh to revere Him as the Most High God, the Everlasting God, sovereign Master of all. I have learned that He is the all powerful God, holy, righteous, wise, loving and kind. This whole command seems absolutely out of character.”
I would think that this may have been his temptation, but there may well have been an accompanying temptation: to doubt God’s faithfulness. For, after all, did not God promise that through Isaac the Seed would come? Why then would God issue this command to him? “How can Isaac be sacrificed and cremated if it is to be through him that God’s promises will be fulfilled?” Indeed, perhaps he went through a period, albeit a brief period, of mental and spiritual devastation as he heard these words. As R. Kent Hughes notes, “God was asking him to act against common sense, his natural affections, and his lifelong hope.”
Let me pause at this point to ask if you can relate somewhat to this sense of devastation, to the occasions of spiritual confusion with regard to God’s mysterious dealings with you? Perhaps all has been calm as you have been learning truth about God, and then one day the hammer falls and you find yourself tempted to ask, “Is God really good after all?”
Perhaps you have prayed long and hard for the safety and health of your children. Then, one day, your children are attacked, or they fall ill, and die. “Is God really good after all?” I recently read of a church close by our own that lost its pastor in a violent crime. Doubtless, that church prayed much for God’s protection upon their pastor, and yet God allowed his life to be taken. How will this church come to grips with such a tragedy?
Whatever the particulars, I believe that we can all relate, in some way, to this scene: we have all experienced tests that are emotionally and theologically draining. And let’s be honest: these mysterious reversals of our circumstances often just do not make any sense to our finite minds. How will we respond? Let’s continue and see how Abraham responded. From his response, we can learn much from him about how to handle God’s mysterious ways in our own lives.
Abraham the Faithful
The call having been issued to Abraham, we now see his faithful response to God:
And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, 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: so they went both of them together. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
Genesis 22:3 highlights Abraham’s response and it is simply one of obedience. It was an initial and continual and unflinching obedience, “And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.” Let’s follow the steps of his faithful path.
Early in the morning, he gathered all that was necessary to fulfil God’s command, and unhesitatingly set out for the designated place upon which he would fully obey the Lord.
After three days—doubtless the longest, most gruelling three days of his life—he and his company came to the foothills of the exact place where the sacrifice would be made. Upon reaching this spot, perhaps too steep for the donkey to climb, Abraham loaded Isaac with the wood for the fire upon which he would be offered. I find the repeated mention of the wood in this passage significant (22:3, 5). Abraham was fully prepared to fulfil God’s commandment. He did not know if wood would be available to him upon Mount Moriah, and he would leave no room for excuse to fail to fully comply with God’s command. His commitment was of the highest order; unlike us, who so often look for excuses to not fully obey God.
Before beginning the final ascent to the place of sacrifice, Abraham instructs his servants to remain behind with the donkey and informs them that, upon the completion of the act of worship, they would both (“I and the lad”—boy) return to them.
Now, two significant issues must be addressed here. First, note that this is the first mention of the English word “worship” in Scripture. The practice of worship has certainly occurred in the preceding 21 chapters of Genesis, but here we find the specific mention of this word for the first time. The word means simply, “to bow.” In the context of the worship of God, it means to bow to His Person, His authority and thus to His will. Clearly, this is exactly what Abraham was doing, as was Isaac.
Now Abraham could just as easily have said that they were going to go and sacrifice to God; this would have been accurate. Why, then, didn’t he say this?
Perhaps he chose to describe this act as “worship” because he did not want to raise the uncomfortable issue of what they would be sacrificing, since at this point Isaac did not know. He certainly would not wish to divulge this information in such a public setting: it was a private matter that could only be discussed one on one with his son, the subject of the sacrifice.
But perhaps there was a deeper underlying reason: perhaps Abraham used the word “worship” because that is exactly how he assessed his action. God had spoken, and he would bow. And even though it would prove to be extremely painful, he would obey in a spirit of worship.
May I take this opportunity to say that this must be our attitude when God calls upon us to sacrifice unto Him. Let us rightly assess this call to sacrifice for what it is: an opportunity to hallow God’s name by bowing to His sovereign, all wise, all loving will. I recently spoke to an American missionary in Zambia, who told me that, when he is on furlough in the United States, people are always commenting that they appreciate his sacrifice. He admitted that he sometimes wonders, “What sacrifice?” He understands that obedience to God’s will is no great sacrifice for the believer. Indeed, we ought to submit to God’s will without much thought at all for what it will cost us, for He alone is worthy of our worship.
Now, the second major issue that is raised in this verse (22:5) is actually the issue of the passage; that is, Abraham’s faith-filled statement that he and the lad would return to them. This was no sly use of words, but rather, the sure conviction of Abraham. And we know this because the New Testament records his mental state at this time, “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son. Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead” (Hebrews 11:17-19).
Please consider the enormity of this faith. Abraham fully anticipated that Isaac would be sacrificed. Let’s be specific: Abraham expected that Isaac would be slain, dismembered and then cremated, and that he would then be resurrected and restored whole! Wow!
Let me just mention at this point that this in no way minimises the heartache that Abraham would have been experiencing. He was still labouring under the realisation that he would need to explain this to his son. He would be called upon to place the life-snatching blade of the knife to his son’s throat and then to dismember him before lighting the fuel that would engulf and burn the body to ashes. The pain, in spite of and alongside his faith, was very real.
And as you well know, so it is with us. As you say goodbye to your dying loved ones, your heart aches even as you claim the truth of a future resurrection. Perhaps you have lost your job and even though you have no doubt about Philippians 4:19—“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”—your heart still aches. Perhaps you have been wounded in a relationship. The pain is piercingly real, even though you believe the undeniable truth that God’s grace is sufficient.
I think of missionaries and their families as they weep at the airport, saying their goodbyes. They have no doubt that God has called them to go, and they trust Him for a fruitful, kingdom-expanding ministry all the while their hearts bleed with the sorrow of the impending separation. You can fill in the blanks with your own faith challenges. Yes, faith in God is often accompanied by pain. To be faithful can at times also be painful. Is not our Lord Jesus Christ the ultimate example of this? Yet He “endured the cross, despising the shame” because of “the joy that was set before him” (Hebrews 12:1-2). The faithful Christian pilgrimage will indeed lead you successfully to heaven, albeit with blisters along the way.
Now, as the story progresses in 21:7-8, we come to what scholars identify as the focus of the account. “The conclusion can be drawn…that the apex of the account is located in verses 7 and 8… These verses are the pivotal point, or the centre…around which the story revolves.”
In this scene, we read of Isaac’s question and Abraham’s silence after he answers with faith probably coupled with uncertainty. One commentator says that this central passage is “the most poignant and eloquent silence in all of literature.” Let’s look and listen closely as we accompany these two to their God-appointed place of worship:
And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, 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: so they went both of them together.
Perhaps after several minutes or hours, Isaac breaks the silence with a question that arises from curiosity, or from fear and suspicion. But before listening to the question, listen to the tenderness that is apparent here. “My father…” What piercing words these must have been to Abraham at this time! This form of address speaks of complete trust in the love and care of one’s father. “My father…” Let those words ring in your ears: “My father, the one who has protected me, provided for me, cared for me.” And how did Abraham feel? Perhaps he thought, “I who have cared for my son, I who have earned the trust of my son, I will soon put a knife to his throat! Perhaps he wanted to shout out, “Isaac, please just trust me!”
I cannot sympathise entirely with what Abraham went through that day, and I doubt very much that anyone reading this can. The closest I have come to understanding his emotions was the day that our family said goodbye to a little 6-year-old girl whom we had been fostering for several months. She had come to call me “Daddy,” and we had grown to love her dearly. As the day drew near in which we were set to send her away to be with what she called her “forever family,” I decided to write a letter to her, to remind her that I loved her and that I would always pray for her. When I came to the end of the letter, I began weeping. I went to find my wife, and asked her, “How do I sign this letter?” Should I sign it as she knew me: “Daddy”? Or should I perhaps rather use the title, “Uncle Doug”? Could I honestly sign it “Daddy” when we were sending her away? If those were the emotions I felt when sending a little girl, who had only been with us a few months, to a better situation, I can barely imagine what Abraham must have felt as he walked with Isaac up the mountain.
Perhaps after a pause, Abraham answers wisely, calmly and yet with a choked voice, “As always, my son, I am here for you.” Isaac asks the natural question, “Father, we have all that we need for the burnt offering, except for the thing to be offered: from where will this lamb come?” You see, Isaac had been taught about worship since he was old enough to learn. He understood that a sacrifice must involve a lamb, one without blemish. He understood that God required blood in order to come into His presence and I have no doubt that he understood clearly that these sacrifices all pointed to the eventual Seed, Messiah whom God had promised. How often must his faithful father have told him of the saving grace of God as mediated through His Seed, His Son! Isaac got it and thus his confusion, “Where is the type of the Lamb of God which will one day come, through whom all the nations will be blessed? How can we possibly enter into worship apart from the blood of a lamb?” He knew that without the shedding of blood there could be no remission of sins. He knew that without atonement there could be no acceptable worship.
Abraham’s answer was perhaps premeditated and now it flows freely, “My son, don’t worry about it—God has a plan. He has seen the need to supply what He has commanded, and He will provide. He will see to it.” No doubt Abraham said these words as both an answer to Isaac’s question as well as a prayer breathed to God.
One wonders how Isaac would have received this word. We have no way of knowing for sure. Perhaps he had suspicions of what lay ahead, perhaps he simply rested in what his father had said. All we know is that the scene indicates a time of silence after Abraham’s reply. Perhaps this silence, no matter how brief, seemed like an eternity. The text tells us merely, “So they went both of them together.” Indeed the silent scene is poignant with meaning.
At some point as they journeyed, perhaps only upon their arrival to the exact spot, Abraham revealed the full answer to Isaac’s question. He in fact was to be the “lamb for the slaughter.” The scene as depicted by 22:9-10 is remarkable, as there is complete willingness on the part of Isaac to be offered to God in this way; and there is the complete willingness of Abraham to do what God had commanded. No doubt Abraham’s trust in God was contagious, and Isaac had, through many years of observing, caught the faith of his father.
Perhaps with a choking voice, and tear-blurred eyes, Abraham told Isaac that all would be well, that though he would die, yet he would live again. Abraham would have reminded Isaac that God’s declared purpose depended on Isaac surviving this ordeal. “God will see to it,” he doubtless assured him.
Abraham the Fearful
The story draws to a dramatic close in the verses that follow:
And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.
Abraham is intent on fully obeying God and thus he unsheathes his knife. Then, as he begins to bring the knife to his son’s throat, the angel of the Lord calls to him and commands him to lay aside the knife, for the test is over. He did not need to be told twice! He had passed with flying colours; his reverence, his loyalty to God, had been weighed and found genuine.
As much as Abraham may have feared living without his son, as much as he might have feared harming his relationship with his son, or bringing angst into his family, or becoming misunderstood and shunned by his community, he feared God above all. He feared, above all other fears, not trusting in God. He feared disobeying the Everlasting God.
At about this time, Abraham hears a rustling among the scrub brush of Moriah. He looks and sees the substitute sacrifice that God has provided in the stead of his son Isaac. With great joy, Abraham takes pleasure in slaughtering the animal and offering it as the burnt offering to the Lord. And God was indeed satisfied with the substitute. God had provided the lamb in the place of a sinful man. And while Abraham could not have been happier, I would imagine that there was great joy in heaven as well, for God’s name had been hallowed on this piece of earth.
It is often debated whether the ram had been there all along or whether God miraculously provided it in the nick of time. I would suggest that it was both. No doubt, the ram had already been there in that region, but at the right moment, the Good Shepherd led it to where Abraham needed it to be. I often imagine this possible scene. As Abraham and Isaac trek up one side of the mountain, the ram—driven by God—begins to ascend from the other side. As Isaac asks Abraham about the whereabouts of the lamb to be sacrificed, this ram is just around the bend of the mountain. Once the time was right, the Lord sent it out of hiding and right beside the altar. Indeed, the lamb had been provided by Jehovah-Jireh. And thus Abraham gave to this very place that very designation. His fear of God had increased his wisdom concerning the character of God.
The word “provide,” while speaking of supply, also has the idea behind it of “to see.” Thus, when we speak of the providence of God, we are referring to the fact that God sees our need (the need that is or the need that will be in our future) and that He provides in time for it. In fact, before the time! In other words, the doctrine of God’s providence, the meaning of Jehovah-Jireh, is the comforting truth that regardless of what His people will face, God has already seen to it! Whatever difficulties we will face, God will see to it. In fact, He already has!
Verse fourteen is very illuminating with reference to this name and doctrine of God. Some 600 years later, as Moses recounted this story, he noted that the area of Mount Moriah was still being identified by the theology of Jehovah-Jireh. That is, this mountaintop was still shrouded with the fame of being the place where God “saw” and “provided,” and more importantly, it was the exact place at which God continued to “see” and where one day He would “provide.” Provide what? He would provide a place for sacrifices to make worship possible and acceptable; to make relationship with Himself possible.
You see, this Mount Moriah is better known to us by the name “Jerusalem,” and specifically, it was the very spot where David would later plan for the construction of the temple, which would be built by his son Solomon. It was thus upon Mount Moriah that God would meet with the nation of Israel in a unique way. It represented the very presence of God, His presence which could only be experienced by the blood of bulls, goats and lambs. This temple would stand for hundreds of years as the place where Israel could take solace that whatever their predicament, their God, Jehovah-Jireh, would see to it. He would accept them on the basis of the blood of the Passover lambs and He would see to all of their needs. But underlying all of this is the fact that eventually at this very place, God would “see to it” that the One, all sufficient sacrifice would one day be offered and accepted by God. For Mount Moriah also encompassed the area which would later be given the name Golgotha, or Mount Calvary.
It was thus on this very spot in which the Lord Jesus Christ would one day be offered as a Lamb, without spot or blemish, to God. He would be the Substitute for all of the Isaacs, the chosen seed which God had foreordained to save. And just as God was satisfied with the ram being offered in Isaac’s stead, so—infinitely more so—He would be satisfied with the substitutionary sacrifice of His Son for the sins of the world. Abraham was profoundly correct: God would provide Himself, the Lamb. Praise God that He did!
Do you suppose that this was what Jesus meant in John 8:56, when He proclaimed, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad”? Very possibly. It is highly likely that Abraham was well aware of why Isaac must be raised from the dead, for it was through Isaac that Messiah would finally come, and then die, and then be raised from the dead. And thus as Abraham, in a very real sense, looked to Christ alone, he knew that God would be faithful to His promise concerning Isaac. He knew that God would “see to it” and ensure that through Isaac Christ would come. Thus, when commanded to sacrifice Isaac, he could do it without hesitation, knowing that Isaac must live again so that Christ could come and die and then also live again. In light of this gospel understanding it is no wonder that Abraham rejoiced on Mount Moriah! Praise Jehovah-Jireh: God saw to it and He would continue to see to it until one day He would see the travail of the soul of His Son and be forever satisfied with the atoning sacrifice of His provided Lamb!
Now as we bring this study to a close, I want to highlight some essential points of application.
First, let us learn from this historical story to be encouraged that, indeed “God will see to it.” Hence, when He commands us to some course of action, let us just do it. God will never lay on us more than we can bear; He knows the end from the beginning; He has already made a plan for our journey to Moriah. Thus, do not fear leaving Beersheba, for you will return with more than you know! Above all, you will return with a greater knowledge of He who is indeed El-Olam, our everlasting, enduring God.
Second, let us learn from this that “God will see to it” in our lives because of the gospel. Now please understand that the comfort previously given is not for everyone. It is only for those who, like Abraham, rejoice because of the day of Christ. It is for those who rejoice that Christ did come to earth, and that He did die for our sins. It is for those who can say with Spirit wrought confidence, “Christ Jesus died for me,” and, “Christ rose for my justification.” If you can “amen” that good news then be encouraged that “God will see to it” in your life!
God will see to it, among other things, that He completes the work that He began in you (Philippians 1:6). And what is the work that He began and will complete? The work of salvation:
- Ephesians 1:3-4—“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”
- 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24—“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”
- Romans 8:28-30—“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
- Romans 8:34-39—“Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Let us not lose sight of the plotline as we interact with this heart wrenching and glorious story. This incident is recorded to teach us that God will accomplish His purpose of having a world filled with those who will hallow His name. God will see to it that all of the nations will indeed be blessed! What God purposes, He fulfils. Indeed whatever must be done, whatever must be provided, He will see to it!
Finally, let us learn that “God will see to it” because God is love. This famous story captures our attention and our affection for several reasons, but probably the most compelling attraction is due to its parallel, its antitype: the cross of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, whom God offered—as His only Son—that we, like Isaac, could be set free.
Just as Isaac carried the wood on which he would be sacrificed, so Jesus carried His own cross (John 19:17). Just as Isaac willingly submitted to his father and the will of God, so Jesus laid down His life. And just as Isaac trusted God as he was about to be sacrificed, so Jesus entrusted Himself to the Father as He gave up the ghost, trusting the Father to raise Him from the dead. Just as Abraham accompanied his son and offered him up, so the Father freely, lovingly gave His only begotten Son. Yes, indeed, God did provide Himself (as) the Lamb. He saw to it that it would happen, and it did.
Beloved, this is the scarlet thread that runs through the Bible: this good news of what God has done for us in Christ Jesus. Do you know this truth personally?
Believer, let us look to our Everlasting God who loves us with an everlasting love, and may we respond to our trials with loving confidence, that indeed as hopeless as the heartache seems, in the end, “God will see to it.”