Scripture: He said, “Take 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.” Genesis 22:2 ESV
Observation: After releasing Ishmael to the Lord, Abraham again settles a conflict with Abimelech, this time over a well that Abimelech’s servants had seized from Abraham’s herders. Satisfied with the accord, Abraham plants a tree, names the well Beersheba (meaning “well of oath”), and calls on the name of the “The Everlasting God” (21:33). The Lord then tests Abraham by instructing him to go to Mount Moriah and sacrifice his only son, who was to be the means of fulfilling their covenant. Without delay or discussion with Sarah, Abraham sets off with Isaac, two servants, and accouterments. Drawing near their destination, Abraham leaves his servants behind and continues with his son. Along the way, Isaac innocently inquires where the lamb is for the sacrifice, and Abraham replies that “God will provide for himself the lamb” (22:8). Reaching the designated site, Abraham builds an altar, straps Isaac to it, and draws his knife to slaughter his son, but God indeed provides the substitute with a ram caught in the thickets (Genesis 22:13).
Takeaway: Rich in biblical history, Mount Moriah symbolizes the place where God calls his people to offer their best. For Abraham, it was his one and only son of the covenant promise. For King David, it was a substitute animal sacrifice at Araunah’s threshing floor to end the nation’s suffering (a plague caused by David conducting a census in violation of Mosaic law, 2 Samuel 24:18-25). Then, commemorating the significance of Mount Moriah, Solomon constructs the Temple of the Lord on this sacred ground (2 Chronicles 3:1), where the priesthood would continue to offer animal sacrifices to the Lord to atone for the nation’s sins. Finally, a millennium later, on this same mount, the roles would turn. The Father would demonstrate his extravagant love for us at an unfathomable cost by providing a final and complete sacrifice for our sins. Unlike Abraham or David, there would be no substitute. Instead, his Son would become our sacrifice.
So how do we respond to our loving Father offering his Best to us? We offer our best to him: our lives—our dreams, hopes, our treasured possessions. For all that we possess comes from him and rightfully belongs to him. Easier said than done? Yep! But if we tap into our Lord’s grace and cooperate with his Holy Spirit, who will foster trust and perspective in us, we will learn to look beyond what our Lord asks of us with humility and gratitude for how he sacrificed his Son for us. And we will grow in trust that our Giver of good gifts will fill the void with something much better: more of him!
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for giving us your best in the life of your Son. Would you please help us to respond with gratitude, humility, and trust in your goodness that we might offer our best to you for your glory? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling