Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. Genesis 22:8There are a lot of poems and cute sayings about dogs that make the rounds. Two of them that tug on your heartstrings come to mind. One tells us that God had used up all the names for the animals so he used his name spelled backwards for the doggies. Another says that when we needed a hand, God sent a paw.
God is good at sending things to us. He provides and meets our every need according to his riches in glory (Philippians 4:19). Isaiah 65:24 tells us, “It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.”
In Genesis 22, God tells Abraham to take his only son and go to the region of Moriah and to offer him as a burnt offering. God had promised Abraham his son, Isaac and descendants as plentiful as the stars in the sky and the sand on the shore. Now he was telling him to sacrifice this promised, beloved son. Abraham gathered up everything he needed and obeyed.
Isaac questioned his father as to what they were going to sacrifice and Abraham told him that God would provide the lamb. I can’t help but think Isaac wasn’t too calm while he was being tied up on an altar while his father raised the knife. The bible doesn’t tell us too much about the emotions of this father son duo in Genesis but when he lifted the knife to kill his son, the angel of the LORD called from heaven in the nick of time. He was told to stop as God now knew that Abraham would not withhold his son. He looked and a ram was stuck in the bushes. God had provided a ram for the sacrifice as promised. The dictionary says that the word sheep can cover a ram or a lamb.
In Numbers 15:11, God gives instructions on preparing sacrifices. The NIV says, “Each bull or ram, each lamb or young goat, is to be prepared in this manner.” Each animal was prepared in a way pleasing to God and had grain and wine along with it. The scapegoat was not offered on the altar. The scapegoat was a animal that the priest had laid his hands on and put the sins of the nation onto the goat. It was then driven out of the community and into the desert to die carrying all the sin with it.
In the story of Abraham and Isaac we see the similarity to Jesus as God sacrificed his only, beloved son. In Leviticus, the scapegoat is first mentioned. It also shows a portrait of Jesus carrying the sins of the world and sent to die alone outside the camp. Our salvation through Jesus’ death and resurrection was not a new idea to God. It had been planned from the beginning of the world.
God loves you and wants to be with you. Leviticus 16:30 says, “For on this day shall atonement be made for you to cleanse you. You shall be clean before the Lord from all your sins.” Cleansing and purification is required for us to be acceptable to a Holy God. He wants us to come before the Lord. He wants to be with you and involved in every part of your life. He wants you “before” Him. He wants it so much that he provided the way to enter his presence. He gave his one and only son to carry your sins to the cross and shed his blood for your cleansing and forgiveness.
Now you can enter the presence of the LORD. He loves you and wants to fellowship with you. “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise, give thanks to him and praise his name.” (Psalm 100:4) Shout for joy because God has provided a lamb. A perfect spotless lamb for you and me.