Abraham came to know the fear of the Lord when he was called to sacrifice his one and only son. He counted the cost, gathered the materials and journeyed to Mount Moriah. Genesis tells us that he worshipped God on the mountain. In this three-day event Abraham and Isaac had to embody (in a minute way) the very being of God. Abraham would have felt the deep loss and abyss of his son before they ever reached the mountain. On the other hand, Isaac would have experienced a deep sense of rejection and forsakenness as he lay bound to the altar starring at his father’s knife. He totally trusted his father, but now his father had turned on him—or so it would have seemed.
Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” (Genesis 22:10-12)
The fact that Abraham feared God was revealed in this act. Abraham’s fear of God was seen in the embodiment of what God himself experienced (in himself) before the creation of the world. In this passage, Abraham and Isaac are given the privilege of fellowshipping in God’s own sufferings. Later on God is named the “Fear of Isaac”—a very appropriate title that probably had its foundation in this event (Gen. 31:42, 53). There is no way that Abraham or Isaac would have been able to deny the Messiah (if they were present during his ministry) because they themselves lived through his death and resurrection. Neither can we deny the Messiah if we have been called into his fellowship.
The story of Abraham and Isaac ends with a glorious substitution. It is not the sacrifice of Isaac’s flesh that was God’s provision; rather it was the sacrifice of the Father’s one and only Son, Jesus. Isaac and Abraham were saved by the substitute—the ram caught by its horns in the thicket. Clearly this is a foreshadowing of the greatest event of history—planned in heaven before time began, but manifested on earth in the fullness of time.
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” (Genesis 22:13-14, NIV)
Before time began the Lord had a plan. On the “mountain” of his heavenly glory the Father with fear and trembling provided his Son, Jesus. In the same way, on another mount, the Mount of Olives, Jesus willingly gave his life for his Father and all creation (Luke 22:39-46). It is surely true that “on the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” In Gethsemane, what God preordained in heaven encountered acceptance on earth through Christ. When Jesus said, “Not my will, but yours be done,” heaven and earth came into agreement, and the veil between the two was torn. God’s original intent for creation, lost through Adam’s sin, began to be restored through Jesus’ obedience: heaven and earth married together in Christ and under his Lordship.
Prayer: Father, you gave your one and only son Jesus for me. Abraham and Isaac were just a shadow of a far greater glory: the sacrifice of Christ. You have provided for me a sacrifice to save my life. And now I want to give you my life. I say with Jesus, “Not my will, but yours be done.” I say this with fear and trembling, but I still say it. I know that your plans are better for me than anything I can conjure up.