There are few passages in the Bible more excruciating than Genesis’ account of the near-sacrifice of Isaac. For one chapter, we walk in the agonized footsteps of Abraham as he treks into the mountains to immolate his beloved, only son. God commanded this, and Abraham obeyed. Despite this obedience, it would be inhuman to imagine that Abraham was not beset with a grief far greater than any he had previously known.  Issac’s cry is emotionally sharp and tearing as the knife that Abraham carries: “Father!…where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

When reading this passage, it is almost impossible not to wrestle with God. The treatment of Abraham and Isaac seems to be cruel and sadistic.  Why would God miraculously give Abraham and Sarah  a child while they were far past the conceivable age of child-birth, only to command that child be killed? Why, as the scriptures put it, “test” Abraham in this way? 

As the passage continues, however, we begin to see that this is not an act of sadism, but is instead a symbol of sacrifice and blessing. At the last minute, God provides a substitute, a ram caught in a thicket, and because of Abraham’s obedience, God pronounces a blessing that in his offspring, “all of the nations (will be) blessed.” Generations later, we see Abraham’s blessing to the nations made manifest in the God-man Jesus Christ, who stands for his people as the greatest sacrifice. The ram in the thicket stood in Isaac’s place; Christ stands in ours. 

In this passage, we see that God’s faithfulness and provision extends to the absolute darkest of moments. As he was faithful to Abraham in his anguish, so he is faithful to us in the midst of our anguish.  And as Abraham was faithful to God’s commands, so we are called to be faithful to all which God calls us. 

Greater than any earthly anguish we can know is the anguish that comes on the day of judgment when an individual finds himself or herself asking, “where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”  The Bible is clear: God’s justice will be satisfied. However, because of God’s great love, those who are in Christ will not experience anguish but will instead experience a love, acceptance, and joy that eclipses all we have ever known.


Scripture: Genesis 22
Sermon: “Putting It All On The Altar”


Oh For a Thousand Songs To Sing (arr. David Crowder)
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Jesus What a Friend For Sinners  (arr. Traditional)
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Savior, Like A Shepherd Lead Us (arr. Traditional)
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We Fall Down  (arr. Chris Tomlin)
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Song of Preparation: New Wonders  (arr. Sandra McCracken)
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Song of Response: Love Constraining to Obedience (arr. Shane Martin)
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Written by : uptownworship


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