I can’t imagine being asked to give my son for sacrifice. What is our reaction to the story in Genesis 22 when the LORD calls on Abraham commanding him, “Take your only son, whom you love, and give him as a sacrifice.”
Often we ask, “How God can be so barbaric?” Sacrificing children to appease the gods and ensure prosperity was common then and remained common until modern history. Yet we often miss how children are sacrificed today for the prosperity and contentment of adults (human trafficking, abortion, parental neglect, and sexual abuse). We can miss the barbarism of our own age.
Abraham takes two servants and a donkey laden with wood for the execution. As they arrive to the sacrificial spot the wood is laid on the shoulder of the son Isaac as Abraham carries the fire and the knife. The Son asks the painful question, “Where is the lamb for the offering?”
The old man Abraham binds his strong young son? Isaac lets himself be offered. Can we imagine the heart ache of that moment? How can Abraham even look at his one and only son whom he loves?
The LORD intercedes. “Stop Abraham!” “I know you revere and trust me to even give your son for me.” The LORD makes clear repeatedly that he forbids human sacrifice to appease him or curry favor.
The LORD provides a lamb. For all the sin and hurt and utter darkness of this world the Heavenly Father gives Jesus Christ, his one and only Son whom he loves. The Son carries the wood of his execution to the site of his sacrifice, Golgotha. The Father gives the Lamb of God to cover and wash away the sin of the world. He does not withhold his own son (Rom 8:32)
As you contemplate these days of Good Friday, Holy Saturday and the Sunday of the Resurrection we rejoice that the LORD who gives himself for you!
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord / the Rock of our salvation. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. – Psalm 95:1 & 3