Some phrases in Scripture are so loaded with truth that we dare not miss them. One such phrase, one that provides us with tremendous hope, is found coming from Abraham in Genesis 22.
You probably know the basic story. When Isaac was a young man, perhaps a teenager, God commanded Abraham to take Isaac, the child of promise, and sacrifice him as a burnt offering. This was a test, of course, as the Lord has never called for his people to participate in human sacrifice. And it was a significant teaching tool as well.
On the way up the mountain, when it was just father and son, Isaac noticed something was missing. They had all the necessary elements for an offering except for one thing, the victim.
Genesis 22:7-8 – 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
Isaac asks Abraham where the lamb for the offering is. Abraham responds with a profound truth, one far deeper than I would guess he understood himself. Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb.”
The story on the mountain ends with God stopping Abraham from sacrificing his son. And God clearly provided a ram for the sacrifice instead of Isaac. But the bigger truth was still to come.
The human race is a race of rebels against God. We are sinners, and our sin must be atoned for if we are to be in right relationship with our Lord. An offering must be made. A sacrificial substitute must die in our place, or we must forever die ourselves.
God provided himself a lamb. God knew that we lacked the resources and the ability to make things right between ourselves and him. We could not come up with an offering that would be enough. But God provided his own lamb. God provided the only sacrifice that could satisfy his perfect and holy wrath against sin. God provided His own Son to die in our place. God sent Jesus.