And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
Here God puts Abraham to the test. In the past Abraham has relied on his flesh for deliverance instead of trusting in God’s provision. Here God tests Abraham to see if his hope is found in God or Isaac. Will He trust God for his salvation? Will he place his hope in his son, Isaac? Abraham immediately obeys God and takes Isaac to sacrifice him. Remember that this is not just the sacrifice of his son. This is the sacrifice of the only hope for the human race. It is through Isaac that the Seed of the woman will come.
Isaac wonders about the sacrifice, and Abraham trusts that God will provide a sacrifice. We read in Hebrews that Abraham believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead after he sacrificed him. Abraham’s entire hope was in God’s deliverance from death, not the arm of flesh.
And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
Just as Abraham is about to kill his son, God stops him. God now expresses that this was a test and Abraham showed that he trusted in God, not his son, for deliverance.
And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.
Abraham now sees that God has provided a ram for a substitute sacrifice in Isaac’s place. He offers the ram and calls the place “Jehovah-jireh,” or “the Lord will provide.”
And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
God confirms His covenant with Abraham once again because of Abraham’s faith that resulted in unquestioning obedience.
This passage obviously points to the coming of a Messiah who will die at the hand of His Father. Like the ram, He will die in our place so that we might live like Isaac. Just as Abraham believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead, so God will raise His Son from the dead. Like Abraham we must have faith in God: a faith that results in obedience.