“THAT’S UTTERLY BARBARIC! HOW COULD A LOVING GOD POSSIBLY ALLOW SUCH A THING TO HAPPEN?!?”
That’s the net result of a very angry listener at a professor’s lecture while slowly explaining the crucifixion in our Gospel message, to which the instructor basically replied…
“You’re absolutely right. It’s utterly barbaric. That’s precisely how God feels about sin, so much so that He must do the responsible thing, and deal with it.”
That’s also the end result of what I had to deal with for the first few times I saw this, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, who thou lovest…for a burnt offering…” Now those are obviously not the exact words, but that’s about how I read it the first time. I had to stop and read it again before going on. I won’t repeat my reaction out loud, but “Simply unconscionable,” was what I meant.
Without going through the history, we know quite a bit from the start about the LORD, about Abraham, about Isaac, and the world culture of that time. What I didn’t know until later is that “the law of Moses” has its origin in the same place world history does, and that’s Genesis 3. And I mean all of it, from “The Law” to manufacturing and real estate development to espionage and human trafficking, all of it finds its origin right there. One such item that finds its way into this marked passage in ch. 22 is this thing we will later call a “sacrifice.”
Oddly enough, that word doesn’t appear until Exodus. Here, it’s called an “offering,” six times in this one passage alone. That alone will preach.
Factor in the other clues to this mystery, such as the first mention of the word “love,”
the mention of this phrase twice “…they went both of them together…”
the answer Isaac got from Abraham “…my son, God will provide Himself a Lamb…”
and remember, this is more than Abraham talking to a young boy, this is two men walking in unison, in the original Hebrew.
There’s much more than this. But the basic point I needed back then was simply this, and this applies more to me now than then.
“There comes the time in our walking with the Lord when we recognize that with each passing day He finds some new way to reveal my trust in Him.”