A Substitute Provided
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
Put yourself in Isaac’s shoes for a minute. You carry wood on your back, up a mountain, for a sacrifice to God. When you get to the place for the sacrifice, your dad builds an altar, arranges the wood on it, and then starts tying you up. Suddenly you realize that you are the sacrifice. All your hopes and dreams, all your plans for later that day, that week, the coming years are all over. You are going to die. Today. Now. Take a second and really imagine yourself in that position.
Bound and laying on top of the wood, no one around to hear a plea for help as your dad lifts the knife above you. Then, right before his had drops, one second before your blood is spilled, God speaks out and spares you. Then, moments later, shaken up and feeling relieved beyond words, you look on as a ram is sacrificed in your place. Staring in silence, you watch smoke rise from the burning flesh of the ram as it turns to black. You think, "That could have been me."
We are Isaac. We all are Isaac. Destined to die for our sins, bound and lying on the wood. And God, who is rich in mercy and who desires that none should perish provided a substitute, his son. We look on at the cross. Some reject it and walk away while others choose to draw near, to receive mercy and grace, to bow and worship.
Worship God for providing a sacrifice in our place. Meditate on his incredible love and grace.
God, thank you for Jesus! Thank you for the gift of your son who took on himself all the punishment I deserved so that I might live instead. Reveal to me the beauty of the cross and the greatness of your love. Forgive me for times I’ve felt entitled or taken your grace for granted. Today I choose to stand in awe and worship. Amen.