Christianity 201

January 14, 2023

The Sacrifice God Did, and Didn’t Require

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:32 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

“Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.” – Genesis 2:22 NLT

And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. – Genesis 2:28 KJV

Then Samuel said: Does the LORD take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams. – 1 Samuel 15:22 CSB

Today we’re again drawing from the inspiration of Pastor Kevin Rogers, who writes at The Orphan Age. Click the title below to read where this first appeared earlier this week.

God Pays The Impossible Price

When Abraham is asked by God to sacrifice his only son Isaac, we see a man that was following God without the advantage of the Scriptures. The nation of Israel was part of a dream that was birthed in Abraham but certainly undefined.

All he knew was that God had called him to leave his homeland and journey into the unknown where he would be blessed with more descendants than he could imagine. In fact, the story was so big that Abraham had to learn to trust the voice of God without much supporting evidence.

Child sacrifice was common practice and Abraham would certainly have a context of understanding this as a way to keep a god satisfied. It was not as far-fetched as we moderns might think.

But God took what everyone thought of as a way to please their god and set a new standard. Abraham had faith in this invisible voice that he was following and had already seen God’s power demonstrated in miraculous ways, including Isaac being born to his barren and old wife Sarah.

When Isaac unknowingly asks where the sacrifice was, Abraham replies that God will provide the sacrifice. Abraham is walking in dread and thinking about how he is going to have to kill Isaac, but he still has enough faith to believe that God is involved in this.

Was the birth of the promised son the sacrifice that God had provided? I would not want to have to think through this like Abraham did. I believe he was prepared to go all the way, and God wanted Abraham to process it fully. Was God just like the other gods or was he different somehow?

And then in the final moment, a ram is caught in the bushes and God shows Abraham that pleasing God did not require the most extreme sacrifice that a man can make. That which pleases God is restoring the broken relationship and lowering the price on what is required of us. God provides payment for the impossible price.

It was Abraham’s obedience that was being challenged, and the sacrificial ram becomes an act of gratitude and worship for God’s good nature. Abraham did not need to live under the standard of child sacrifice because it was not what God wanted. God wanted his love, not his sacrifice.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. – I Corinthians 13:3

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