THE LAMB ON MOUNT MORIAH
Genesis 22:1-14 (NKJV)
Abraham’s Faith Confirmed
1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”
6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”
And he said, “Here I am, my son.”
Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.
9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”
So he said, “Here I am.”
12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
There are several places in the Bible that I would describe as holy ground. This chapter is one of those places. In fact, there is too much good stuff here to even hope to get it all preached in one message. Therefore, I want to look into these verses this morning and try to catch a glimpse of the Lamb.
Today, I would like for us to see the Lamb on Mount Moriah. As we move through this great story from the life of Abraham, I hope we will see that there is something far larger in view here. I hope we will see today that there is a clear portrait of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the price He paid for sinners.
As this story unfolds before us this morning, I ask you to give the Lord your undivided attention. Allow Him to speak to your heart today and let Him have His way in your life.
This is a chapter that is filled with great blessings. Allow me to share a few of them with you as we look at The Lamb On Mount Moriah.
I. V. 1 WE ARE TOLD OF A GREAT SAINT (ABRAHAM)
A. His Name – The man’s name is “Abraham”. It means “Father of a multitude.” When the Lord first called this man to follow Him, his name was “Abram”. That name meant “Exalted Father.” Yet, at that time, Abram was 75 years old and he was childless. As Abram began to follow the Lord, the Lord changed his name to “Abraham”. When he had no children, his name was “Exalted Father”. Now, he has one child and God calls him “Father of a Multitude.” Imagine the reaction of those around Abram when he announced the name change.
While some surely laughed at this old man and his strange name, that name was, in fact, the promise of God to Abraham. While he only had one son, the Lord promised him that he would have many more, “Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.”, Gen. 17:5.
By the time we arrive at today’s text, Abraham has two sons. The first, Ishmael, has already left the home, Gen. 21:9-21, and Isaac, the son of promise, who was born when Abraham was 99, is the only one there.
(Ill. While people may have mocked this man of God, he placed his trust in the Lord. Even though he only had one son, Abraham looked ahead to a time when the Lord would keep His promises! My friends, this is what saved Abraham’s soul. Simple faith in the Word of the Lord, Gen. 15:5-6, “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”
Friends, that is how salvation worked then, and it is how salvation works today! You hear the promise of God and you accepted it by faith! That is what saves the soul, Rom. 10:13; Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:17.)
B. His Nature – Notice that as soon as the Lord speaks, Abraham responds. This tells us a lot about this great man of faith. He has his ear tuned to the voice of the Lord. He is literally waiting for orders from headquarters (from the LORD). Here is a man who is literally living by faith, Rom. 1:17. Here is a man who lives his life for the will of God.
(Ill. What a lesson for those who claim to love the Lord Jesus Christ! Most of us are so busy listening to the call of the world, the devil and the flesh that we cannot even hear His voice when He does speak to us!
What are you living for this morning? Is it wealth? Is it family? Is it job? What has your attention today? Don’t you think men should be listening for the voice of the Lord? I think so! After all, He is the only voice in the world today that is speaking the truth. He holds the way of salvation for you if you will listen to Him!)
(Ill. After all these thousands of years, Abraham is still viewed as a great saint of God. He is revered by the Jew, the Muslim and by the Christian. He is called by name 284 times in the Word of God (the Bible). Why? Because he believed God! What about you? What legacy are you leaving behind? Where is your faith this morning?)
I. We Are Told Of A Great Saint
II. V. 1-5 WE ARE TOLD OF A GREAT SACRIFICE
A. V. 1 The Challenge – The Bible tells us that the Lord “tempted” Abraham. This was not a temptation to do evil. The Lord is never a party to sin, James 1:13. This is a trial or test of Abraham’s faith. There is no doubt that Abraham loved Isaac, v. 2. There can be no doubt that Abraham loved God. Just look at his life from chapter 12 until this time. He has proven his love over and over again. After all, he left his home, his country, and his family all because God called him to do so. He journeyed as a stranger in a foreign land because he loved the Lord. Now, he was about to prove the depths of his love for the Lord God.
(Ill. It is one thing to trust God while waiting on a promise to be fulfilled and quite another thing to trust Him when He asks us to give that thing back to Him. Abraham had waited for 25 years for Isaac to be born. Now, Isaac is somewhere around 15 or even older. He is the fulfillment of all the promises God ever made to Abraham, and yet the Lord asks Abraham to give him back to God. What a test of this man’s faith! Abraham has spoken of his faith in the Lord for years. Now, he is given the opportunity to prove his love for the Lord.)
(Ill. On the surface, this may seem like a cruel thing the Lord is doing. However, we know the outcome! God is demonstrating that there are some people who love the Lord more than anything else in this world. Even more than themselves or their families. God is also painting a picture of His love for humanity. This picture will become clearer as we move through these verses.
At this point, do not miss this lesson: real faith is always tested! God never tested Lot. Why? Everyone knew what Lot was. He was worldly, selfish and foolish. He could not be trusted in a time of testing. Abraham, on the other hand, could be trusted! When God trusts you, He will test you! Why?
1. To show you that He can take care of you in the test.
2. To show the world that He is worthy of faith.
He does it to get glory for His name!)
B. V. 2 The Cost – The cost is almost beyond calculation. God tells Abraham to take, and notice how the cost is kept constantly before Abraham, your son, your only son, the son you love more than life itself, and offer him to Me as a burnt offering!
Surely, this must have broken Abraham’s heart! After all, Isaac represented all the promises of God for Abraham. In truth, to Abraham, Isaac was life, Gen. 17:19-20! If Isaac were dead and gone, then the promises of God would become worthless. If Isaac were to die, then the hopes of Abraham would die as well. Yet we do not find him trying to negotiate with the Lord. As we will see, this father, brokenhearted though he was, was willing to pay the price!)
(Ill. What a portrait this paints of our great God: the Heavenly Father! He also gave up a Son! Notice the similarities between Isaac and the Lord Jesus.
1. Thy son – Isa. 9:6 – “unto us a son is given.”
2. Thy only son – John 3:16 – “only begotten son”
3. Whom thou lovest – Matt. 17:5 – “this is My beloved Son.”
Yet, when the Lord looked at the plight of humanity, He loved us so much that He willingly allowed His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die in our place on the cross, Rom. 5:8. Never be guilty of thinking that salvation is a cheap thing to be taken lightly! Your salvation cost the Lord Jesus His life on a Roman cross. The price was pain, agony and death, but He paid it because He loved us – Isa. 53:3-7.)
C. V. 3-4 The Compliance – Abraham never wavered! He simply gathered together all the things he needed to worship God through a sacrifice and he headed to the place that God told him about. His heart was fixed on doing the thing God had called him to do! What a man of faith! It must have been a difficult journey for Abraham, but he continued until he arrived at the place!
(Ill. What a picture paints for us of our Heavenly Father! It must have broken the heart of God to know that the man He had made in His own image had sinned against Him and had to die. However, God was not deterred! He had already formulated a plan to pay the price for mankind. He knew what had to be done and He set out to do it, Rev. 13:8.
You see, the Lord knew the place to which He was leading Abraham. When He fashioned this world the Lord knew that on that very spot, He would ask Abraham to take the life of his beloved son Isaac. But, God knew something else about that place. He knew that centuries later, Mount Moriah would become known as Mount Calvary. He knew that His Own darling Son, the Lord Jesus Christ would die on a cross there to save humanity. Even though He knew, He still formed the place! Bless His good Name! He fixed it so Jesus would die for me! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!)
D. V. 5 The Confidence – When they arrived at the place, Abraham instructed the servants to wait while he and Isaac went to worship. He told them that they would worship and that they would return. There are two great truths that must be noted right here.
1. Even though Abraham had come to this place to kill his son, he still viewed what he was about to do as worship! When you love the Lord with all your heart, everything you do is a form of worship before the Lord.
2. Abraham still had faith that even though he was about to kill Isaac, God would keep His promises. God had promised that Isaac would be the father of 12 princes and of a vast multitude, Gen. 17:20. However, Abraham must have known that a dead man does not father children! How can he believe that God will keep His word? The writer of Hebrews answers that question for us, Heb. 11:17-19, “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” Simply stated, Abraham knew that even if he killed Isaac, God would bring him back from the dead. He believed God!
(Ill. So it is with the Lord Jesus! God knew that His Son had to go to the cross, but God already knew the end of that story before the beginning! He knew that when Jesus died on the cross, He would not stay dead. God knew that when Jesus died, He would raise Jesus from the dead after three days, Psa. 16:10.)
I. We Are Told Of A Great Saint
II. We Are Told Of A Great Sacrifice
III. V. 6-10 WE ARE TOLD OF A GREAT SON
A. V. 6 He Is Working – As they head to the top of the mountain, Abraham lays the wood for the fire on the back of his son Isaac. Isaac is literally bearing the wood upon which he will die. He is carrying the burden of death upon his shoulders.
(Ill. What a picture this paints for us of the Lord Jesus. He too labored under the burden of death. He carried on His shoulders the very wood upon which He was to die, John 19:17. But, there were greater burdens that Jesus bore that day, Isa. 53:4-6. He bore our sins, this was the thing upon which He died, 2 Cor. 5:21. I am glad Jesus completed the job that the Father sent Him to do!)
B. V. 7 He Is Wondering – Isaac’s question is one that touches the heart! He sees the knife in his father’s hand. He feels the weight of the wood upon his own back. He feels the heat of the fire from the torch his father carries. Yet, there is no lamb to offer to the Lord. So, he asks his father, “Where is the Lamb?”
Isaac knew that a blood sacrifice was required to allow one to enter God’s presence in worship. Abraham’s answer surely did little to ease the concern that the boy must have been feeling. But, as he studies the aged and weathered face of his father, he trusted and he trusted his father’s God and if Abraham said that God would provide a lamb, then surely God would do just that.
(Ill. People today are still wondering how they can come into the presence of God. They go to church and see the knife, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb? They go into beautiful buildings where men stand and preach sermons, where singers stand and sing songs, where people pray and give money, but they leave unchanged and unmoved. They leave still asking, “Where is the Lamb?” I want you to know that the Lamb is here! His name is Jesus and He has already died for your sins on the cross. He shed His blood for you and if you will come to Him, He will save you by His power. Wonder no more, but come to Jesus and He will bring you into the presence of the Lord.)
C. V.6, 8-9 He Is Willing – Notice the phrase “they went both of them together.” There is no rebellion detected in Isaac. AMOS the prophet lets us know that men cannot walk together unless they are agreed, Amos 3:3. Even though Isaac doesn’t understand all that is happening, still he follows his father. Even when they arrive at the place of sacrifice, this strong, young man allows his father, a man who is at least 115 years old, tie him up and lay him on the altar to take his life. It seems that Isaac is willing to obey his father, even unto death!)
(Ill. Again, what a picture this is of the Lord Jesus! He wasn’t forced to go to the cross and die a horrible death. No! He willing gave Himself up to die on that cross! Even when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane praying, He prayed to the Father to allow Him to live long enough to go to Calvary and die for sin, Luke 22:42. This is the heart of the One Who died for you!)
I. We Are Told Of A Great Saint
II. We Are Told Of A Great Sacrifice
III. We Are Told Of A Great Son
IV. V. 11-14 WE ARE TOLD OF A GREAT SUBSTITUTE
A. V. 11-13 It’s Provision – Just as Abraham is about to kill Isaac, God stops him! He calls to him again and provides a substitute for Isaac. Did God actually expect Abraham to kill his son? Yes! Would Abraham have killed Isaac had the Lord not intervened? Yes! It all boils down to grace. God provided a substitute for Isaac through His matchless, boundless grace (GRACE). God moved to provide for the need of Abraham and Isaac!
B. V. 14 It’s Purpose – The whole purpose in that ram being there was for it to take the place of Isaac on that altar. Abraham hadn’t noticed the ram, because he wasn’t looking for a substitute, but while he and Isaac were coming up one side of the mountain, that ram was coming up the other side. It arrived at the right place at the right time. It was there to take the place of Isaac!
C. V. 11-14 It’s Picture – This ram paints a wonderful picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. You see, every sinner, just like Isaac, was doomed to die a terrible death. In fact, all sinners are headed to Hell. However, the Lord Jesus Christ, just like that ram became our substitute on the cross.
(Ill. Put yourself in Isaac’s shoes that day as his father untied him and then took that ram, tied it up, placed it in the wood and plunged that knife into it. I can see the tears running down the Isaac’s face as he watched that lamb bleed to death. Isaac knew that he was the one who should have died, but he lived because another had taken his place. I am sure his heart was filled with gratitude over what the Lord had provided for him!)
(Ill. My friends, from where you stand today, can you see the One Who died on the cross for your sins? Does it move your heart to know that Jesus loved you so much that He died in your place on the cross? Does it thrill you to know that by simply trusting Him, you can be forever free from the penalty of sin? Does it fill you with gratitude to know that He died so that you could live? Notice the last phrase in verse 14, “in the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.” That was a prophetic statement! Many centuries later, Jesus Christ died on that same mountaintop. He wasn’t dying just for Isaac, He was dying for you and me. Just as God provided a ram for Isaac on Mount Moriah, He provided a Lamb for you on Mount Calvary.)
Now, the question that must be asked is: What are you going to do with Jesus?
Isaac and Abraham trusted that lamb to take Isaac’s place. They offered it, worshiped before the Lord and then they came back down the mountain together. Have you come to the place today where you are willing to come before the Lord and trust Jesus as your substitute? Are you will to come to Him and trust what He did on the cross to set you free?
Yes, Jesus died a terrible death. Yes, He paid a high price. A price, I might add, that He did not owe! Are you going to allow His death to be in vain as far as you are concerned? Or, will you come to Him right now and be saved by the grace of God?
One day, you will reach the end of earthly life. Wouldn’t you like to know that you are saved when that day comes? You can, but only if you will come to the Lord Jesus Christ. If you will turn to the Lamb of God and receive Him as your Savior, you can be free today. You can worship and go back down the mountain, alive and free because of the One Who took your place.