“And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.” – Genesis 22:13b
Scripture reading: Genesis 22:15-19
Because Abraham lived in the Spirit through faith God intervened and called off the sacrifice of Isaac. Because God providentially led a ram that had its horns caught in a thicket to where Abraham was, Abraham sacrifices the ram instead of Isaac.
Moreover, God rewards Abraham’s living in the Spirit through faith with the promise He would bless him so that he could be a blessing to the nations around Canaan. He does so by using language He had already used in Genesis 12, 15, and 17 to indicate this. God would bless him, multiply his offspring like the stars of heaven and the sand of the seashore, his offspring would possess the gate of their enemies and in him would all the nations of the earth be blessed.
God guarantees His promise with an oath (v. 15). Now oaths always contain not only a blessing, but also a curse. The oath swearer calls a curse down upon himself if he does not fulfill the blessing. The curse can be either verbal or ritual, such as cutting animals in half as had occurred in Genesis 15. Because God’s oath does not contain a verbal curse, there must be a ritual curse. I believe we find this ritual curse in the sacrifice of the ram as a burnt offering. God is saying: “May I be sacrificed like that ram if I do not fulfill my oath of blessing the nations through Abraham’s descendants when they wholeheartedly live in the Spirit through faith and obey my voice.”
Suggestions for prayer
Thank your heavenly Father that He has guaranteed to bless the world through the church, Abraham’s offspring, when it lives in the Spirit through faith and is obedient to His voice. Ask Him to enable you to live in the Spirit through faith.
Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren.