Day 13

The Birth & Sacrifice of Isaac

from the Genesis reading plan


Genesis 21:1-34, Genesis 22:1-24

BY Amanda Bible Williams

Text: Genesis 21:1-34, Genesis 22:1-24

If Isaac ever wondered if he brought joy to his parents, he needed only look to the meaning of his name: “laughter.”

When I imagine them in the early days of his life—Abraham, Sarah, and bouncing baby Isaac—I see the scenes like a movie montage in my head. The boy crawls around in the yard while his parents exchange a knowing glance that says for the hundredth time, This is our promised son. He’s really here! The boy grows bigger—he’s walking now—and there is plenty of slow-motion running in the fields, lots of head-tossed-back laughter as the child lives up to his name. Then come the images of a young man, no longer a boy, following in his father’s footsteps, learning to tend the land and lead his people and listen to God.

Then the music stops and the montage ends. Because I can’t bear to romanticize the reality of what happens next.

“Abraham!” God called.

“Here I am,” Abraham answered.

“Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about” (Genesis 22:2, emphasis mine).

And Abraham went. How he got his feet to move to this command, we’ll never know. But we know he went (Genesis 22:3).

Once on the mountain, Abraham is called again, this time by his son—his only son.

“My father,” Isaac called.

“Here I am, my son,” Abraham answered.

“The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (Genesis 22:7).

(Had I even made it to the mountain with my boy, this would have been the point at which I caved, grabbing his hand and sprinting for home.)

But Abraham stayed. “God Himself will provide the lamb,” he replied (Genesis 22:8). And there he built an altar. He bound his son and he reached for the knife. That’s when the third call came.

“Abraham, Abraham!” the angel called. Abraham’s knife froze in midair.

“Here I am,” Abraham answered.

Here’s where the music in my head resumes, at the broken sigh of relief and the tears I can only assume streamed down Abraham’s face. It was true. God had indeed provided the lamb (Genesis 22:13).

Now the tears streaming down are mine, because I cannot see Isaac bound on the altar, his father poised to sacrifice his only son, without seeing our Savior nailed to a cross.

Like Isaac, Jesus did not resist, though he certainly could have. Like Abraham, the heavenly Father must have grieved at the sight of His Son—His only Son—on the altar of sacrifice. But unlike that day when Isaac was spared on Mount Moriah, a substitute was not provided. Jesus was the substitute. He took our place on the cross and took the punishment for our sins—past, present, and future—forever (Isaiah 53:5).

When the Father calls on us to pay the debt of our sin, it is Jesus who answers “Here I am,” praying in anguish from the garden, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me—nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).

As we watch the scenes of Genesis 22-23 play out in our minds today, may our hearts be moved to thanksgiving. We give thanks for Abraham, the father of our faith, who responded to the Lord’s call, even when that call took him to a place no father would choose to go. And we give thanks for Isaac, who trusted his father and his God, even to the threshold of death. Above all, we give thanks for the Lamb that God provided as the substitute for you and for me—on a different day and a different hill, for our eternal salvation.

Thanks be to God the Father for His mercy and for the unflinching love of the Son.

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Post Comments (84)

84 thoughts on "The Birth & Sacrifice of Isaac"

  1. I love the story of Isaac and Abraham. I love how Isaac and Abraham up on Mount Moriah foreshadows God turning His back on Jesus on the cross so that He could save His children. I love how Jesus is all over the OT. It gives me so much joy seeing how the entire Bible points to God’s love and mercy. I’m so thankful that Jesus took our place and didn’t just make it possible for us to be saved, but he did it all. We are sealed in Him- in His perfect obedience and substitutionary death. I am so very thankful that God always provides for us and most importantly provided us with salvation! Praying I would trust God more and more! He is sovereign and that’s where my joy comes from!

  2. sara says:

    The bible is all about Jesus from the begining to the end. Gods promise to Adam and eve, the seed of the women till crush your head. Even Noah´s ark was a symbol that shows Jesus will come and save us. And through Isaac we see it even clearly, the father who sacrifiece his only son…It´s all about Him, Jesus.

  3. Kara-Anne says:

    Will I answer as confidently as Abraham, when God calls upon me? Am I as ever ready, to answer His call?

    “Here I am,” Abraham answered.

    Again and again, this was what stood out to me. Do I not shy away from His call sometimes, afraid that it will upset the calm waters of my life right now, that I have grown accustomed to? To fulfil His calling, this legacy He has called me to leave… This life He has given me to do great things. Do I hide under the covers, basking in the safe refuge, or do I always, always answer with confidence –

    “Here I am, God. Use me. Use me the way You intended to. It is about You, not about me.”

  4. Andrea says:

    According to Amanda Bible “Like Isaac, Jesus did not resist, though he certainly could have.” We have no proof that Isaac did not resist. The Bible states “Do not add or subtract from His Word…” (Deuteronomy 4:2, Revelation 22:19). We must be careful or else it is considered false teaching!

    1. Patti says:

      Whether or not you believe Issac did or didnt resist, I think it is a moot point. This is not what saves your soul. A beautful picture is painted here, Issac’s submission to his father as Jesus submitted to his heavenly father and also the trust and willingness of both to be sacrificed.

  5. Alecia says:

    “The Lord will provide.”
    I need this more than ever. What I’m going through pales in comparison to Abraham, but bravery and strength is what I need. My plan was to be a stay at home mom. But, God’s plan is different. For the past 3 years, I’ve done project work. Working full time at the most for 6 months at a time. We started trying for a family a year ago and without luck. So, I found a full time job as a teacher. I haven’t started yet, but I’m terrified. Going back to work full time, first year teacher and still trying to build a family at 37. This story hits home on so many levels. Sarah given a child so late and Abraham called to surrender to God’s plan. Prayers for me to trust God’s plan, bravery to start this teaching venture and surrender to what God wants.

    1. Molly Guldin says:

      Alecia, I praise our heavenly father for your vulnerable heart in sharing those deep deep intimate yearnings with us all, your shereadstruth family.. Praying for your heart and soul to be strengthened. When reading your comment, I immediately thought of Joel 2:24-26; “The threshing floors will again be piled high with grain, and the presses will overflow with new wine and olive oil. The lord says, “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts and the cutting locusts. …Once again you will have all the food you want and you will praise the lord your god, who does these miracles for you.”
      My mom had me when she was 43 after 3 miscarriages.. She finally had me and almost lost me.. My mom is now 65 years old and I am 23 years old. I praise jesus for this life and I ask that our heavenly father sets your eyes and deep deep desires to be aligned with HIS will for your life. I pray for strength and restoration for your soul…

      1. Kylee says:

        Molly, thank you also for your encouragement! Your reply to Alecia really touched me.

      2. Andrea Hope says:

        The Lord will provide indeed! Thank you for your reply to Alecia. And thank you Alecia for your original post. I can so relate to you Alecia. I’m was a full time teacher at age 34 when we got pregnant after 4 years of treatment. Just wanted to stay home so badly with my baby and couldn’t. My husband took care of her, while I worked full time. They have developed such a close bond, that you don’t often see in father’s and daughters because of this. It has been a real blessing. If you feel God calling you to do it, respond to His voice. I myself am listening carefully. I am, in my heart, desiring to have another child, at age 40. Crazy, is my first thought! All outward signs point to NO. Husband was disabled 3 years ago with a broken back. I was laid off from my temporary teaching job, and am now only working part time. Living with my parents, to help care for my sick mom, but also to help each other financially. I’m getting older, and to have a baby cost a lot of money for us (our first one was medically assisted miracle) It looks crazy other people. But God has been showing me how good he is at providing. He keeps pointing me to this older mom path over the course of many months. First by our doctor taking a huge amount of money off the price of treatment, and then qualifying us for a medicine discount program. Then we won $1000 door prize at a Christmas party. We found out that we are due a refund of $989 because of recalled medication I used. The miracles he has performed on our behalf is astounding. The weight I needed to loose to become pregnant is just coming off. This has honestly been a very stressful, but amazing journey. One obstacle after another is just being removed as I trust God and ask Him for wisdom on our journey. An adventure that has built my faith in God so much! Not just in the baby aspect of things, but in trusting him daily with finances.
        That’s where Molly comes in. Sweet Molly. I’m so encourage by you. I have had serious doubts about being pregnant at 40, almost 41 and struggling if this was really God’s will. Hearing of your mom’s journey to have you and the obvious love you have for eachother is encouraging. I’m still praying and seeking God. I personally would love to be a mom again anyway that God would make it happen. Adoption is also in my heart, but not in my husbands, and hasn’t been from the beginning. However, I know all things are possible with God and He can change his heart! There’s just a million ways that God is working in the background, and I am amazed by Him! Thank you ladies for sharing parts of your own stories!

  6. Nicole says:

    ( never before noticed *)

  7. Nicole says:

    Misce ! Thank you – such good insight there and brave before noticed . Tina , you moved my heart with your candor and rawness and the beauty of your honesty . Prayers , all . Xo

  8. Gema says:

    For some reason is hard for us human beings to trust in God when we are going through different circumstances. I have seen God provide for me in different circumstances and even like that we sometimes doubt him. God does this in order for our faith to grow and for our unbelieve to turn into believe. Right at this moment I’m in one of those cross roads where time is running out, but Gods hand is working in my favor. He never stops to amaze me, he always provides at the nick of time. Our God is awesome, he will always provide, and his word will never return empty. Glory to our God! God bless you all sisters.

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