Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The ram in the thorns

As Abraham looked about, he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So he went and took the ram and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son. - Genesis 22:13

In the story of Abraham and Isaac, God instructs Abraham to take his son Isaac to the top of Mt. Moriah and sacrifice him to the Lord. You can only imagine the distress this must have caused Abraham. But Abraham was faithful to God, and he obliged. As he and Isaac were walking up the mountain, Isaac carrying the firewood and Abraham carrying the fire and the knife, Isaac asks Abraham, "Where is the sheep for the holocaust?" Abraham responds, "God himself will provide the sheep for the holocaust."

I have always thought it was interesting that Abraham responded, "God himself will provide the sheep." Why didn't he say simply, "God will provide the sheep?" And how did he know that God would provide the sheep?

Christians have long viewed this passage from Genesis as a foreshadowing of the Passion of Christ, for Christ, the beloved Son of God, walked up the via dolorosa to Golgotha carrying the wood for the holocaust, the cross. It was his blood spilled from the altar which was the cross. He stretched out his arms in the image of a priest offering sacrifice, and he offered the most holy and perfect sacrifice possible. And indeed, God did provide the lamb for the sacrifice. He provided himself as the lamb of sacrifice, the lamb whose head was caught in a crown of thorns as the ram was caught in the thicket.

So that brings me back to the question, how did Abraham know? Because Abraham was a man of faith. He trusted that God would take care of him. He knew that God would provide.


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