Friday, February 1, 2019
13Abraham lifted up his eyes and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
The story of Abraham and Isaac is a marvelous picture of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God for our sins so that we could be forgiven. The story is filled with incredible truths and we could spend days on their applications, but for today let me show you just one.
Twice in this story our key word nasa (the Hebrew word for forgiveness) is used, and both times it is translated as lifted. If Abraham had lived his life according to the flesh and the rules of society, he would never have agreed to take his son, his one and only son from his wife Sarah, and make a trip to a mountain to kill him as a sacrifice to God. Isaac was the son God had promised him, and now that he had him, and had an inheritance to pass on to him, he would never in his human reason consider such a thing. But Abraham’s eyes were not on the world and what he had, but they were on God and what God would do.
When I go on a trip, I can’t wait to see the finish line. The closer I get to the destination the more excited I become. But I remember a time in my life when that was not true. Twice within 14 months the final destination of a trip was the home of a parent who had just died or was about to die. I did not look forward to that destination. In fact, the closer I got the more I wanted to hang my head and cry.
But look at Abraham. Three days into the journey he looks up and sees the destination. He knew where the place was. He didn’t have to look up to know where he was. He could have hung his head the closer he got, but he didn’t. He lifted up his eyes and saw the place where the sacrifice would take place, and he hurried on.
I think it’s significant that he lifted up his eyes on the third day. Why? Because I believe Abraham had a clear vision of faith that saw the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our sin that would take place on a hill called Calvary. He lifted up his eyes and saw what God was going to do for all of us. By faith he told Isaac that God himself would provide a lamb. Some translators conclude that the verse should read God would provide himself as a lamb.
Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw Jesus as the Lamb of God. Then, at the moment he was prepared to sacrifice his son as a statement of his absolute faith and trust in God, even when it made no human sense, God intervened and told him to stop. Without any other words, Abraham again lifted up his eyes and saw the ram that the Lord had provided for the sacrifice. Then Abraham gave the mountain a new name – Jehovah-Jireh, meaning the Lord sees and will provide.
Listen, my friend, the Lord sees your need. The Lord has lifted up his eyes towards you. The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne. He observes the sons of men; his eyes examine them. (Psalms 11:4) The Lord sees that your greatest need is the forgiveness of your sin. The Lord sees that you are not able to forgive yourself. The Lord sees that you need a Savior who can rescue you from your sin and its consequences. And when the Lord sees, the Lord acts. He has provided a Lamb as a sacrifice for your sin. All that is necessary is for you to lift up your eyes towards the place of sacrifice and see the Lamb God has provided for your sin. Stop hanging your head in shame. Don’t be afraid of the final destination. On the mountain of the Lord there is forgiveness. Take all that is precious to you in this life and put it on the altar of sacrifice. Be willing to give up everything of earthly significance, and God will rescue you from your sin.
For those of you who have already done that, consider this: What have you taken back off the altar? In what areas of your life are you not lifting up your eyes to the Lord and trusting Him to be your provider? If our eyes are fixed on the world and the provision of the world, we will get only what the world can provide. When our eyes are lifted up and fixed on the mountain of sacrifice – the cross of Calvary – we will experience the provisions of heaven, the riches of glory available through Jesus Christ.
The greatest of those riches is the knowledge of complete and unconditional acceptance by God, which is only possible through the forgiveness of our sin. Forgiveness is only possible through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. So, lift up your eyes. Or, as the Psalmist puts it:
I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.