This is an adapted excerpt from A Year in the Old Testament: Meditations for Each Day of the Church Year by Jeffrey Pulse. On Wednesday Lent 2, we look at the wondrous love the Father shows us and how it connects to the story of Abraham and Isaac.
Psalmody: Psalm 66:8–15
Additional Psalm: Psalm 66, Psalm 6
Old Testament Reading: Genesis 22:1–19
New Testament Reading: Mark 7:1–23
Prayer of the Day
Almighty and merciful God, defend Your Church from all false teaching and error that Your faithful people may confess You to be the only true God and rejoice in Your good gifts of life and salvation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (B74)
“On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided” (Genesis 22:14). The test was unthinkable: take your son, your only son, whom you love, and offer him as a sacrifice. Who has ever heard of such a thing? The promised one, for whom Abraham had waited for so long, was to be a burnt offering upon the mount of the LORD. Unspeakable, unsearchable—who has ever heard of such a thing? The covenant lies in balance, the heir is to die, and the seed is to be sacrificed. Who has ever heard of such a thing?
Abraham was faithful; he believed and he went, and after three days he lifted up his eyes and saw the place. His stomach churned, his face fell, but he took his son Isaac up the mount of the LORD. When Isaac questioned, his answer, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son” (Genesis 22:8), proved true and prophetic. God stayed Abraham’s hand, and a ram was found in a thicket; Isaac’s life was preserved. “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”
The language tells us that there is more here than meets the eye. The mount is Moriah and becomes the temple mount in Jerusalem. Here will be the place where the people will offer up sacrifice after sacrifice in hope, waiting for the ultimate sacrifice. The blood of lambs and goats will be poured out as they wait for the Lamb of God, the only-begotten Son of God. The beloved Son, whom the Father loves, is sent to this mountain. The beloved Son, who has come into our world, becomes the all-atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world. On the mount of the LORD it has been provided.
Our sins required a sacrifice, but the LORD has stayed His hand, withheld the knife of slaughter, and provided His only Son, His beloved Son in our stead. Christ carried His wood outside the city walls as He bore our sins beyond the gates. There, on another mountain, He died in our place, a substitute. There our sin and guilt was cleansed, and there Christ proclaimed the task to be finished. There on that mount, the LORD provided, and we are saved.
The unthinkable has taken place. Who has ever heard of such a thing—the Father offers up His Son, and this holy Lamb “goes uncomplaining forth, The guilt of sinners bearing” (LSB 438:1). Unthinkable, unfathomable; what wondrous love He bears, laying the beloved One in the grave so that we might not taste eternal death.
Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of His praise be heard, who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip. For You, O God, have tested us…. Yet You have brought us out to a place of abundance” (Psalm 66:8–10, 12). Abundant love, grace, and mercy, for on the mount of the LORD it has been provided. Amen.