“Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, My father! And he said, Here I am, my son. And he said, Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering? Abraham said, God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son. So the two of them walked on together…Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son.” Genesis 22:6-8, 13 (bold is my emphasis)
While in my quiet time a few weeks ago I was reading through Genesis. It was one of those readings where, I know I have read this before, but one of those where it seemed to pop out in bold letters on this occasion…”God will provide Himself the Lamb.” That statement from Abraham resonated in and with me the whole day long. I think, perhaps, because we as redeemed people tend to have a man-centered view of what it means to be saved, redeemed, or even the whole concept of justification by faith. Humanistic, in that, we tend to view salvation as something that God did purely for us. Often, we think of creation this way. That all that God created was meant for us, when in fact the scriptures state…
“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through Him and for Him.” Colossians 1:16
Redemption was not necessarily something God did just for humanity – no, better yet, redemption was something God did – as in all things He does – to bring glory to Himself.
“Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.’” Revelation 5:11-12
When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden – they were told that the wages for their sin would be “death.” But, God in the richness of His mercy and grace provided for Himself a lamb to cover their shame.
“The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21
When God tested the faithfulness of Abraham and asked him to offer up his son as a sacrifice – God provided for Himself a lamb. (Genesis 22:13 – see above)
When the children of Israel were slaves in Egypt and God was about to set them free – God provided for Himself the blood of the Lamb as a sign to passover His people as He strikes the land of Egypt with a final plague…the angel of death.
“The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.” Exosus 12:13
When God instructed the Israelites in how to seek reconciliation with God for sins committed – God provided for Himself the use of a lamb for the atonement for sin.
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.” Leviticus 17:11
When God sent His only begotten Son into the world – He provided for Himself – His son as The Lamb Who takes away the sin of the world.
“The next day he (John) saw Jesus coming to him and said, Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
When Christ died on the cross – He was the provisional Lamb of God that satisfied God’s judgment on sin. By this sacrifice, God justified His own concerning their sin, brought glory to Himself and gave to His own faith and hope.
“knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” 1 Peter 1:18-21
As you approach the days of Good Friday – I pray that you will see it as a gift from God to you – for you to remember so that you may not exalt in that He did this purely for your sake, but for the sake of His own glory. The verse below summarizes my thoughts this morning…
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:23-26
In the end – when all is said and done – God will present for Himself the Lamb to receive all the glory.
“Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.’
And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, ‘To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.'” Revelation 5:11-13
To God be the glory for the great things He has done!
Grace and Peace to All! – GT