January 7

Genesis 22-24, Psalm 7

One of my favorite movies is “Luther” starring Joseph Fiennes from 2003. To understand and fully appreciate the story I need to start from the beginning and watch it straight through. How else would I understand what made Luther turn from the church practices, or why he was chased and persecuted, or why the war and carnage or why the court trials. The story might be interesting but would not make total sense if seen in an interrupted fashion. The Bible also tells a story beginning with God’s Creation and culminating in Revelation with the new heaven and earth. Each of the 66 books also conveys it’s own story by the author inspired by the Holy Spirit. Yet many Christians consider themselves New Testament Christians, largely ignoring the Old Testament, considering it obsolete. Others only focus on certain disjointed verses in devotionals which they can relate to. Others just hang around in particular books, such as the Psalms. If we would not view a movie this way or read a novel this way, why would we view God’s story any differently. It is only by a full reading do you realize that the New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed, and the Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed. Jesus is not just a New Testament figure, but on careful inspection, He is seen throughout the pages of the Old Testament.

We read in Genesis 22 the story of Isaac being offered as a sacrifice by Abraham. We will see in this story that Isaac was a picture or a type of Christ, but Jesus was the fulfillment. We can’t miss the response of Abraham to God’s command to sacrifice Isaac in Genesis 22:2. We read in 22:3, “So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.” Notice after this unfathomable request is made to Abraham, he responds in total obedience without procrastination. For years when I read the story I envisioned a young boy who could easily be made to obey Abraham. But we notice in Genesis 22:6, “So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together.” Isaac was not a little boy but was somewhere between his upper teens to early 30’s. This makes Isaac’s contribution to the story so much more impressive. He could have outran, outstrengthened and outmaneuvered his 120 year old father. We read in Genesis 22:9-10, “…And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.” What we see in Isaac is total submission as he willingly allows himself to be bound and offered.” Prior to this we see in Abraham’s response to Isaac’s question, the prophecy that would come true around 2000 years later in Genesis 22:8, “And Abraham said, My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering.” Amazingly, in Genesis 22:2, we read that Abraham was told to go to Moriah to offer the sacrifice. This Mount Moriah is the exact same location, later called Calvary, where Jesus was ultimately sacrificed for our sins.

Among the parallels between Isaac and Jesus are: both births were miraculous; both births were prophesied before they occurred; both fathers were told beforehand what to name their sons; both were obedient to the point of death; Isaac carried the wood, Jesus carried His cross; both took place on Mount Moriah/Calvary. Though Abraham was prevented from following through with the sacrifice, Jesus was allowed to be sacrificed on behalf of all of us. Many mistakenly believe that God is continually adjusting and reacting to changing circumstances. God is sovereign and omniscient. As we see in this dress rehearsal of Isaac, God fully knew what He was planning 2000 years later to be fulfilled in the life of His Son, Jesus. Reading the entirety of Scripture enables us to have confidence in an omniscient God who never changes and knows both the beginning and the end.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Aaron Salvato