At this point in our story, we might wonder why God would ask a man to kill his only son. Isaac (which means “laughter”) was a miracle baby when he was born. Both Abraham and Sarah were well beyond the age of having children.
However, God had promised Abraham a son, and He had kept His word. Abraham had waited twenty-five years for that promise to be fulfilled, and was overjoyed when Isaac was born. Now, God tells Abraham to kill his only son. Would God really do such a thing, and if so, why? There is a divine purpose for this story being in the Bible. The purpose is to reveal an important truth. The story is a prophetic picture of God’s plan of redemption. God wants us to clearly understand the roles which the Father and the Son must play in obtaining our salvation.
We know that Isaac, as an obedient son, is a type (prophetic picture) of the Lord Jesus. The wood for the burnt offering was laid upon Isaac’s back, as they climbed the mountain. Two thousand years later, God’s only Son would carry a wooden cross upon His back as another mountain was climbed – Mount Calvary!
This story of Abraham and Isaac takes place in the hills of Moriah. These are the same hills outside Jerusalem upon which Christ, God’s only Son, was sacrificed as our substitute.
We sometimes overlook the fact that Abraham is a type of God the Father. One can only wonder at the pain that must have been in Abraham’s heart as he carried in his hand the knife and the fire. God had promised Abraham that through Isaac would come a family as large in number as the stars in the sky. How could such a promise be fulfilled if Isaac should die – unless there was the hope of a resurrection! (Heb 11:17-19).
THE STEADY STEPS OF FAITH AND OBEDIENCE
There is a very tender touch to our story when we read “and the two of them went together”. Side by side they walked in silence: a loving father with his son, and a loving son with his father.
Father Abraham moves with the steady steps of faith and obedience, but there is a great ache in his heart. It is softened only by the hope which he has in God’s promise. Finally the quiet is broken by a question from the lips of Isaac: “Where is the lamb?”
Hidden in the answer is a beautiful prophetic picture of God’s great redeeming love: “And Abraham said, ‘My Son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.’ So the two of them went together” (Gen 22:8).
The word “together” appears the second time in the record and is filled with great meaning. It speaks of their love for one another; it also speaks of their faith and obedience to God.
Abraham must have told Isaac of God’s will for his death – and God’s promise for his life. Both of them are willing to submit to the Word of the Lord. Isaac was a strong young man and easily could have resisted his elderly father.