Abraham in the Teen Bible

STORY 2.10 God provides a lamb

God speaks with Abraham once again. He talks to him like a true friend. That’s what God does when He wants to be close to people.
‘Call your son, your favorite, your only one,’ God tells him. ‘Take him to Moriah, the mountain with the amazing view. There you’ll have to entrust him to Me and sacrifice him.’
Abraham does what God tells him to do. He rises early the next morning, chops some wood, loads it onto one of his donkeys and then leaves for the mountain with two servants and his son. Isaac is a teenage boy by now.

On the road Abraham wonders: do I really have to sacrifice my son? Why? I have always believed that God would be the one to provide for the burnt offering. Does my son have to be sacrificed to make up for all the horrible things people do all around the world? Is that how my offspring will be a blessing to the entire world? Is that what God desires? I thought He wanted me to have many descendants? How will that ever come to pass when Isaac is dead?

That’s what’s running through Abraham’s mind.
He remembers God’s promises too. I believe, if push comes to shove, that God can raise someone from the dead. Is that what God is planning to do with my son? Raise him from the dead?
Abraham believes God is able to do that.
On the third day of the journey Abraham and his travel companions come to a halt. They are at the foot of mount Moriah.

‘Up there we’ll kneel down before God,’ he says, ‘Isaac and I. Afterwards we’ll return together.’
Abraham piles the wood for the sacrifice onto his son’s back and takes a torch and knife. The servants stay behind with the donkey as the two climb up the mountain. Father and son.
‘Hey Dad,’ Isaac asks along the way, ‘we have fire and wood, but where’s the lamb for the burnt offering?’
‘God Himself will provide a lamb, my boy,’ Abraham answers.

When they reach the spot God pointed out, Abraham stacks up some big rocks to create an altar. He arranges the wood on top of it. He then ties up his son and places him on top of the wood.
Right up there on the mountain Isaac is silent and doesn’t move.
Then Abraham takes the knife and moves it towards his son’s neck.
‘Abraham! Abraham!’ a voice resounds from heaven in that very moment.
‘I’m listening,’ says Abraham, who lowers the knife.
‘Do not lay a hand on the boy. Don’t hurt him. I now know that you live in reverence to me, because you were willing to give up your only son.’

Abraham nods his head in agreement and then lowers it. He’s dripping sweat.
When he lifts his head to look up again, he sees a ram that’s tangled up in a thorn bush.
Here is the lamb for the sacrifice. God brought it to them.
Abraham knew it. Didn’t he say, just a little while ago, that God would provide a lamb for the burnt offering? God doesn’t need people to bring sacrifices. He does it all. He will take care of everything.

The sacrificial lamb
Abraham was the one who built the altar to honor God, but he knew that God would be the one to provide an animal to sacrifice. And indeed, God gave him a lamb on top of mount Moriah. We read about sacrificial lambs quite a bit in the Bible. These stories all point towards one very special person who will give up his life as a sacrifice. He will bless the entire world by doing so.

Read Genesis 22,1-13 Romans 4,16-17 James 2,20-23 John 1,29 1 Pete 1,18-21


STORY 2.11 God will provide on this mountain

There they are, father and son, on top of the mountain God pointed out. And there is the ram God brought them.
Abraham untangles the animal from the thorns and prepares it for the burnt offering. He lights it on fire and the smell of burnt meat spreads around the mountaintop.

As they stare at the fire and watch the smoke rise, God speaks again.
‘Because you willingly gave Me your son, I will bless you richly,’ God tells Abraham. ‘Your descendants will be abundant like the stars in the sky and the sand on the beach. I will bless them too, all who put their trust in Me like you have. They will possess the cities of their enemies. Everyone on earth will wish they would be as blessed as your offspring. And in this one seed all people will be blessed, because you have listened to Me.’

Abraham lets out a sigh. He trusted God and God didn’t let him down. Now he knows for sure God will continue his plans, even if He has to defy death.
‘God gave us a lamb,’ Abraham says as he and Isaac breathe in the smoky smell of meat.
‘God took care of it, son. And He always will.’
God has not given up, he realizes, despite the fact that the earth is full of evil. He Himself will take care of everything. He will continue his plan to fill the earth with children. That’s what He will use my seed for. He has promised that one seed, one son, will be a blessing to the entire world. He has also promised me lots of seeds, numerous descendants who will be blessed to be a blessing. And God promised land, the Promised Land.

Abraham tries to imagine all of this. He thinks to himself: God will be here and He will take care of it. That’s how God is: He provides.
‘Here on this mountain, God will provide,’ Abraham tells Isaac as they start their descent. On their way down Abraham is still daydreaming about this wonderful future God has promised.
Once they’re down the mountain Abraham tells whoever is willing to listen: ‘On this mountain, God will provide.’
Isaac quietly nods in agreement. His eyes sparkle. He is amazed and in awe.

Israel’s capital city Jerusalem would be built on top of seven mountains. Moriah is one of those mountains. One day, Jesus would be crucified right outside the city gates. In many different ways the Bible foretells that He will die as a sacrificial lamb for all humanity. That is how God will provide.

Read Genesis 22,14-19 Hebrews 6,11-20 Hebrews 11,17-19 John 8,56-58

The Teen Bible by Willem de Vink helps teenagers to understand that everything in the Bible relates to Jesus. This book with 250 stories is published in Dutch, French and German. It is not published in English yet, but the English translation is available.