The Lord Will Provide: Faith’s Response a. Here I am. When we look at the response Abraham has in the text this is the point where people loved to load in the speculations. They concoct all kinds of feelings and emotions for Abraham that aren’t spelled out in Scripture. We are not given a play-by-play of his thought processes. So we need to be careful when we see Abraham as questioning God or doubting God’s goodness or obeying God out of dread. Nowhere in Scripture do we see a hint of this. I understand why preachers and teachers want to do this, but I wonder if it is because most people don’t have a faith like Abraham and therefore we are making excuses for ourselves. If I were Abraham I would say to God this and that or I would be freaking out. JR Miller makes a good point here. He said, “It was said by someone of William Carey, the missionary, that he was a man who could not say ‘No’ to God. He was called from the shoemaker’s bench to preach, then to the mission field, and from service to service, and never could say ‘No’. We call a man weak’ who cannot say ‘No’—and imagine that he has no will of his own. But the man who cannot say ‘No’ to God—is strong. “Here I am” was always Abraham’s answer—to every calling of his name by God. Whatever the bidding was, it must be instantly and quietly obeyed.” Paul tells us that Abraham never had any doubt concerning the promises of God. This was the faith that God was had instilled and was growing in Abraham. We see this resoluteness in Abraham as he rises early the next day to carry out God’s command. We see him make the preparations for a burnt sacrifice. We hear him confidently say, “the Lord will provide for himself a lamb.” We hear nothing of fear or doubt even in Isaac as he is bound and placed on the altar. We are not told that he hesitated when he reached out to take the knife. In all this, we hear from the book of Hebrews, “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.” b. God himself provided the lamb. Finally, we must step back and see the bigger picture here. Abraham told Isaac that he believed that God himself would provide the lamb for the burnt offering. Even as a child I thought that Abraham was wrong. He said that God would provide a lamb but there is a ram in a thicket. God didn’t provide a lamb, a baby sheep, but a full-grown ram with horns. When I got older, I checked the Hebrew and, yes, it does say lamb and ram. But Abraham was not wrong. God had provided a lamb for himself. Revelation chapter 5 says, “Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” You see God told Abraham to give sacrifice his son, his beloved son in who he was well pleased. And Abraham was willing to do this. But what God does through this event is to confirm that Isaac is the one through whom the promise of the bruised head of the serpent would come but the promise does not end in Isaac. The promise is not completed in Isaac. There would come from the Heavenly Father a Son, his only Son that would be offered as a sacrifice. There would be no substitute for this Son. He would be the sacrifice. The Heavenly Father would not hold back his hand from striking. God himself would provide the sacrifice. As John the Baptist says as Jesus approaches, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” It is as if he is saying, “See, here is the one that Abraham told Isaac about. The lamb for the offering for the sins of the people has arrived. The lambs that we have sacrificed all these years for our sin, the lamb that we slaughter for Passover, all of these have pointed to and now find their end in Jesus.” That’s what this story is all about. It’s not how we need to be Abrahams but that we need the Lamb of God to be our substitute. As Abraham says Jehovah-Jireh, God will provide, and in Christ he did. I’ve always wondered how much Abraham understood of this. Another use of the Hebrew word for provide is to see. Some Bible have that note. So that on the mountain of the Lord, Abraham clearly saw. I’m sure he was not aware of everything and did not see the end of all this clearly but It might be more than we expect.