Today’s Reading: Genesis 22:1-14
“God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” (Genesis 22:8)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. What does God expect of you? Does He expect a perfect life? Or maybe He wants proof of your faithfulness by seeing what a great job you do of telling other people about Jesus. Certainly, God doesn’t expect you to offer animal sacrifices anymore, but sometimes you might wonder if more time, more money, or more of your skills at church or at youth group are going to impress God. Maybe you’re already shaking your head and saying, “That’s not how God works.” That doesn’t mean that you aren’t sometimes tempted to prove your faithfulness to God. And that makes you ask, “What does God want? What can I give God?”
Isaac asked a normal, innocent question. “We have everything we need except the lamb for the sacrifice.” Where were they going to get that? In the remote mountains, there wasn’t a grocery store or a “Sacrifices ‘R’ Us” store for Abraham and Isaac to get a sacrificial lamb. How was this going to work? Abraham’s answer was literally, “God will see the lamb.” While many translations say something like “God will provide the lamb,” or “God will see to the lamb,” the clearest understanding is that God will see the lamb.
God did see the lamb, but it wasn’t a fluffy, white lamb carried to the top of the mountain. It wasn’t Isaac, the only son of his father, Abraham. It wasn’t even the ram caught in the thicket by its horns. The Lamb that God saw was His own Son, Jesus Christ. The only-begotten Son of God was the Lamb given so that all who believe in His Name would not perish but have eternal life. God sees Jesus as the perfect, once-for-all sacrifice for you.
Where’s your sacrifice? You already have one. God sees the Lamb whom He has sent to take away the sin of the world. You don’t need to prove yourself to God. You don’t need to do anything to earn His grace, and God won’t remove His grace if you don’t do the right thing to thank Him. He has provided His Son for you, and that settles the matter. God has seen His ever-present grace for you. God has not withheld His Son from you, and that’s all you need. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
The dying Lord our ransom paid, One final full self-off’ring made, Complete in ev’ry part. His finished sacrifice for sins The covenant of grace begins, The law within the heart. (“No Temple Now, No Gift of Price” LSB 530, st.2)
-Rev. Peter Ill is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Millstadt, IL.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Learn more about your favorite hymns and find the deeper meaning behind the text with Eternal Anthems: The Story Behind Your Favorite Hymns. The book includes devotional commentary and historical facts from forty different contributing authors on fifty different hymns. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.