Behold the Fire and the Wood: but Where is the Lamb?

One of the remarkable Old Testament stories is that of Abraham and Isaac. One day God told Abraham to go to the land of Moriah and offer up his beloved Isaac as a sacrifice. What a trial this must have been!

1. Abraham had been brought away from ungodly people who practiced human sacrifice.

2. Abraham had been given wonderful promises about those who should descend from Isaac - as many as the stars in the sky and the grains of sand on the seashore; and especially the Lord Jesus.

And Abraham obeyed. It is no wonder (is it?) that Abraham’s faith is pointed out to us as a pattern. We are told in the New Testament that he believed that even if he slew Isaac, God could (and would) raise him from the dead.

We notice how Abraham said to the servants, "I and the land will go yonder and worship, and come again to you."

But how dreadful it must have sounded to Abraham when Isaac asked: "Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"! It was a gracious answer: "My son, God will provide Himself a lamb."

You all know the story of how Isaac was bound on the altar. It has often been remarked that young, strong Isaac could have escaped from his aged father had he wished. And you remember the end: how, as Abraham lifted up the knife to kill Isaac, God stopped him, showed him a ram, and the ram was offered instead.

There are many lessons, Let us think of two.

1. The Doctrine of Substitution

Isaac is bound on the altar. Isaac is about to die. But the lamb takes Isaac’s place. The lamb is killed instead of Isaac. The lamb dies; Isaac goes free. Substitution!

So with the dear Lord Jesus. He is His people’s substitute. (A substitute is one who takes another’s place.) The dear Lamb of God dies at Calvary; His people go free. What love!

He look the dying traitor’s place,
And suffered in his stead;
For man (0 miracle of grace!)
For man the Saviour bled. "

I think I have told you about the poor Negro. Under a deep sense of sin and guilt, he cried, "ME DIE." As the gospel plan was unfolded to him his language was: "HE DIE, OR ME DIE." Under the sweet assurance of faith he cried, "HE DIE, ME NO DIE."

The godly Scottish divine, "Rabbi" Duncan, used to give this as a beautiful illustration of the doctrine of substitution, known in the soul.

2. The Lord Will Provide

Afterwards Abraham called the name of the place Jeho- vah- Jireh - "the Lord sees" or "the Lord will provide." What a precious text that was to our godly forefathers in days of poverty! And how true it is today, in providence and grace!

Some of our chapels, in remembrance of this, are called "Jireh," and often in older houses this little verse was on display, with JEHOVAH-JIREH as the title:

"Say not, my soul, from whence can God relieve thy care, Remember that Omnipotence hath servants everywhere, His method is sublime, His thoughts supremely kind; God never is before His time and never is behind. "

In a New Testament sense it is: "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

The Friendly Companion