No one wants to hear a command to sacrifice your only son on a mountain but that is the situation that Abraham found himself in Genesis 22. Abraham must have been shocked or at least taken back a few steps. He may have asked God, are you sure that you want me to kill the son you promised me the one that will inherit all of my possessions? Why LORD, Why me? These and other questions may have plagued Abraham as he gathered his son, the wood and the fire as he got ready to head for Mount Moriah.
Isaac had been to a number of sacrifices and noticed that something was out of place and wrong. He began to question his father about the one thing essential in making a sacrifice acceptable to God. Father he said, we have the fire, the wood but where is the Lamb? What are we going to use as a sacrifice that will satisfy God? Abraham knew God could raise the dead, but trusted God with the life of his only son, Isaac. However, it was still all he could do to answer Isaac, donít worry son, God provides.
Arriving on the mount, Abraham busied himself to sacrifice his son. He set the stones into place arranged the wood and then placed the fire beside it. He may have paced back and forth for some time hoping that God would change his mind, but all that did was to make sacrificing his son even harder to do. Eventually Abraham made a commitment to the one thing he dreaded doing. He told his son the reason why there was no Lamb then bound him and laid his son on the wood to sacrifice. As Abraham held his knife over his son preparing to kill his one and only son the Lord intervened.
The angel of the Lord spoke saying "Do not lay a hand on the boy,"(Genesis 22:12) and as Abraham looked up in relief he saw a ram caught by its horns in the thorn bushes in the distance. God had provided the lamb for a sacrifice and reminded Abraham of the words spoken to his son. That very day Abraham named that place (Jehovah Jireh) the Lord will provide.
In this story we find many types which help to apply this story to the gospel of Christ. First the ram caught in a thicket. A thicket is a bunch of thick undergrowth, about waist height and similar to shrubs and wild berry patches. The outer portion is covered with leaves and the inner parts with stubby or dead branches with an abundance of sharp spines. Such plants are characteristic of arid and desert regions, Some of these were brambles, briers, thorny bushes, small trees, weeds, and prickly herbs. They grew abundantly in Palestine, especially along roadsides, in fields, and in dry places. Those who have walked through thickets experienced cut, torn robes and were scratched by rubbing against the branches.
Information like this helps you to understand how the ram was stuck the thicket. While foraging the ram saw something and pushed his head through the branches that caught the ram by his horns.
Thorns were first mentioned when God cursed the ground man farmed so Adam had more work to eat. The bible only speaks of thorns as the punishment man bore for the original sin. The outcome, man had to work in and around thorns and thistles to live. Briers and thorns were use symbolically like leaven and weeds in the field to show the difficulties men lived among. Thorns and thistles is a general nuisance to mankind and spiritually speaking they choked the word of God and kept his word from producing fruit.
The seed falling among the thorns refers to people who hear the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. Matthew 13:22.
Briers bramble and thorns represents the unbelievers that populate the earth, which become a source of irritation similar to the soreness thorns produce. Itís their sin that makes your life difficult just as it did for the Israelites.
And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house. Ezekiel 2:6
We must be careful, as the thorns we live among do not know how they effect the children of God who are doing his or her best to live pleasing before God. We can not be obsessed with the world and like the ram become so engrossed in eating that the thickets or traps of the world caught him and wouldn't let go. In addition, we can be corrupted by evil desires of this world and turned from God and then produce thorns and thistles of our own. Like a little yeast works its way through the whole batch. Consider this.
But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. Hebrews 6:8
God provided the lamb for Abraham as he has for you and me. Did Abraham give any thought of what he said? God will provide is just as true today as it was then. God gave his only son as the atoning sacrifice to reconcile man to God,
Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29
God sent the perfect lamb into the world to live as a man for the purpose of redeeming and reconciling the lost who chose to believe in Christ. As Abraham lifted up his eyes he saw a lamb, just as we should fix our eyes on the lamb God sent to satisfy the requirements of Godís justice. God is merciful but sinful man can not satisfy the requirements of Godís law without the shed blood of Christ.
In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:22
God met the spiritual needs of man through his mercy and grace, as it is written
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faithóand this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God Ephesians 2:8
By Grace Jesus shed his blood for the forgiveness of sin and by grace Jesus Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written:
"Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." Gal 3:13
The Lamb of God was placed on the cross and became the image and likeness of man's sin. As a reminder Jesus wore a crown of thorns symbolic of the curse God placed on mankind and that God would supply all our needs through Christ Jesus. The crown of thorns was a reminder that through faith God would supply your lamb.
God required death for the penalty of sin but we have a compassionate God who devised a way so that a banished person (the sinner) may not remain estranged from him. There on the cross, we see Christ entangled by the thorns of the world and by Godís grace he substituted his life for yours, paying the penalty your sin deserved.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
The plan God devised for your salvation is simple. You are required to,
confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Romans 10:9-10
These are not just words that one says, through faith in Christ, these words make a commitment to believe in Christ and serve him as your Lord.