God Himself Will Provide the Lamb
Before Abraham could do the unthinkable, the Lord provided the sacrifice in place of Abraham’s son. In this classic clip, R.C. Sproul dramatically retells the story of Abraham and Isaac to teach us about the ultimate sacrifice God has provided in His Son.
But that dog and I were inseparable from that day forth. I mean, when I would lecture, Hosanna would be by my feet. He would sleep at my side when I would lecture. If I would walk out of the room, he would walk out of the room. If I went to the woods, he went with me.
It was an incredible animal—gentle, loving, strong. When he was about two-and-a-half years old, he had a convulsion. And I took him to the vet, and I said, “He had this terrible convulsion,” and the vet examined him and, didn’t know what, gave him some medication. The next day, he had another convulsion. The next day, another convulsion. The day after that, two convulsions. And then he started having three, four, five, six convulsions in a day. And the vet tried every medicine that he knew of. He said, “R.C., the only thing I can think of is that we’re getting a final reaction to the damage to the dog’s brain from the original snakebite.” And now, with the degree of medication required for this animal to be able to even function, it was so debilitating that he was in a pathetic state. And the vet said, “The only humane thing to do, to use the euphemism, is to put this dog to sleep.” I brought him home. I said, “I have to talk to the kids. I have to talk to Vesta.” We talked about it, and Vesta and I agreed that the dog had to be put to sleep.
I said, “We’re going to have to take him to the vet.” And she said, “Well, will you take him to the vet tomorrow?” I said, “Honey, I can’t take that dog, my dog, and put him in my car and drive ten minutes to the veterinarian, knowing that I’m taking him to his death. If that dog looked at me from the side on the seat, I’d go drive right off the road. I can’t do that.” I said, “Look, some day this week—don’t tell me what day it is—have one of the students here at the study center when I least expect it—have the student take the dog, and tell me when it’s done.” And three days later, I came home and Vesta met me. She said, “Hosie’s dead. I had a student take him to the vet.” That was my dog. It wasn’t my son. See, I couldn’t take my dog, who was in misery, who was going to die anyway, in a car for 15 minutes to be mercifully killed. God asked Abraham to take his son, his only son, the son whom he loved, Isaac, and personally journey with him for three days while the child was robust, full of health, not in any life-suffering or -threatening disease, and by his own hand he was to kill him. Christians, think about that!
On the third day, Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. And Abraham said to his young men, “You stay here with the donkey, and I and the boy will go yonder, and we will worship and return to you.”
So, the two of them walked on together, and there they came to the place which God had told him, and Abraham built the altar, arranged the wood, delaying to the last possible second giving away. Isaac’s helping him build the altar. Isaac’s still looking around for this lamb that’s going to be supplied. Abraham’s building the altar. Abraham’s stacking the wood. I can see Isaac handing his father pieces of the wood to put up on the altar. And once he puts them up, then Abraham says, “Come here, Isaac.” And he picks up his son and he puts him on the altar, and he takes out the cords and the ropes, and he binds him to the altar.
And just as Abraham is ready to bring the knife down into the chest of his son, we read that the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven had said, “Abraham, Abraham!” Abraham stops right there and says, “Here I am,” like “Where have you been?” “Here I am.” And the angel said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad. Do nothing to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” And then Abraham raised his eyes and he looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up as a burnt offering unto the Lord. And Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord Will Provide.” Mount Moriah, where is it? According to current archaeology, Mount Moriah was a place in the south part of Palestine that later was changed, and its name was called Jerusalem or Mount Zion. The historic place where Abraham offered Isaac is now considered to be the site of the Dome of the Rock in the old city of Jerusalem. Two thousand years later on this same mountain, God took His Son, His only Son, the Son whom he loved: Jesus. And He took Him to that same mountain, and He fastened Him to a vertical altar of sacrifice. But this time, ladies and gentlemen, nobody hollered, “Stop!” God brought the knife into the heart of His only begotten Son, fulfilling, in blood, in time, and in space, the promise that was dramatized and symbolized by the test of Abraham’s child of promise. God said, “Abraham, I will provide the sacrifice.”