“And Abraham said, ‘God will himself see to the Lamb for the whole burnt offering my son.’ And the two went on together.”
Often when we read this passage we see this statement of Abraham’s as a means of placating his son and keeping him somewhat in the dark and in doing so, we miss the profound prophetic nature of what Abraham is uttering in faith. First of all, Isaac, as we have mentioned, is no longer a child but a young man and he is no fool. He knows that the elements for the sacrifice are there except for the sacrifice itself yet is continuing with his father in faith. He also must certainly see the emotional weight on the shoulders of his father as they approach the hill of sacrifice and while understanding that God can miraculously provide a lamb for the sacrifice, something ominous is soon to take place. Again, he continues with his father in faith.
Rather than seeing Abraham’s statement as elusive, instead we should see it as profoundly prophetic in nature. Now, one may object and say that Abraham got the spirit of the statement right but that the prophesy itself was wrong. Yes, God did provide an offering, but it was a ram and not a lamb as Abraham predicted. The two words are profoundly different in Hebrew, so there is no mistaking one for the other or some sort of scribal error as the liberal scholars might suggest. Abraham said that God would provide a lamb and in this specific instance, God provided a ram.
But is it this specific instance that Abraham has in mind? We have already reflected on the faith of this man in trusting God to raise his son from the dead even if Abraham had to go through with the sacrifice and we have already reflected on the fact that this event is meant to foreshadow the sacrificial death of God’s own son, Jesus — Jesus who was referred to as “the Lamb of God” (John 1:29). And herein we begin to make the connection as to what God is doing through Abraham’s statement. Abraham himself is prophesying not the presence of the ram that will substitute itself for Isaac, but the presence of the Lamb of God — God’s own son — who will substitute himself for each of us if we are trusting in Him as our Lord and savior. Jesus is the Lamb that was slain for our sins…your sins and mine…may you follow him with your whole heart and may every moment of our life be committed to the pursuit of his glory. Abraham understood (at least on a basic level) that his entire activity over those few days was one where he was to trust God implicitly but that God also would use that action to foreshadow someone greater — The Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.