Whether in a Messianic or traditional Jewish Synagogue, one of the most iconic markers for our Holy Day services is the reading of the Akedah, or The Binding of Isaac in Genesis chapter 22. Prior to chapter 22, God prophetically spoke to Abraham and promises that his wife Sarah would have a son in her old age stating,
“… As for Sarai your wife, you are not to call her Sarai [mockery]; her name is to be Sarah [princess]. I will bless her; moreover, I give you a son by her. Truly I will bless her: she will be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from hers. At this Avraham fell on his face and laughed - he thought to himself, Will a child be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah give birth at ninety.” (Genesis 17:15-17)
With this, we have to imagine the scene, …. In their old age, God has promised Sarah and her husband Abraham that they would be a son and that through him, the promise of the fulfillment of the covenant would flow (see: 17:7-8). Yet no sooner that this promises are made, HaShem tells our Patriarch, Abraham to take his one and only son (and the one from the promise must flow) and sacrifice him on Mount Moriah!
In reading these words, all of us can feel the conflict and misery that is welling in Abraham’s heart … it is as if he is saying,
“God, I believed you, I trusted and you have fulfilled your promise to me is giving me my dear Isaac. But now God, you want to just take him away from me, and worse - you want me to slay him as a sacrifice before you … Please God, do not make me do this.”
Although such an act of faithfulness would kill a man, Abraham nevertheless did as God had commanded him, and was prepared and willing to take the life his own son!
Yet, even in the questioning of his son, Abraham simply replied in Genesis 22:8, “… God will provide himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son, and they both went up [to Mount Moriah] together.” Now, if you are adding this the same way I am, you now feel like you have just been thrown the curve-ball of your life! First - Abraham is undone, conflicted, possibly even begging to God in his heart that they would be another way, all the while knowing there isn’t one, and then in verse 8, with calm and assurance he says to his son, “… God will provide himself the Lamb!”
Where is this calm coming from and how can Abraham have any level of peace knowing what he is about to do? Maybe it is from what we find first in verse 13 when Abraham raised his eyes and saw the substitute, a ram with its horns caught in the brush (of which God truly intended for the sacrifice) and most noteworthy with verses 15-18 in stating,
“The angel of Adonai called to Avraham a second time out of heaven. He said, I have sworn by myself - says Adonai - that because you have done this, because you haven’t withheld your son, your only son, I will most certainly bless you; and I will most certainly increase your descendants to as many as there are stars in the sky or grains of sand on the seashore. Your descendants will possess the cities of their enemies, and by your descendants all nations of the earth will be blessed - because you obeyed my order.”
For us as Messianic-believers, the Akedah is the perfect foreshadowing of the coming of Yeshua the Messiah as “Sah HaElohim” - or, the Lamb of God who has come to take the sins of the world (Yochanan/John 1:29). Both Yeshua and Isaac’s birth was marked by the miraculous, as “only begotten sons," and the place of Sacrifice for Isaac on Mount Moriah reminds of the unbreakable covenant God has made him Abraham and his descendants forever!
Yet in all of this an obvious miracle can be so easily overlooked when we view both the “risks” and REWARDS of faithful obedience to Adonai! For me, this point is best made in the words of the song, “You Where There” by the vocal band Avalon in singing,
“So, there he stood upon that hill - Abraham with knife in hand was poised to kill - But God in all his sovereignty had bigger plans - And just in time, You brought the Lamb -‘Cause You were there,You were there - In the midst of the unclear - You were there, you were there always - You were there when obedience - Seemed to not make sense - You were there, You were always there - You were always there.”
For us in our lives, we all at one point or another have our own "Akedah Moment!” A point in time and space when God calls us to do that which does not make sense - and simply take him at his word. It would be so much easier we rationalize to just say now, or “pretend that we did not hear his voice - but we know we can’t! And in the end, like Abraham, obedience brings blessing and a hope fulfilled!
Dear friends, during this High Holy Days season - may you know that the rewards that await us in our obedience far outshines the momentary satisfactions or fears of this life or the “what if’s” that our minds might contemplate. And in the end, may you know that Yeshua is there in the midst of the unclear and when obedience in the natural, makes no sense at all.
Dear friends, ... For you, He Has Always Been There!
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